14 Riveting Irish Mob Movies You Need to Watch

Updated On: August 01, 2023

Irish Mob Movies to Watch

Mob movies have enthralled movie goers for generations and drawn in exceptional actors. Its appeal may be rooted in the luxurious lifestyle portrayed in the movies as well as the price that characters are willing to pay for power. We often see characters with Irish ancestry feature and while some movies are more historically accurate than others, the theme of the American dream usually comes into play with the thrill of a fleeting life of crime.

So, if you’re a fan of Irish gangster movies, keep reading to find out our favourite Irish mob movies, including the good old classics that you can re-watch time and time again as well as some lesser known but equally enjoyable flicks. 

List of Irish Mob Movies

In this article we will list out the top 14 Irish Mob Movies. To meet the criteria of the list, movies must feature the Irish/Irish-American mob or feature an Irish character involved with a gang. You can simply click on a movie title to skip ahead to that portion of the article to find out the most popular Irish Mob Movies!

Table of Contents

  1. The Irish Man (2019)
  2. Gangs of New York (2002)
  3. In Bruges (2008)
  4. The Departed (2006)
  5. Goodfellas (1990)
  6. The Town (2010)
  7. The Boondock Saints (1999)
  8. State of Grace (1990)
  9. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
  10. The General (1998)
  11. Black Mass (2015)
  12. Road to Perdition (2002) 
  13. Live by Night (2017)
  14. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Irish Mob Movies to Watch Tonight
Irish Mob Movies to Watch Tonight

The Irishman (2019): Irish Gangster Movies on Netflix

Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, the Irishman is a must see for any fans of the gangster movie genre. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci star among an ensemble cast.

The plot follows an elderly Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman played by De Niro, remembering his time as a hitman for the Italian American Mafia in 1950’s Philadelphia. From his life as a former truck driver, Sheeran rises in the ranks of organized crime to become a formidable threat.

With a runtime of just under 3 and a half hours, the Irishman delves deeply into the life of Sheeran

The Irishman was nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. The film is based on the book ‘I Heard You Paint Houses’ by Charles Brandt and is sure to go down in history as a modern classic.

The Irishman Cast Members:

The Irishman cast includes the following actors

  • Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, The ‘Irish Man’
  • Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa
  • Joe Pesci as Rusell Bufalino 
  • Harvey Kitel as Angelo Bruno, the head of Philadelphia crime family.
  • Bobby Cannavale as Skinny Razor
Irish Mob Movies: The Irishman

Where Can I Watch The Irishman?

The Irishman (2019) is a Netflix original and is available exclusively on the platform.

Gangs of New York (2002): Irish Gangster Movies Directed by Scorsese

Following up with another Scorsese classic, Gangs of New York is another must see for anyone who loves the Irish mob movie genre. Featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, one of the greatest Irish actors of all time, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Camron Diaz, the film is set in 1860’s New York. 

DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, a young man who returns home  to the Five Points in New York to avenge the death of his father, with Daniel Day-Lewis playing the antagonist Bill the Butcher. Fellow legendary Irish actors Liam Neeson and Brendan Gleeson play Priest Vallon, DiCaprio’s deceased father and Walter ‘Monk’ McGinn respectively. 

Considered a classic among many fans of the gangster movie genre, Gangs of New York is definitely one to watch if you haven’t already!

Irish Mob Movie Trailers: Gangs of New York, A Classic Gangster Movie

In Bruges (2008): An Irish Gangster Dark Comedy

Next up is the Cult Classic In Bruges. The perfect mix of dark Irish humour and gritty gangster scenes which contrast the beautiful backdrop that is the city of Bruges in Belgium, in Bruges has only grown in popularity since its release as an Irish gangster dark-comedy.

Director Martin McDonagh expertly creates a movie that is equal parts funny and thrilling, a feat which is not easy to achieve. Legendary Irish actors Colin Farrell and Brendon Gleeson play the leading duo – two Irish hitmen who have been sent to hide out in Bruges after a recent job has gone awry. Ralph Fiennes also gives a captivating performance as the boss.

