Top 100 Gangster Movies

by killa_man23 | created - 13 Aug 2011 | updated - 15 Jan 2013 | Public

100 of the best gangster movies from different countries and different decades.

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1. Goodfellas (1990)

R | 146 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

89 Metascore

The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco

Votes: 891,382 | Gross: $46.84M

Scorsese's 'Goodfellas' is hands down the greatest gangster movie ever made. Featuring an amazing soundtrack and a great cast including Joe Pesci in his unforgettable, Oscar-winning role as Tommy DeVito.

2. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,416,808 | Gross: $134.97M

A beloved masterpiece from Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Marlon Brando is and always will be Don Vito Corleone.

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

R | 202 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton

Votes: 982,938 | Gross: $57.30M

The greatest sequel ever made.

4. The Departed (2006)

R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 1,060,411 | Gross: $132.38M

Remake of the Hong Kong classic 'Infernal Affairs', this film boasts a stellar cast and won Scorsese his long overdue Oscar.

5. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund | Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen

Votes: 635,816 | Gross: $7.56M

The quintessential gangster movie. Groundbreaking, inspiring and based on a true story. The cinematography, directing and writing is unmatched in Brazilian cinema.

6. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,614,360 | Gross: $107.93M

Quintin Tarantino's groundbreaking, non-linear, multi-strand narrative that both inspired and created imitators. This is undoubtedly the cornerstone of 90's cinema and still enjoyed by millions today.

7. A Prophet (2009)

R | 155 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

A young Arab man is sent to a French prison.

Director: Jacques Audiard | Stars: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Reda Kateb

Votes: 87,598 | Gross: $2.08M

Winner at Cannes and nominated for Best Foreign film at the Academy Awards, this is probably the best gangster film to ever come out of France.

8. Scarface (1983)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama

65 Metascore

In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Votes: 654,902 | Gross: $45.60M

Al Pacino disappears into the role of Cuban kingpin Tony Montana and gives us 3 hours of pure, cathartic entertainment.

9. The Usual Suspects (1995)

R | 106 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

77 Metascore

A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin

Votes: 894,536 | Gross: $23.34M

Thrilling from start to finish.

10. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime

66 Metascore

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.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham

Votes: 488,467 | Gross: $3.90M

The greatest British gangster film of all time.

11. Miller's Crossing (1990)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

66 Metascore

Tom Regan, an advisor to a Prohibition-era crime boss, tries to keep the peace between warring mobs but gets caught in divided loyalties.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, John Turturro, Marcia Gay Harden

Votes: 117,293 | Gross: $5.08M

The Coen Brothers take a stab at the gangster/crime genre and deliver an intellegent and aesthetically pleasing classic.

12. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

R | 229 min | Crime, Drama

A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams

Votes: 272,709 | Gross: $5.32M

An epic crime saga from Sergio Leone, the legendary director who gave us The Dollars trilogy and 'Once Upon a Time in the West'.

13. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II

Votes: 110,263 | Gross: $57.50M

As relevant today as it was when it first came out. Launched the career of Cuba Gooding, Jr., made Ice Cube into an even bigger cultural icon and paved the way for many up and coming actors and directors.

14. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)

Not Rated | 115 min | Action, Crime, Drama

71 Metascore

After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.

Director: José Padilha | Stars: Wagner Moura, Irandhir Santos, André Ramiro, Milhem Cortaz

Votes: 74,567 | Gross: $0.10M

Sequel to the critically acclaimed 'Elite Squad' and one of the few sequels to outdo the orginal.

15. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

When a simple jewelry heist goes horribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn

Votes: 810,393 | Gross: $2.83M

Quintin Tarantino's official debut. Dialog heavy, violent and very funny. A bonafide classic.

16. Road to Perdition (2002)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

72 Metascore

A mob enforcer's son witnesses a murder, forcing him and his father to take to the road, and his father down a path of redemption and revenge.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Tom Hanks, Tyler Hoechlin, Rob Maxey, Liam Aiken

Votes: 226,586 | Gross: $104.45M

Sam Medes, director of 'American Beauty' brings forth the adaptation of the popular comic series and Paul Newman gives his last great performance as Irish mob boss John Rooney.

17. Elite Squad (2007)

R | 115 min | Action, Crime, Drama

33 Metascore

1997, Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Director: José Padilha | Stars: Wagner Moura, André Ramiro, Caio Junqueira, Milhem Cortaz

Votes: 91,818 | Gross: $0.01M

A gangster film set in the late 90's that focuses heavily on a special forces milirary unit known as BOPE and how they deal with the gangsters and drug lords in the favelas. From the writer of 'City of God'.

18. Casino (1995)

R | 178 min | Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods

Votes: 408,927 | Gross: $42.44M

Scorsese's an De Niro's fifth collaboration is nothing short of extraordinary. De Niro is also reunited with frequent co-star Joe Pesci and the great James Woods.

