You cannot beat a gangster film they are movies that make great stories and packed with interesting characters. Over the years, we have some terrific films in this genre hit the big screen.
The gangster film is also a really great genre in British film and we have seen some wonderful directors and actors tackle throw themselves in a movie some great movies.
Rise of the Krays is released on DVD & Blu-Ray today and we look back at the top five British gangster movies... and boy were there plenty to choose from.
- The Long Good Friday (1981)
When it comes to British gangster films, there aren't many that are greater than The Long Good Friday, which remains one of Bob Hoskins' greatest career performances.
It was back in 1981 when the film hit the big screen in the UK and was the major breakout performance for Hoskins, as he took on the central role of gangster Harold Shand. Helen Mirren was also on board, while John Mackenzie is in the director's chair.
The movie follows Shand, the mob boss who is looking to redevelop a waterfront and has a large investment from U.S. corporations. Just as he is set to seal the deal, Shand's men are murdered and his property blown up - leaving his plans in disarray. The Long Good Friday is a brilliant snapshot of the criminal underworld in South London during the Thatcher era.
The Long Good Friday may be a movie that is over thirty years old, but it remains as brutal a gangster film now as it was when it was first released. It is as intelligent as it is violent with Mackenzie injecting bucket loads of realism.
It remains one of the best and most iconic British gangster movies of all time and it remains a true cornerstone of this genre in this country.
- Get Carter (1971)
Another British gangster classic was released back in 1971 and came in the form of Get Carter - which is another truly iconic movie when it comes to this genre.
For me, Get Carter remains up there as one of the best British gangster films of all time and it remains one of the greatest and most iconic performances from Michael Caine - this is one of the movies that you always think about when you look over this actor's great career.
The movie is based on the novel by Ted Lewis and saw Mike Hodges pen the screenplay as well as being in the director's chair. This movie marked the feature film debut for Hodges as he made the leap from television for the first time.
There is a steely feel to this movie and there's a danger that hangs over this whole film. Hodges notches up the tension frame by frame until the final moments of the film - one of the best ends to a gangster film of all time.
Get Carter remains an uncompromising movie, that's a true action thriller, with a wonderful central performance from a great British actor.
- Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Hard to believe, that Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was released back in 1998 and is a movie that is nearly twenty years old. It was the movie that launched the directing career of Guy Ritchie and put actors such as Jason Statham, Dexter Fletcher, and Jason Flemyng on the map.
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.
While Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels may be a gangster film, it is a movie is also packed with twist and turns as well as plenty of great laughs. It really is a movie that will keep you entertained from start to finish.
Ritchie keeps the action coming thick and fast and the witty dialogue is brought to life by a wonderful cast that are clearly have a great time working on the project.
The movie was a huge commercial success when it was released and ear-marked Ritchie as a director to watch out for.
- Layer Cake (2004)
While Daniel Craig was no stranger to the big screen when he took on the lead role in Layer Cake, it was the film that really helped raise his profile and put him on the radar for the role of James Bond. The movie also introduced us to filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, who was making his feature film directorial debut with the movie.
Based on the novel by J.J. Connolly, Layer Cake followed a successful cocaine dealer who is handed a tough assignments on the eve of his early retirement: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward, a powerful construction business player and gossip papers socialite.
For me, Layer Cake is one of the best British gangster movies of recent years and in 2014, we saw the film celebrate its tenth anniversary. Layer Cake remains a clever British gangster film that is packed with clever twists, great dialogue, and some brilliant characters.
Layer Cake is as violent as it is witty and funny and sees Craig give a terrific leading performance. The film crescendos with an exciting and unexpected ending that remains one of the best in this genre.
Layer Cake was both a critical and commercial success and proved to be the platform for both Craig and Vaughn to go on and do bigger things.
- Bronson (2008)
We are huge Tom Hardy fans here at FemaleFirst and Bronson remains one of his greatest performances to date, as he took on the role of Charles Bronsan - this country's most notorious inmate - in the Nicolas Winding Refn directed film.
The movie follows Bronson, who is initially sentenced to seven years in jail for robbing a post office but ends up spending thirty years in solitary confinement for his violent behaviour behind bars.
Refn has never been afraid from delivering films that are more than a little off beat - and Bronson certainly is. However, Bronson is a visceral, dark, violent, and funny exploration of one man's mind and brutal nature.
Hardy takes on the role of Bronson in the film, in what is a truly breathless performance from the British actor: he really is on top form from start to finish. He completely inhabits and immerses himself in this role and this character to give a performance that is truly electrifying.
While this may not be one of Hardy's most successful or most well-known roles, it is a film that you cannot miss if you are a fan of this exciting actor.
Other great British gangster films include Sexy Beast, Snatch, Gangster No 1 and Rise of the Krays.
Rise Of The Krays arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms today, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.