Top 12 Mafia Movies You Never Knew Were Based on True Stories

Are you ready to take a deep dive into the world of sleeping with the fishes? These mafia movies are based on true stories and offer an enthralling look into the lives of real-life mobsters. Did you know these were based an real-life?

1. Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas 1990
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas is a renowned mafia movie that recounts the ascent and fall of gangster Henry Hill. The film portrays the criminal underworld, exposing the organized crime activities and relationships inside the Lucchese crime family, and is based on Nicholas Pileggi’s nonfiction book Wiseguy.

2. Hoffa (1992)

Hoffa 1992
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

James R. Hoffa was a well-known labor activist and the former leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The film Hoffa examines his life and his mysterious disappearance. As Hoffa, Jack Nicholson gives a strong portrayal that captures his struggles to advance labor rights while juggling complex ties with organized crime.

3. Donnie Brasco (1997)

Donnie Brasco 1997
Image Credit: Columbia/TriStar.

The gripping crime drama Donnie Brasco is based on the true account of FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone, who used the identity of Donnie Brasco to infiltrate the Bonanno crime family. The movie, starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino, depicts Pistone’s perilous double life as he gains the trust of mobsters and learns about their illegal activities. 

4. The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman 2019
Image Credit: Netflix.

The Irishman is a really big movie about crime. Martin Scorsese made it, and it is about a book called I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. It tells the story of Frank Sheeran, who worked for a bad group and did bad things for them and alleges he was part of making Jimmy Hoffa disappear.

The movie has famous actors like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. The Irishman talks about how it’s hard to know who to trust, how people can be disloyal, and what happens when you spend your life doing nasty stuff with a mafia group.

5. The French Connection (1971)

The French Connection 1971
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

In the gritty underbelly of New York City, The French Connection paints a vivid canvas of Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as two tenacious detectives. Their unyielding pursuit of a French drug lord unfolds against the harsh backdrop of a sprawling heroin smuggling network. Rooted in reality, the film exposes law enforcement’s raw challenges when confronting organized crime head-on.

6. Bugsy (1991)

Bugsy 1991
Image Credit: TriStar Pictures.

Bugsy offers a dramatized account of the life of notorious mobster Benjamin Bugsy Siegel. Starring Warren Beatty as Siegel, the film explores his role in developing Las Vegas and his criminal activities within the organized crime world. Set against the backdrop of glitz and glamour, Bugsy delves into Siegel’s ambitious vision and the violent realities of his involvement with the mafia.

7. The General (1998)

The General 1998 Warner Bros.
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Brendan Gleeson takes center stage in The General, a biographical crime drama that plunges viewers into the intricate world of Irish outlaw Martin Cahill.

With audacious heists and a flair for defiance, Cahill’s life story unfolds in a tapestry of dark humor and intense drama. The film peels back the layers of Cahill’s enigmatic persona, revealing a cunning criminal mastermind engaged in an irresistible cat-and-mouse dance with the authorities.

8. American Gangster (2007)

American Gangster 2007
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

American Gangster is inspired by the true story of Frank Lucas, a Harlem drug lord who rose to power in the 1970s. Denzel Washington portrays Lucas, who ingeniously smuggled heroin from Southeast Asia to the United States, disrupting the traditional drug trade. Russell Crowe co-stars as Richie Roberts, the detective determined to bring Lucas down.

9. The Untouchables (1987)

The Untouchables 1987
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Delving into the heart of crime and justice, The Untouchables unfurls a tale of relentless law enforcement led by Eliot Ness, portrayed by Kevin Costner. Amidst the Prohibition era’s turmoil, a cadre of officers known as The Untouchables embarks on an unwavering mission to dismantle the empire of the infamous Al Capone.

10. Kill the Irishman (2011)

Kill the Irishman 2011
Image Credit: Anchor Bay Films.

Kill the Irishman resurrects the captivating saga of Danny Greene, a Cleveland mobster who shattered conventions. Ray Stevenson breathes life into Greene’s audacious rise within the city’s criminal labyrinth, challenging established syndicates.

Against a backdrop of turbulence and fierce rivalries, the film captures Greene’s indomitable spirit and dauntless confrontation with peril, painting a vivid portrait of an often overlooked mafia luminary.

11. The Valachi Papers (1972)

The Valachi Papers 1972
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Unveiling the secrets of the Italian-American mafia, The Valachi Papers draws inspiration from the true testimony of Joseph Valachi. Charles Bronson’s portrayal of Valachi reveals the hidden intricacies of the organization’s hierarchy, rituals, and illicit dealings.

The film provides an insider’s view, shedding light on the labyrinthine criminal world through Valachi’s eyes as he becomes the first to unveil its clandestine workings publicly.

12. Casino (1995)

Casino 1995
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, Casino delves into the rise and fall of the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas during the 1970s and early 1980s. Based on actual events, the film features Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a skilled gambler overseeing the casino, and Joe Pesci as his volatile enforcer.

15 Most Racist Movies of All Time According to IMDb — Do You Agree?

Shirley Temple The Littlest Rebel
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

According to a ranked list on IMDB, these movies have been criticized for various reasons, including cultural insensitivity, perpetuating stereotypes, and reinforcing racial biases, contributing to their reputation as racist or racially insensitive by today’s standards.

Top 12 Most Racist Disney Classics That Are Better Left in the Vault

The Sound of Music Julie Andrews
Image Credit: 20th Century-Fox/Disney.

Exploring film history often exposes tales of awe, imagination, and cultural shifts. Did you know that there are racist undertones in many Disney classics? It makes sense as progress evolves throughout the decades, but it’s cringe-watching it now. Here is a look at the most racist Disney films.

16 Once Upon a Time Hilarious TV Sitcoms That Nobody Remembers — Do You?

Obscure TV sitcoms
Image Credit: NewRadio -Sony Pictures Television. Major Dad – Universal Television. Caroline in the City – Barron/Pennette Productions and CBS Productions.

Every time I click into an article about sitcoms, these are never mentioned, and it’s a travesty! Hey, I love The Office and Friends as much as the next guy, but these sitcoms are worthy of another watch.

15 Terrible Films That Are Hilariously Bad — Do You Agree?

The Apple 1980
Image Credit: The Cannon Group.

While the cinema industry has given us numerous masterpieces, there’s another side that elicits a different kind of appreciation. It’s those films that are so bad that they actually become funny for viewers.

Though they lack critical acclaim, these movies have found a special place in the hearts of movie enthusiasts who want to have a good laugh. Here’s a list of 15 such cinematic disasters, and we want to know if you agree with our selection or not!

26 Movies That Prove 1985 Was One of the Best Years in Cinema

Fletch 1985 Chevy Chase
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Do you remember what Hollywood was producing in 1985? It was an awesome year for films. So, I compiled a list of 26 of the absolute best of the bunch. Enjoy!