19. The French Connection (1971)

R | 104 min | Action, Crime, Drama

96 Metascore

A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco

Votes: 98,346

The Oscar-winning film featuring Gene Hackman at his best as well as the greatest car chase in cinema history.

20. 25th Hour (2002)

R | 135 min | Drama

67 Metascore

Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Edward Norton, Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson

Votes: 161,972 | Gross: $13.06M

Half gangster film, half love letter to NYC after the 9/11 attacks. Ed Norton and Rosario Dawson star in this bleak film about a man making all the wrong choices in life.

21. Amores Perros (2000)

R | 154 min | Drama, Thriller

83 Metascore

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero

Votes: 205,228 | Gross: $5.38M

Inspired by Robert Altman's style of story telling, Amores Perros is Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's best film. His other films include Babel and Biutiful.

22. The Untouchables (1987)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

During the era of Prohibition in the United States, federal agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop ruthless Chicago gangster Al Capone, and because of rampant corruption, assembles a small, hand-picked team to help him.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Charles Martin Smith

Votes: 253,094 | Gross: $76.27M

The greatest film ever made about Al Capone, the Prohibition era and the man that took him down, Elliott Ness. Directed by Brian De Palma - the man that gave us 'Scarface' and 'Carlito's Way'.

23. Mystic River (2003)

R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

84 Metascore

The lives of three men who were childhood friends are shattered when one of them has a family tragedy.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Emmy Rossum

Votes: 385,283 | Gross: $90.14M

Clint Eastwood directs this sad, tragic tale about three friends taking different paths when something happens to one of them during their childhood. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins both won Oscars for their roles - Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

24. Eastern Promises (2007)

R | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

82 Metascore

A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Josef Altin

Votes: 212,842 | Gross: $17.11M

Quite possibly the best Russian gangster film ever made.

25. Léon: The Professional (1994)

R | 110 min | Action, Crime, Drama

64 Metascore

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello

Votes: 909,436 | Gross: $19.50M

A memorable performnce from Gary Oldman but the stand out is Natalie Portman as the 12-year old Mathilda.

26. Donnie Brasco (1997)

R | 127 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An FBI undercover agent infiltrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life, at the expense of his regular one.

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby

Votes: 253,362 | Gross: $41.91M

Al Pacino's last gangster film and it is certainly one of his best.

27. Snatch (2000)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Crime

55 Metascore

Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina

Votes: 709,696 | Gross: $30.33M

Guy Ritchie's hilarious black comedy/gangster movie about a boss attempting to fix a fight. Starring Brad Pitt and Benico Del Toro (who're both funny as hell) and Jason Statham.

28. La Haine (1995)

Not Rated | 98 min | Crime, Drama

24 hours in the lives of three young men in the French suburbs the day after a violent riot.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz | Stars: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui, Abdel Ahmed Ghili

Votes: 130,377 | Gross: $0.31M

Before 'City of God', before 'American History X', there was 'La Haine' (Hate).

29. Chinatown (1974)

R | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

92 Metascore

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez

Votes: 262,828 | Gross: $29.20M

Roman Polanski's epic and one of Jack Nicholson's many great perfromances.

30. Infernal Affairs (2002)

R | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

A story between a mole in the police department and an undercover cop. Their objectives are the same: to find out who is the mole, and who is the cop.

Directors: Wai-Keung Lau, Alan Mak | Stars: Andy Lau, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Eric Tsang

Votes: 110,366 | Gross: $0.17M

Remade by Scorsese into the Oscar-winning 'The Departed' in 2006, the original is just as great, if not better. Two of Hong Kong's biggest actors Tony Leung and Andy Lau star.

31. Heat (1995)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

Votes: 518,004 | Gross: $67.44M

Pacino and De Niro in their first film together. Though they starred in 'The Godfather II', this is their first trading dialog together. Val Kilmer is great as always and Michael Mann proves why he's the best when it comes to guns, set-pieces and all-out action.

32. Hak se wui (2005)

Unrated | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

73 Metascore

Rival gang leaders are locked in a struggle to become the new chairman of Hong Kong's Triad society.

Director: Johnnie To | Stars: Louis Koo, Suet Lam, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Siu-Fai Cheung

Votes: 8,619

Known by many as the Chinese 'Godfather' - this is one of Hong Kong's finest films.

33. American History X (1998)

R | 119 min | Drama

62 Metascore

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien

Votes: 938,873 | Gross: $6.72M

Blistering depiction of life in Venice Beach and racism. Edward Norton's gives his greatest performance ever.

34. Sexy Beast (2000)

R | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.

Director: Jonathan Glazer | Stars: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman

Votes: 49,749 | Gross: $6.95M

Ben Kingsley is thrilling, crazy and really funny in his Oscar nominated role as Don Logan, a thief who enlists the aid of a former associate for a major heist.

