Gangster roles were a stepping stone for a lot of actors in Hollywood, and some of them even managed to be among the 11 most recognized gangsters of Hollywood.
Gangsters have always been a major inspiration for Hollywood filmmakers, especially in the Golden Age of Hollywood and from the 1970s to 1990s. Some of the gangster movies were based on true stories, and revolved around lives of some most iconic gangster figures in the world, most notably Al Capone, whose life and work were the inspiration for numerous Hollywood movies.
According to Daniel Talbot’s book Film, an Anthology, “The classic gangster movie ranks with the Western as one of the most successful creations of the American movie industry.”
The classic understanding of gangsters and gangs changed a lot during the years. On the beginning and through the 20th century, gangsters were people that dealt in organized crime. Their business empire was widespread and complex, with both illegal and legal businesses accounted in. They didn’t chose means for achieving goals, and used intimidation, bribery, and violence to get what they want. These types of gangs are known as Mafia and its members as mobsters. The most notable mafia in the history is Italian, who has been portrayed in the Hollywood movies countless times.
When it comes to portrayal of gangsters in Hollywood movies, it’s hard not to see a pattern. Most gangster movies tell a story about the main character’s rise in the organization, and his even faster downfall that usually ends with the character’s violent death.
As we said, in the beginning, there was a large number of actors that tried to do gangster roles, and few were successful. But those successful ones cemented their place in the Hollywood history, and became some of the most famous people in the world. They earned their fame, unlike the 10 most famous Hollywood socialites.
To find out the actors among 11 most recognized gangsters of Hollywood, we checked out the list made by Biography where famous people who played mobsters are listed. Then we checked each one of them to see how many times they portrayed gangsters in major movies. If an actor was in a major TV show, we added one appearance for every season if he was a lead and one appearance per TV show if he was a supporting role.