In Bruges: Take a Tour of the Beautiful Belgian City That Features in McDonagh’s Cult Classic

In Bruges manages to balance Irish humour into the film while still exploring incredibly dark and thought provoking themes. What’s even better, if you enjoy the  creative ensemble of Farrell and Gleeson with McDonagh behind the camera, then you’ll love The Banshees of Inisherin a dark tragi-comedy which sees the trio return in another exceptional film.

In Bruges Cast

  • Colin Farrell as Ray
  • Brendan Gleeson as Ken
  • Ralph Fiennes as Harry Waters
  • Thelka Reuten as Marie
  • Clémence Poésy as Chloe
  • Jordan Prentice as Jimmy

Where Can I Watch In Bruges?

In Ireland and the UK In Bruges is currently not on any streaming platforms. You can buy or rent In Bruges on YouTube or Apple TV.

The Departed (2006) – Oscar Winning Irish Mob Movies

1980’s Irish Gangster Movies

Another classic Scorsese film features on this list, The Departed is a dramatic crime thriller that follows the Boston police force and the Irish-American organised Crime gang.

Set in the 1980’s, the film follows Collin Sullivan who is a spy for Irish Mob Boss Frank Costello in the police force. Billy Costigan Jr. is a new officer who is recruited to go undercover as a mole in Costello’s crew. Both parties struggle to maintain their secret identities while trying to discover the other’s true identity. The Departed is a tense mob movie.

Jack Nicholson stars as Frank Costello, the Boss of the Irish-American crime family in the movie. The rest of the star studded cast in this epic crime drama includes Leonardo Dicaprio as Billy Costigan Jr., Matt Damon as Colin Sullivan and Mark Wahlberg as Sergeant Dignam.

The Departed won four Oscars including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing and Best Achievement in Film Editing. 

Irish Mob Movies: The Departed Trailer, Gangster Movies Set in the 1980’s

Where Can I Watch The Departed?

You can stream The Departed on Channel 4 in Ireland and the UK. Alternatively you can buy or rent the film on YouTube, Apple TV.

You can watch The Departed on Netflix or HBO Max in the USA.

Goodfellas (1990) – Best Scorsese Mob Film

There’s a reason that Martin Scorsese is considered one of the best directors of all time as evident by his many features on our list of quintessential mob movies, his consistency for producing quality movies is almost unrivalled. 

Goodfellas is an adaptation of the 1985 book Wiseguy by Pileggi, featuring a familiar cast of Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro. Critically Acclaimed, Goodfellas was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, with Pesci winning the Award for Best Supporting Actor.

De Niro plays Jimmy the Gent Conway, an American gangster of Irish descent who is an associate of the Italian-American Mafia. The story begins when Henry Hill, a half-Irish, half-Sicilian youth in Brooklyn becomes involved with the Mafia and Jimmy the Gent Conway.

Goodfellas Cast

  • Robert De Niro as James ‘The Gent’ Conway
  • Ray Liotta as Henry Hill
  • Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito
  • Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero
  • Lorraine Bracco as Karen Hill
Irish Mob Movies: Goodfellas Trailer, One of the Best Gangster Films of All Time.

The Town (2010): Irish Gangster Movies Directed by Affleck

Directed, co-written and starring Ben Affleck, The Town is a crime drama adaptation of the 2004 novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan.

Affleck plays Doug MacRay, who along with his 3 childhood friends rob a bank in disguise. Jem (played by Jeremy Renner) takes Claire, the bank manager (played by Rebecca Hall) hostage, against Doug’s protests but eventually lets her go. Doug begins to fall in love with Claire who is oblivious to his true profession but tensions rise with the gang when they realise that they may be able to identify the men from the robbery.

Irish Mob Movies: The Town Trailer

Where Can I Watch The Town?

Readers from Ireland and the UK can watch The Town on Amazon Prime or buy or rent online.

