If you’re seeking other terrific crime movies like Scarface, check out any other masterpiece below.
Scarface by Brian De Palma has come to be recognized as one of the best gangster movies ever, even though it caused much controversy when it was first released.
This classic story follows a Cuban immigrant as he ascends the criminal underworld’s ranks to become Miami’s top drug lord at the expense of his sanity, sense of reality, and life.
There is much to take away from many viewings of the three-hour movie, but after you’re done with that, check out these crime sagas if you like movies like Scarface.
1. Chinatown (1974)
- Director: Roman Polanski
- Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Darrell Zwerling, and Diane Ladd
- IMDb rating: 8.2/10
One of the earliest and perhaps most successful attempts to modernize the gripping aspects of the movie noir genre was Roman Polanski’s enigmatic 1974 classic Chinatown. This movie maintained an interesting detective story.
The movie is a straightforward neo-noir, but startling storyline twists transform it into a psychological thriller. Robert Towne earned the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the movie’s intricate storyline, influenced by the California Water Wars.
Jack Nicholson’s outstanding lead performance transforms Chinatown from a typical crime thriller into something exceptional.
2. Heat (1995)
- Director: Michael Mann
- Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, and Amy Brenneman
- IMDb rating: 8.3/10
Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s on-screen pairing in Michael Mann’s Heat is legendary, but the movie doesn’t depend only on that trick. Additionally, it has a captivating narrative and is a breathtaking action movie.
Its broad scope comes from the screenplay’s adaptation of a TV series that Mann created but could not have made. An LAPD detective’s (Pacino) relentless chase of a notorious bank robber (De Niro) is the subject of the thriller Heat.
It’s not a short watch at 170 minutes, but it’s thrilling enough to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. This is one of the best movies like Scarface.
3. Gomorrah (2008)
- Director: Matteo Garrone
- Cast: Gianfelice Imparato, Salvatore Abbruzzese, Toni Servillo, Simone Sacchettino, Salvatore Ruocco, Vincenzo Fabricino, and Vincenzo Altamura
- IMDb rating: 7.0/10
A modern Italian criminal family is brutally revealed in the movie Gomorrah, along with their horrible deeds. It peels away the shine and glamor of Hollywood to expose the mob’s cruelty. It provides an interesting look at the way modern crime operates.
Despite several storyline omissions, the movie stands up very well. The movie is based on Roberto Saviano’s novel of the same name, which is considered the origin of the Camorra. The Province of Naples and nearby Caserta play a significant role in this narrative.
People are compelled to follow the Camorra’s rules, and only a few can lead regular lives. Italian criminal thriller Gomorrah was adapted from a best-selling book by Roberto Saviano.
The Matteo Garrone-directed movie has received appreciation for its societal depth. Gomorrah is a captivating ensemble-based portrait of a Neapolitan criminal family, even if it is hardly a timeless classic. The movie has won every major European Film Award and received favorable reviews.
4. Broadcast News (1987)
- Director: James L. Brooks
- Cast: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Robert Prosky, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, and Peter Hackes
- IMDb rating: 7.2/10
This is one of the best movies like Scarface, with a fantastic ensemble performance and fiery screenplay.
It would be entertaining to read a dictionary thanks to William Hurt, Albert Brooks, and Holly Hunter, but it is delightful to see them maneuver through James L. Brooks’ sharp dialogue.
The three are the foundation of this story, which is equally about romantic desire and journalistic ambition. Although their platonic relationship seems destined for more, Hunter and Brooks are principled workaholics at a news station without a motivating spark.
Hurt, a charming but bumbling news presenter, enters the scene, and Hunter finds himself torn between disliking him and falling for him.
However, what first seems to be a ready-made rom-com scenario evolves into something very different. It’s a delightful movie that’s as clever and full of personality as it is humorous.
5. American Gangster (2007)
- Director: Ridley Scott
- Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Lymari Nadal, Ted Levine, and Roger Guenveur Smith
- IMDb rating: 7.8/10
The life of real-life New York drug lord Frank Lucas inspires the movie’s narrative. The fictional Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, is far more sophisticated, well-mannered, and quiet than the real Frank Lucas.
The movie “American Gangster” is about a New York City crime boss. Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, is a drug kingpin apprehended by a persistent police officer. Harlem is one of the 180 places in the city where the movie is set.
The story is still relevant today, even if it takes place in the past. Despite its old-fashioned subject matter and poor performance, this movie will appeal to admirers of Denzel Washington’s work.
Despite being a spoof on New York’s criminal underworld, American Gangster is a movie about the conflict between individualism and the desire to further the greater good.
American GangsterGangster will appeal to a wide range of people, especially fans of movies like Scarface, regardless of whether the gang boss is a law-abiding criminal or an aspiring businessman. You may also reflect on your actions after seeing the movie.
