Five of the best Irish American gangster movies

Five of the best Irish American gangster movies

To celebrate the exciting launch of Richard Dormer’s new play Drum Belly, the men at decided to highlight five of the best Irish mob movies set in the States from the past 25 years.

Everyone thinks that the Italian mafia are the bad boys of ethnic organised crime in America but fuggedabout the Cosa Nostra – the Irish mafia is where it’s really at.

Drum Belly, which just had its World Premiere, is set in New York in 1969 and tells the tale of Irish criminal Gulliver Sullivan and his gang as they try to make a deal with an Italian mobster called Marconi after $100,000 goes mysteriously missing.

Here’s five favourites:

Gangs of New York (2002)

Martin Scorsese’s epic Irish gangster drama set in the streets of 19th Century New York is nearly four-and-a-half days long but it’s worth sitting through every minute to marvel in the performance of a certain Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill “the Butcher” Cutting.

The Town (2010)

In between enjoying “turkey time” with J-Lo and winning an Oscar for Best Picture for directing Argo, Ben Affleck turned his hand to the Irish-American criminal scene in Boston. Affleck’s casting of Jeremy Renner as the terrifying pint-sized menace Jem was a stroke of genius. As was casting the lovely Rebecca Hall as very own personal love interest. Nice move Ben.

Road to Perdition (2002)

This Sam Mendes tale of a father and son on the run from the Irish mafia in Chicago was the legend that is Paul Newman’s final big-screen appearance. It also featured a really creepy performance by Jude Law as a hitman-photographer who shoots his victims (with a gun) and then shoots his victims (with a camera). And look! Tom Hanks has a mustache!

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

The geniuses that are Joel and Ethan Coen turned their expert hands to the gangster genre and pretty much nailed it. Gabriel Byrne stars as the gangster Tom Reagan caught between the power struggle of two rival gangs. Bonus points to this film for being one of the few Irish-American gangster films that actually features a real Irishman. Sometimes the scariest thing about these films aren’t the terrifying characters in them but the fake Irish accents that the Yanks playing them put on. Yes Boondock Saints, we’re looking at you.

The Departed (2006)

Where to begin. Scorsese’s second entry in this top 5 run-down isn’t just one of the best Irish-American gangster films, it’s one of the best films ever made. An all-star cast of Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio are all on top form in this Boston-set remake of the also excellent Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. There are just too many brilliant moments and characters to pick out from this film but, if someone with a dodgy Irish-American accent put a gun to our head and forced us to pick our favourite moment, we’d have to single out the brilliant Boston banter between Alec Baldwin and Marky-Mark Wahlberg.

Original blog from available here.

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