The Boondock Saints (1999) A Cult Classic Film about Irish Vigilantes

The Boondock Saints follows the story of two Irish-American brothers played by Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus who become inspired to rid Boston of crime. Willem Dafoe stars as a special FBI agent who pursues the Irish-American brothers and struggles internally on what to do with Boston’s newest vigilantes as he has to decide whether or not to join them or arrest them.

Irish Mob Movies: Boondock Saints, A Cult Classic Gangster Film

State of Grace (1990) 1990’s Irish Gangster Movies

Directed by Phil Joanaou and starring Sean Penn, Gary Oldman and Ed Harris, State of Grace is based on the real-life Hell’s Kitchen Irish-American organised crime gang known as the Westies.

Sean Penn plays Irish-American Terry Noonan, an undercover detective who returns home to Hell’s Kitchen with the intention of infiltrating a gang run by his best friend’s brother. Other cast members include Gary Oldman as Terry’s best friend Jackie, Ed Harris as Frankie the gang leader and brother of Jackie and Robin Wright as their sister Kathleen.

Irish Mob Movies: State of Grace Trailer

Angels with dirty faces (1938) Classic Hollywood Mob Movies

If you’re a fan of classic movies from Hollywood’s Golden Era, Angels with Dirty Faces may be the perfect film to watch.

The movie follows the lives of two Irish-American men Rocky Sullivan played by James Cagney and Jerry Connolly played by Pat O’Brien. After an attempted robbery goes awry, Jerry escapes but Rocky is caught by the police. This sets the two childhood friends down very different paths in life, with Rocky becoming a notorious gangster while Jerry became ordained as a priest.

The film follows the two men after Rocky is released from prison for a different crime almost two decades after the initial robbery and meets up with his old friend once again.

Irish Mob Movies: Angels with Dirty Faces Trailer. A classic Hollywood Mob Movie

The General (1998) Irish Gangster Movies Set in Ireland

Brendan Gleeson features once again on this list, this time portraying Martin ‘The General’ Cahill, a crime boss from Dublin who is known for a series of armed robberies in Ireland. Based on a true story, the film is directed by John Boorman and follows the General’s two successful robberies and what ultimately led to his downfall.

The General Cast:

  • Brendan Gleeson as Martin Cahill
  • Jon Voight as Inspector Ned Kenny
  • Adrian Dunbar as Noel Curley
  • Angeline Ball as Tina
  • Maria Doyle Kennedy as Frances
Irish Mob Movies Set in Dublin: The General Trailer

Black Mass (2015) Irish Gangster Movies Based on a True Story

Set in 1975 Black Mass follows the story of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger the leader of the Winter Hill Irish-American Gang.  Johnny Depp stars as Bulger in the 2015 film directed by Scott Cooper. The Film is based on Gerard O’Neill’s book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob” which is based on a real story..

The film is set in 1975 and follows the life of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger played by Johnny Depp, a mob boss in south Boston and John Connolly played by Joel Edgerton, who is an FBI agent returns to Boston. He convinces Bulger, his childhood friend, to help him in taking down a rival Mob gang.

Irish Mob Movies Based on a True Story: Black Mass Trailer

Black Mass Cast

  • Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger
  • Joel Edgerton as John Connolly
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as William Bulger
  • Kevi Bacon as Charles McGuire

Road to Perdition (2002) Irish Mob Movies Set in the Great Depression

Based on the eponymous novel by Max Allen Collins, Road to Perdition is a crime drama directed by Sam Mendes. Tom Hanks leads an impressive cast alongside Paul Newman, Jude Law, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Stanley Tucci, Daniel Craig and Tyler Hoechlin.

The film is set in the Great Depression in the early 1930s and follows Michael Sullivan Sr played by Hanks and his son Sullivan Jr played by Hoechlin. Sullivan Sr. leads a double life, working for Irish Mob Boss and his father figure John Rooney played by Paul Newman whilst hiding his occupation from his own children. When his oldest son witnesses his father in action at work, it leads them both down a series of events that change their life forever.

If you’re looking for a film that explores themes of fatherhood and the father son dynamic, this may be the perfect Irish mob movie to watch for you.