6. Oldboy (2003)
- Director: Park Chan-wook
- Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-Jeong, Kim Byeong-Ok, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, and Seung-shin Lee
- IMDb rating: 8.4/10
The Korean director Park Chan-wook, who previously gave you the much more subdued The Handmaiden, has created a disturbing movie. Any mindful human being would quake at its concept alone.
The police catch the sleazy Oh Dae-su (played by Choi Min-sik) after getting drunk on his daughter’s birthday. A friend bails him out, and Oh Dae-su vanishes while he is on the phone.
He is kept in the same room for 15 years with no apparent cause, and he has no idea why till he gets freed one day. That is all that can be said without giving away too much about this Cannes Grand Jury Prize winner from 2004. This is among the best movies like Scarface.
7. Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Director: Quentin Tarantino
- Cast: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, and Laura Lovelace
- IMDb rating: 8.9/10
Quentin Tarantino’s second movie presents the interconnecting stories of two mafia hitmen, their boss’ wife, and a boxer who won’t engage in combat. The brutal crime fiction inspired this movie in pulp magazines.
Over the last 25 years, every screenwriter in Hollywood has attempted and failed to imitate the movie’s nonlinear narrative structure and extravagant narrative style because it was so innovative and amazing.
The movie won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival. A timeless masterpiece, Pulp Fiction is still in existence. With so many iconic characters, settings, costumes, soundtrack choices, and pieces of dialogue, there is something unforgettable in every scene.
8. King of New York (1990)
- Director: Abel Ferrara
- Cast: Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne, Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes, Janet Julian, and Joey Chin
- IMDb rating: 6.9/10
The classic crime movie King of New York is just as relevant now as it was back in 1990. Frank White, a brutal mobster, gets freed from jail and returns to New York City in this violent, gritty movie directed by Abel Ferrara.
White quickly confronts the city’s underbelly and law enforcement as he works to build a legitimate financial empire. The issue of power and corruption in the movie remains ageless, as is Frank White’s complex personality.
As the anti-hero, a character with questionable morals but good intentions, Christopher Walken delivers a performance that will define his career. His portrayal is a masterpiece in subtlety and nuance, giving depth and sympathy to a character who could have been lifeless.
The supporting ensemble is also excellent, with well-known actors like David Caruso, Wesley Snipes, and Laurence Fishburne, who each contribute a certain energy to the movie.
King of New York is one of the best movies like Scarface, that will never go out of style. Power, morality, and the nature of crime are all subjects that are still important today. For everyone who likes crime movies like Scarface, it is a must-watch.
9. Goodfellas (1990)
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Cast: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, and Tony Darrow
- IMDb rating: 8.7/10
Martin Scorsese completely reshaped the art of cinema with Goodfellas. To offer you a chaotic movie-going experience that is as close to the crazy lifestyle of a gangster as a movie can be, he began the story in the middle and then dipped in and out of the beginning and end.
The protagonist is Henry Hill, a young New Yorker with gangster ambitions who ends up ratting out all of his friends to protect his family. He is also trapped in the suburban life he had planned to escape when he entered witness protection.
The movie is almost two hours long, yet it doesn’t seem that way because of how quickly it moves and how sharply it is cut.
10. Donnie Brasco (1997)
- Director: Mike Newell
- Cast: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Anne Heche, and Zeljko Ivanek
- IMDb rating: 7.7/10
You’re in for a treat if you haven’t watched the Donnie Brasco movie yet. The movie, which is based on a real incident, follows FBI agent Joe Pistone as he poses as “Donnie Brasco” and infiltrates the Mafia.
Al Pacino, Bruno Kirby, and Anne Heche are the main characters in this Gangster and espionage-themed action movie. Joe Pistone, an undercover FBI agent, introduces the movie as jewel thief Donnie Brasco.
Lefty is asking Donnie Brasco to sell him a fake diamond that he stole from the owner of a nightclub. Donnie approaches the strip club owner after telling him he won’t sell a fake diamond.
After that, Lefty briefs him about the Mafia. Donnie is presented to his crew and the head of the competing family, Sonny Red, as his protege. Joe Pistone discusses the specifics of his six years spent in the Mafia and his ethical decisions.
He also discusses his court testimony, travels, and name change. In 1988, Pistone revised the epilogue and went to TV programs. He also pondered the prospect of really running into Benjamin Lefty Guns Ruggiero.
11. Monos (2019)
- Director: Alejandro Landes
- Cast: Sofia Buenaventura, Julián Giraldo, Karen Quintero, Laura Castrillón, Deiby Rueda, Paul Cubides, and Sneider Castro
- IMDb rating: 6.9/10
Colombia submitted this wild action-thriller as a nomination for the 2020 Academy Awards. A bunch of teenagers known only as “Monos” keep an American captive in a remote bunker. “Monos” is a translation of the word “monkeys.”