35. Triad Election (2006)

Unrated | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

83 Metascore

As election time nears, current Triad chairman Lok (Yam) faces competition from his godsons. At the same time, Jimmy (Koo) looks to increase his business relations with mainland China.

Director: Johnnie To | Stars: Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung, Ka Tung Lam

Votes: 5,138 | Gross: $0.05M

Sequel to the 2005 film featuring returning cast members and an even crazier protagonist.

36. Carlito's Way (1993)

R | 144 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

65 Metascore

A Puerto Rican former convict, just released from prison, pledges to stay away from drugs and violence despite the pressure around him and lead on to a better life outside of N.Y.C.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, John Leguizamo

Votes: 183,986 | Gross: $36.95M

Al Pacino plays as a milder, wiser and more compassionate Tony Montana in this film directed by the man that gave us 'Scarface'. Also stars Sean Penn in an Oscar worthy role, as well as Luis Guizman as Pachanga and John Leguizamo as Benny Blanco.

37. True Romance (1993)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

In Detroit, a lonely pop culture geek marries a call girl, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the owners of the cocaine, the Mob, track them down in an attempt to reclaim it.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer

Votes: 186,724 | Gross: $12.28M

Written by Quintin Tarentino and directed by Tony Scott. The highlight of the film is Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken's great chemistry and scene together.

38. Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008)

R | 133 min | Action, Biography, Crime

72 Metascore

The story of notorious French gangster Jacques Mesrine.

Director: Jean-François Richet | Stars: Vincent Cassel, Ludivine Sagnier, Mathieu Amalric, Samuel Le Bihan

Votes: 26,487 | Gross: $0.28M

Vince Cassel perfectly portrays the iconic French bandit Mesrine for a second outing. Again, one of the few cases where the sequel is better than the original.

39. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 756,999 | Gross: $74.28M

A satchel full of money, a pyschopathic killer, the Mexican cartel and Tommy Lee Jones as a philosophical sherriff. It's also an Oscar-winning Coen Brothers film.

40. Oldeuboi (2003)

R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

74 Metascore

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji

Votes: 451,206 | Gross: $0.71M

With the release of Oldboy in 2003, the film soon gained cult status and Oh-Dae Su, the main character, quickly became an icon in cinema.

41. Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)

R | 113 min | Action, Biography, Crime

71 Metascore

The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.

Director: Jean-François Richet | Stars: Vincent Cassel, Cécile de France, Gérard Depardieu, Gilles Lellouche

Votes: 29,905 | Gross: $0.55M

If it wasn't for 'A Prophet' this would be considered the best French gangster film ever.

42. American Gangster (2007)

R | 157 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin

Votes: 363,557 | Gross: $130.16M

Denzel Washington and Rusell Crowe are exceptional as a drug lord and honest detective respectively in this film based on a true story.

43. Gran Torino (2008)

R | 116 min | Drama

72 Metascore

Disgruntled Korean War veteran Walt Kowalski sets out to reform his neighbor, a Hmong teenager who tried to steal Kowalski's prized possession: a 1972 Gran Torino.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley, Ahney Her

Votes: 663,075 | Gross: $148.10M

Why should you watch this? This is Clint Eastwood's last acting role, among other things. Only two words can describe this film: pure badass.

44. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

69 Metascore

After awakening from a four-year coma, a former assassin wreaks vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen

Votes: 893,301 | Gross: $70.10M

Quintin Tarantino reunites with Uma Thurman in this epic revenge tale and explores his love for Asian cinema, from Akira Kurosawa's many samurai films to Run Run Shaw's classic kung-fu films. There's a lot to be nostalgic about if you love martial arts and samurai films.

45. Training Day (2001)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the L.A.P.D. with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger

Votes: 353,310 | Gross: $76.63M

Denzel Washington turns bad in this film about a detective taking a rookie under his wing for a day he'll never forget. The highlight of the film is Denzel himself, who delivers his best performance since 'Malcolm X'. The film is also one of the most quotable.

46. Menace II Society (1993)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu, Toshi Toda

Votes: 46,211 | Gross: $27.90M

Following the trail Singleton started with the classic 'Boyz N the Hood', the Hughes Brothers directs this film with a similar tone about growing up in the streets of Watts, Los Angeles.

47. American Me (1992)

R | 125 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

A Mexican-American Mafia kingpin is released from prison, falls in love for the first time, and grows introspective about his gangster lifestyle.

Director: Edward James Olmos | Stars: Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Sal Lopez, Vira Montes

Votes: 7,027 | Gross: $13.09M

Set in East L.A. chronicling 30 years of Chicano gang life, from the streets to prison. Dark, slow and very violent, this film considered to be one of the greatest gangster films of all time and Edward James Olmos's magnum opus - both as an actor and director.

48. Running Scared (2006)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Drama