Gangster movies are probably the most testosterone-filled films you'll ever see. Most characters all tough guys, in every sense of the word. They kill people nonchalantly, they curse like it's their first language, and they'll f**k anyone up who comes their way. And yet, despite all that, a lot of these gangsters actually respect women.
Be it their wives, mothers, sisters, and such, most of them are not sleazy when it comes to the opposite sex. This is why, in a lot of these films, some female characters managed to stand out. These are some you should know about.
Kay Adams-Corleone (The Godfather II)
In the ultimate gangster movie series, "The Godfather," there's undoubtedly only one female lead that left a major impact, Kay Adams-Corleone. Michael's second wife, she's one of the major opposers of his living out the mobster lifestyle. But make no mistake, Kay may seem like a goody-two-shoes, but she's not all that saintly as she makes herself out to be. In the sequel, "The Godfather II," she did what was probably the biggest blow to Michael. She aborted their unborn child and blamed him for it. Now that's gangster!
Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone (The Godfather)
It's understandable that many people often forget about Michael Corleone's first wife, Apollonia Vitelli. She was this beautiful and effervescent Mediterranean goddess. Her looks can rival those of Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale. Unfortunately, however, Michael bliss with her ended abruptly when she was killed in an explosion. It was intended for Michael, but Apollonia paid the ultimate price. Her sequence in the first "Godfather" film was probably the saddest and one of the most cinematic parts in the whole series.
Elvira Hancock (Scarface)
Now let's get to the bad bi**ches! Out of all the femme fatales in classic gangster movies, the most memorable is probably Elvira Hancock from "Scarface." Michelle Pfieffer was so perfectly cast for the role, both physically as the aloof drug-addicted beauty, as well as her mannerisms of annoyance and disgust. And even when you wanted to hate her, you just can't help but feel attracted to her. She had a magnetism that drew both Pacino's 'Tony Montana' and the audience to her.
Gina Montana (Scarface)
Another knockout in "Scarface" was Tony's sister, Gina. Really, who could blame Manny for marrying this chick! She was smokin'! But apart from that, she was a complex character herself. She seemed innocent and fresh, yet she was also determined to get what she wants. Very much like his relationship with Elvira when they got marries, Tony couldn't control his little sister. While it showed his respect to women (in contrast to his disrespect to other men), it also highlighted his inability to take control over his life and family.
Gail (Carlito’s Way)
Though "Carlito's Way" isn't one of Pacino's best works, it was still a stellar movie nonetheless. Thanks, in part, to his chemistry with Penelope Ann Miller's 'Gail'. Pacino's 'Carlito' wanted to turn his life around, and among many things, Gail served as his main motivation. Miller's graceful yet seductive take on the ballet dancer/stripper gave a new dimension to the female characters in such movies. And of course, who could forget that sensual scene of her stripping down, teasing Carlito to break down her door to get her!
Though gangster films are mostly about the ‘tough guys,’ there are women out there who deserve your attention just as much! Make sure to look out for them the next time you watch any of these classics!