HBO’s The Sopranos is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, and it’s another reminder that the public just can’t seem to get enough of the mafia. The Godfather helped popularize mafia stories over five decades ago, and there always seems to be new material to explore in film and television.
Netflix doesn’t have The Sopranos or The Godfather for mafia aficionados, but it does have a lot of crime stories available to stream, only a few of which actually deal with the mafia. For this list, we’ve narrowed down the selections to three great Netflix movies about the mafia. But you may want to make your viewing plans soon, since our second selection, The Informer, is leaving Netflix at the end of January.
Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman plays like an all-star lineup of movie mobsters, including the three lead actors: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, all of whom were digitally de-aged for certain portions of the film. And like many of Scorsese’s best crime epics, The Irishman is also based on real events. De Niro stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a man whose loyalty to the Philadelphia mafia allows him to find work as a contract killer under mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci).
Frank also becomes close to Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), who won’t let a little thing like prison get in the way of holding on to power. However, Hoffa’s inability to back off eventually alienates his silent partners in the mafia, which may force Frank to make some hard choices about who he’s really loyal to.
Watch The Irishman on Netflix.
Instead of dealing with the Italian mafia, The Informer switches the focus to the Polish mafia. The Suicide Squad‘s Joel Kinnaman stars as Peter Koslow, a man who has been on the rise in the Polish mafia under the leadership of Ryszard “The General” Klimek (Eugene Lipinski). What The General doesn’t know is that Peter flipped for the FBI and is now working for Special Agent Erica Wilcox (Rosamund Pike) to put him away.
But just as Peter finally sees an end to his life of stealth, an undercover cop is murdered during a sting. The General then threatens Peter’s wife, Sofia Koslow (Blonde‘s Ana de Armas), to make sure that Peter continues running the drug operation from behind bars. Meanwhile, the FBI also expects Peter to keep spying for them, even though Wilcox’s boss, Keith Montgomery (Clive Owen), is looking to throw Peter under the proverbial bus in order to cover up his own mistakes.
Watch The Informer on Netflix.
The Godfather movies and The Sopranos tend to offer a more sanitized look at the mafia even when they regularly kill or maim people. The Equalizer 3 goes several steps further with its depiction of the Italian mafia, aka the Camorra. Marco Quaranta (Andrea Dodero) and his older brother, Vincent Quaranta (Andrea Scarduzio), are absolutely irredeemable as they unleash a wave of violence — including a car bombing and an impromptu amputation — to terrorize a small town in Italy into obeying their will.
Unfortunately for the Quaranta brothers, they’ve picked the town where Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is convalescing after being seriously wounded. McCall has become very fond of the townspeople, and watching them get mistreated just pisses him off. When the Quaranta brothers fail to heed McCall’s warning to move their operations, he once again takes the law into his own hands.
Watch The Equalizer 3 on Netflix.
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