Irish Mob Movies Set in the Great Depression: Road to Perdition Trailer

Where Can I Watch Road to Perdition?

You can watch Road to Perdition on Disney+ in Ireland and the UK.

Live by Night (2017) Irish Gangster Movie Set During The Prohibition Era

Affleck once again features on this list for writing, directing, starring in and this time producing the 2016 crime drama known as Live by Night, which is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name. Affleck stars as Joe Coughlin, the son of Brendan Gleeson’s character police captain Thomas Coughlin. 

Elle Fanning, Chris Messina, Sienna Miller and Zoe Saldaña also star in this movie which is set in the roaring twenties in Boston.

Irish Mob Movies: Live by Night Trailer

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) Old Irish Gangster Movies

Directed by Peter Yates, The Friends of Eddie Coyle follows the title character who is played by Robert Mitchum as he works as a small time gunrunner for the Irish Mob. Coyle becomes a police informant with the hopes of avoiding jail time for previous offences, which is a particularly dangerous job even in his line of work.

Classic Irish Mob Movie Trailers: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

History of Mob Movies

The first appearance of gangster movies in Hollywood was during the 1930s and they proved to be incredibly popular. However concerns of how violence in movies encouraged crime in real life. At a time where organised crime was on the rise during the Great Depression and Prohibition era there was pressure on the message of gangster films with the Production Code being introduced to censor.

Some of these rules outlined that the gangster had to be portrayed as a villain and must either be sent to jail or die at the end of the movie. The code remained for 3 decades and saw the decline of gangster films due to the many restrictions of the code.

It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that the Production Code was officially abandoned and a resurgence of crime movies began again, with the next four decades producing many of the critically acclaimed crime films that we have already mentioned.

The 1970’s saw the release of iconic mob movies such as The Godfather I & the Godfather Part II as well as another Mob film by Martin Scorsese called Mean Streets.

In the 1980’s the remake of Scarface was released with Goodfellas and The Godfather Part III releasing in the 1990s. The 2000’s saw no sign of slowing down with Road to Perdition, The Departed and Gangs of New York releasing and finding success.

Movie adaptations of real-life crime organisations and people also proved to be popular. While some were more loosely based on real events than others, the appeal of crime genre has remained strong.

Evolution of Irish Mob Movies in Cinema

With over 80 years of Irish mobs featuring in the gangster film genre it is clear that audiences around the world have connected with these films for one reason or another. With Oscar winning directors and actors such as Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro becoming staples of the genre, there is a consistent quality in these films while still feeling fresh with each new entry.

Themes of power related to achieving the American dream are common themes throughout the Mob Movie genre as well as family ties, loyalty, revenge, violence and death. Most of the films protagonists are motivated by a desire to become more powerful, to seek revenge or sometimes a mix of both.

Irish Mob Movies Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Irish mob movie?

An Irish mob movie is a subgenre of crime, specifically focused on Irish people involved with organized crime

What are the Scorsese Irish Mob Movies

Characters of Irish descent or the Irish Mob feature prominently in the following Scorsese movies: Goodfellas (1990), Gangs of New York (2002), The Departed (2006), The Irishman (2019)

Irish Mob Movies to Watch
The Top 14 Irish Mob Movies to Watch

Conclusion: Irish Mob Movies

We hope that you have enjoyed reading our list of the best Irish mob movies! Have you seen them all? If so, which is your favourite and are there any other Irish gangster movies that you would recommend? 

Mob movies have proved to be a favourite for generations. Equal parts dark, gritty and captivating, the noir crime dramas have proved to be a successful genre among critics and viewers alike. There are so many iconic Mob films to watch so we hope that this list helps you to choose what movie to watch next!

We hope you have enjoyed this article! If so why not check out some similar articles related to Irish culture, film and the arts, including:

The 20 Best Movies Filmed in Ireland | 10 Famous Irish TV Shows You Should Watch |10 Fascinating Film Locations Around The World | Good Vibrations in Belfast: A Guide To Belfast for Movie Fans | An Irish Goodbye: A 2023 Oscar Winner of the Best Short Film

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