Actors who often play criminals/gangsters/scumbags/villains/terrorists

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1.
Joe Pesci
Actor, Goodfellas
Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943, in Newark, NJ, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor and by the mid-50s was starring on the series "Star Time Kids". In the mid-'60s he released a record under the stage name of "Joe Ritchie" titled "Little Joe Sure Can Sing"...
 
2.
Robert De Niro
Actor, Goodfellas
De Niro's longtime collaboration with Scorsese later earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. He also earned nominations for the psychological thrillers Taxi Driver (1976) and Cape Fear (1991), both directed by Scorsese. De Niro received...
 
3.
Al Pacino
One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies. Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an Italian-American family. His parents...
 
4.
Christopher Walken
Nervous-looking lead and supporting actor of the American stage and films, with sandy colored hair, pale complexion and a somewhat nervous disposition. He won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Deer Hunter, and has been seen in mostly supporting roles, often portraying psychologically unstable characters...
 
5.
Michael Madsen
Michael Madsen's long career spans 25 years and more than 170 films in which he has played memorable characters in myriad box office hits, including: Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 Sin City, Hell Ride, Die Another Day, Donnie Brasco, Species, The Getaway, Thelma & Louise...
 
6.
Tom Sizemore
Tom Sizemore rose in prominence throughout the 1990s, establishing himself as a memorable tough-guy actor, sought by the most respected directors in the business. Thomas Edward Sizemore, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Judith (Schannault), an ombudsman staff member, and Thomas Edward Sizemore...
 
7.
Steve Buscemi
Actor, Fargo
Steve Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Dorothy (Wilson), a restaurant hostess, and John Buscemi, a sanitation worker. He is of Italian (father) and English, Dutch, and Irish (mother) descent. He became interested in acting during his last year of high school. After graduating, he moved to Manhattan to study acting with John Strasberg...
 
8.
Michael Wincott
Actor, The Crow
Over more than thirty years, Michael Wincott has gained the reputation of a respected and uncompromising actor. Born in Scarborough, Ontario, he eventually moved to New York City where he graduated from Juilliard in 1986 and began a relationship with Joseph Papp's Public Theatre beginning with his creation of the role of Kent in Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio...
 
9.
Peter Stormare
Actor, Fargo
Peter Stormare was born in Arbrå, Gävleborgs län, Sweden, to Gunhild (Holm) and Karl Ingvar Storm. He began his acting career at the Royal National Theatre of Sweden, performing for eleven years. In 1990 he became the Associate Artistic Director at the Tokyo Globe Theatre and directed productions of many Shakespeare plays...
 
10.
Ron Perlman
Actor, Hellboy
Ron Perlman is a classically-trained actor who has appeared in countless stage plays, feature films and television productions. Ronald N. Perlman was born April 13, 1950 in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York. His mother, Dorothy (Rosen), is retired from the City Clerk's Office. His father, Bertram "Bert" Perlman...
 
11.
Mickey Rourke
Mickey Rourke was born Phillip Andre Rourke, Jr. on September 16, 1952, in Schenectady, New York, the son of Annette (Cameron) and Phillip Andre Rourke. His father was of Irish and German descent, and his mother was of French-Canadian, English, and German ancestry. When he was six years old, his parents divorced...
 
12.
Kim Coates
Kim's film career began in 1991 with The Last Boy Scout. Two Warner Brothers' hits followed: Innocent Blood and The Client. Since that time he has starred in over forty films, including Academy Award winners Black Hawk Down directed by Ridley Scott, and Pearl Harbor directed by Michael Bay. Other films include Waterworld and Open Range with Kevin Costner...
 
13.
Emilio Rivera
Actor, Traffic
Emilio Rivera has discovered that turning your life around is the key to making dreams come true. His acting credentials have allowed him to top the list of successful Latino actors. His resume continues to grow with starring roles in films such as High Crimes with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman and the much anticipated film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts...
 