Except for the odd visit from their manager, they are allowed to build relationships, engage in drug use, engage in alcohol consumption, and use hallucinogenic mushrooms. One day, in addition to the captive, they are given custody of Shakira, a milk cow.
One of the Monos inadvertently murders Shakira at a party, which sets off a chain of events that leads them deep into the bush and despair. Monos is more of a character study than an action film. It has a hazy connection to The Lord of the Flies.
12. Carlito’s Way (1993)
- Director: Brian De Palma
- Cast: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo, Ingrid Rogers, Luis Guzmán, and James Rebhorn
- IMDb rating: 7.9/10
Given the title, it should be no surprise that “Carlito’s Way” is a character-driven criminal drama. Although the movie proceeds slowly, it gives each main character enough time to grow and integrates all the problems into a single, unified narrative. This is among the best movies like Scarface.
As a result, it succeeds in being both enjoyable and rewarding without diminishing Carlito, the main character. Carlito’s Way was not a box office hit despite receiving positive reviews from critics, but it has since evolved into a cult favorite.
Despite the movie’s underwhelming box office result, Miller and Penn garnered nominations for their performances. “Rise to Power,” the second movie in the Carlitos franchise, is based on Carlito’s first book.
He returns to the streets where he first built his name and rose to fame in Carlito’s Way. This one is one of the rare movies that successfully combines a mobster storyline with a love story.
Despite being based on true events, the movie references literary work, such as a John Steinbeck book. The idea of Carlito’s Way is based on the real account of a mobster who escaped from jail after committing a crime.
13. The Godfather (1972)
- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, and Sterling Hayden
- IMDb rating: 9.2/10
The first name in lengthy, cinematic criminal sagas is Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece. The Godfather, like Scarface, is a masterpiece of acting that explores the shadow side of the American Dream.
Marlon Brando, Talia Shire, and James Caan complete one of the best ensembles casts in movie history. However, Al Pacino portrays Michael Corleone’s transformation from distinguished war hero to mafia leader in The Godfather with the same intensity as Tony Montana’s fall into cocaine addiction in Scarface.
The Godfather was the highest-grossing movie of all time at its debut. This is one of the best movies like Scarface.
14. Kill the Irishman (2011)
- Director: Jonathan Hensleigh
- Cast: Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Vincent D’Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darrow, and Robert Davi
- IMDb rating: 7.0/10
In the summer of 1976, in Cleveland, Ohio, the Irish gangster Danny Greene battled for his territory against the Italian Mafia. The movie, directed by Jonathan Hensleigh, follows Greene’s journey from a rough neighborhood to the enforcer of his neighborhood gang.
He defeats loan shark Shondor Birns, rescues an elderly lady from death, and keeps an eye on his enemies from afar. Ray Stevenson plays the lead in this underappreciated movie and is excellent in it.
The movie is a breath of fresh air since it shows some kind of opposition to the often-appearing Italian Mafia movies. What is more astonishing is how long Greene was able to protect himself.
15. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
- Director: Sergio Leone
- Cast: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams, Tuesday Weld, Burt Young, and Joe Pesci
- IMDb rating: 8.3/10
The best-known Sergio Leone movies like Scarface are spaghetti westerns like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
However, he moved to Hollywood to direct Once Upon a Time in America, a movie that comprehensively portrays crime and corruption in the United States.
However, Leone’s original cut, which was not altered for the European release, is 229 minutes long. The U.S. version distorted Leone’s movie to make its length more audience-friendly, 139 minutes.
Even though it is over four hours long, it is an epic narrative in the purest sense, even if the characters are always emphasized.
16. Miller’s Crossing (1990)
- Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
- Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro, Marcia Gay Harden, Jon Polito, J.E. Freeman, and Mike Starr
- IMDb rating: 7.7/10
Millers’ Crossing is an excellent option if you seek one of the best neo-noir gangster movies like Scarface. The Coen brothers’ signature flair is throughout this grim criminal thriller they wrote and directed.
Tom Reagan, a mafia boss’s right-hand man, is portrayed by Gabriel Byrne. He gives his skills to another gang when a rival group requests them, but his composure is put to the test as he deals with betrayals and retaliation.
The movie is worthwhile viewing for all of these reasons because this is only the start of a bloody conflict between two competing gangs. Millers Crossing is no exception, with a cast consistently delivering standout performances.
In contrast to Marcia Gay Harden, who exudes salty sensuality, Gabriel Byrne exudes steely focus. Other notables are J.E. Freeman’s seething anger and Albert Finney’s strictness. As sleazy Bernie, John Turturro delivers one of his most unforgettable performances.
Miller’s Crossing made references to a lot of movies. Leo and Johnny’s first encounter is similar to the first episode of Once Upon a Time in America. Both movies show the reasons why movie fans so adore this movie. You’ll like this movie if you enjoy slapstick and humorous criminal dramas from the 1990s.