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Greatest Gangster Movies and the Lessons You Can Learn From Them

Why is that whenever we talked about some of the greatest movie hits of all time, gangster movies are always on the top? The Godfather, Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction to name some.

I've always been curious since gangster films usually are full of violence, drug abuse, and whatnots, but gangster films (or mobster films or mafia films) as most people fondly call it is not just all about those things. It's all about the American dream - of being tough, being on the top, and having money and power; search for individuality and the ability to embody one's individuality; and of course, family. As Vito in The Godfather said, "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

Here are some of the greatest gangster movies and the lessons you can learn from them.


1.The Godfather

The Godfather is more than a movie. It’s a guide to life, offering endless lessons on how to handle every situation you may encounter. The story begins with Don Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia family, and his son Michael who has just come home from WWII to attend the wedding of his sister. All of Michael's family is involved with the Mafia but he does not intend to become part of it, he just wants to live a normal life. An up and coming rival of the Corleone family wants to start selling drugs in New York and needs the Don's influence to further his plan in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of the Don's lawyer Tom Hagen, the Don is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please the other party, who has the Don shot down by some of his hitmen. The Don barely survives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against the rival and tears the Corleone family apart.

"A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." 

Lesson: It’s your duty to be there for your family, regardless of the circumstances.


2. Goodfellas

This film views the mob lives of three pivotal figures in the 1960s and 70's New York. Henry Hill is a local boy turned gangster in a neighborhood full of the roughest and toughest. Tommy DeVito is a purebred gangster, who turns out to be Henry's best friend. Jimmy Conway puts the two of them together and runs some of the biggest hijacks and burglaries the town has ever seen. After an extended jail sentence, Henry must sneak around the back of the local mob boss, Paulie Cicero, to live the life of luxury he has always dreamed of. In the end, the friends end up in a hell of a jam and must do anything they can to save each other, and stay alive.

(Goodfellas Autographed Poster | Click here to purchase) 

"The easy way isn’t necessarily the best way."

Lesson: People tend to do what's easy over what's necessary. We often take the road always traveled. That's why so many people end up being mediocre or painfully average. This movie reminds us to never be afraid to take risks.

Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega are two hitmen who are out to retrieve a suitcase stolen from their employer, mob boss Marsellus Wallace. Wallace has also asked Vincent to take his wife Mia out a few days later when Wallace himself will be out of town. Butch Coolidge is an aging boxer who is paid by Wallace to lose his fight. The lives of these seemingly unrelated people are woven together comprising of a series of funny, bizarre and uncalled-for incidents.

“Did you ever hear the philosophy that once a man admits that he’s wrong, he is immediately forgiven for all wrongdoings?”

Lesson: People are always full of ego and pride, that we seldom forgot about humility. The moment you put yourself in the back seat, the moment you acknowledge your mistake, the world changes around you.

In 1968, the loyal driver, bouncer, and collector Frank Lucas witness the death of his boss and mentor, Bumpy Johnson and finds that Harlem lost its leadership. Frank decides to import heroin directly from the source in Bangkok, establishing a logistic of transportation using the US military airplanes from Vietnam to the USA. The quality of his product associated with the trademark "Blue Magic" and the lower prices bring Frank Lucas to the position of number one distributor of heroin in the USA. Meanwhile, in the Essex County, the incorruptible detective Richie Roberts that is studying for the Bar Examination is invited to join and head a Federal Investigation Force of Narcotics, seeking the leaders of the dealers in North America.

“Nobody owns me though. That’s ’cause I own my own company and my company sells a product that’s better than the competition, at a price that’s lower than the competition.”

Lesson: The lesson here is that sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone to reach new levels. If you want to reach new levels, you have to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be.


5. Scarface

This movie follows Cuban refugee, Tony Montana and his close friend Manny Ray, and together they build a strong drug empire in Miami. Of course, Montana must deal with the hardships of this type of business. And as Montana's power begins to grow, so does his ego and his paranoia.

(Scarface Autographed Poster | Click here to purchase)

"Never be satisfied." 

Lesson: Always strive to better yourself and those around you. Never settle for less. Always work on making yourself better.


Now, these are just some of the greatest gangster movie hits. The list goes on and on. You might want to check out our autographed gangster movie posters collection here.



Written by Madison S. from PosterMemorabilia.com 

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