14.
Danny Trejo
Actor, Machete
Danny Trejo was born Dan Trejo in Echo Park, Los Angeles, to Alice (Rivera) and Dan Trejo, a construction worker. A child drug addict and criminal, Trejo was in and out of jail for 11 years. While serving time in San Quentin, he won the lightweight and welterweight boxing titles. Imprisoned for armed robbery and drug offenses...
 
15.
James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey, to Santa (Penna), a high school lunchlady, and James Joseph Gandolfini, Sr., a bricklayer and head school janitor. His parents were both of Italian origin. Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin...
 
17.
William Forsythe
Actor, The Rock
Dynamically entertaining heavyset US actor with piercing eyes, William Forsythe has a superb talent for playing some truly unlikeable and downright nasty characters that dominate the films in which he appears! If you're cast as the "hero" against Forsythe's "villain", then you have your work cut out for you...
 
18.
Giancarlo Esposito
Music Department, The Electric Company
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to an Italian carpenter/stagehand father from Naples and an opera-singing African-American mother from Alabama. His parents, working in Europe at the time of his birth, settled in Manhattan by the time he was six, and that's where he grew up...
 
19.
Benicio Del Toro
Actor, Snatch
Benicio Del Toro emerged in the mid-'90s as one of the most watchable and charismatic character actors to come along in years. A favorite of film buffs, Del Toro gained mainstream public attention as the conflicted but basically honest Mexican cop in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic. Born on February 19...
 
20.
Chazz Palminteri
Bronx-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the Italianate torch in film. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cazale and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighborhood...
 
21.
Armand Assante
Armand Assante is a coarsely handsome American actor who has successfully portrayed a wide range of intriguing characters from numerous ethnic backgrounds, both on screen and in the theater. Armand Anthony Assante, Jr. was born on October 4, 1949 in New York City, to Katherine (Healey), a music teacher and poet...
 
23.
Frank Vincent
"Go home and get your shine box....", so said ill-fated Billy Batts in Goodfellas. However, Billy Batts is better known to a legion of crime-film fans as the talented actor, musician, and comedian Frank Vincent. Multi-talented Vincent was born in North Adams, Massachusetts, but was raised in the Greenville section of Jersey City...
 
24.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including _Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), _Unbreakable (2000), Shaft, Formula 51, Black Snake Moan, Snakes on a Plane, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe...
 
25.
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, NJ...
 
26.
Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is a talented British born movie actor who played Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Drexl in True Romance, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He starred in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the remake of RoboCop. He is also an English filmmaker, musician and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style...
 
27.
Arnold Vosloo
Arnold Vosloo was born in Pretoria, South Africa, to stage actor parents, Johanna Petronella Vorster and Johannes J. Daniel Vosloo. He is an Afrikaaner (of mostly Dutch, as well as German, Swiss-German, Danish, and French, descent). Vosloo quickly established a fine reputation as an actor in his native South Africa...
 
28.
Adoni Maropis
Actor, 24
Being an exceptional all-around athlete in high school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it appeared Adoni would pursue a professional career in some sport. Turning down various athletic scholarships, he enrolled at West Virginia University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration...
 
29.
Tim Roth
Often mistaken for an American because of his skill at imitating accents, actor Tim Roth was born Simon Timothy Roth on May 14, 1961 in Lambeth, London, England. His mother, Ann, was a teacher and landscape painter. His father, Ernie, was a journalist who had changed the family name from "Smith" to "Roth"; Ernie was in Brooklyn, New York, to an immigrant family of Irish ancestry...
 
30.
Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel is an American actor and producer. An Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominee, he has appeared in films such as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, Ridley Scott's The Duellists and Thelma & Louise, Peter Yates' "Mother, Jugs & Speed", Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction...
 
31.
James Caan
A masculine and enigmatic actor whose life and movie career have had more ups and downs than the average rollercoaster and whose selection of roles has arguably derailed him from achieving true superstar status, James Caan is New York-born and bred. He was born in the Bronx, to Sophie (Falkenstein) and Arthur Caan...
 
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