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Top 10 British Gangster Films

7: Gangster No. 1 (2000)
List Of British Gangster Films

Little Richard provides the subtextual soundtrack to just about every gangster movie in existence, courtesy of his 1962 number He Got What He Wanted (But Lost What He Had). Gangster No. 1 is no exception, being a tale of the misery yielded by unchecked ambition.

Paul Bettany stars as the young version of the unnamed central character, putting in a genuinely breakthrough performance as his hoodlum falls prey to the same traps which sank that Scots bloke that Shakespeare liked banging on about.

6: The Krays (1990)
Great British Gangster Movie

The Krays remain the most (in)famous criminals in British history, the East End answer to a fraternal John Dillinger and Al Capone. Their notoriety even tipped over into a weird form of cachet in swinging London, as they appeared alongside Lennon, McCartney and the Rolling Stones in David Bailey’s Box of Pin-Ups, a prestige photo archive of the era.

The law eventually caught up with them – as did the movie biz, with pop pin-ups Martin and Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet being the surprise/surprisingly inspired choices to play the twins. And, if recent rumours are ‘true’ (little SB joke for you) then Tom Hardy will be starring as both Krays in a new film, as he goes for box office ‘gold’ (that’s all the SB we got).

5: Sexy Beast (2000)
Best British Gangster Films

As he’s just proved again with Under the Skin, director Jonathan Glazer is the fackin’ guv’nor when it comes to making half an amazing movie and then filling out the remainder with fluff plucked from his naval. Sexy Beast still remains his most satisfying film overall, scoring with its stylish evocation of sweaty cons (embodied by Ray Winstone’s Gal) cowering from their old lives on the Costa del Crime.

A rubbish rabbit offers a needless diversion down Pretentious Avenue, but there’s no arguing with the animal magnetism of Ben Kingsley – who kicked off the most recent phase of his stellar screen career with an Oscar-nominated showing as starch-shirted psychopath Don Logan.

4: Snatch (2000)
Top British Gangster Films

Though at the time it was politely applauded as a relatively welcome helping of more of the same, Snatch actually takes the basic building blocks of Lock, Stock and uses them to surpass its predecessor and deliver the kind of rollicking caper-comedy that Guy Ritchie has shown zero hunger or aptitude to replicate in the 14 years since.

Meanwhile… Vinnie Jones continued to give false hope to C-list celebs across the nation that given their own gangster film gig, they too could soon be sharing poster space with Brad Pitt. Most bizarre manifestation of this: BBC darts pundit Bobby George and presenter Ray Stubbs playing hard-nuts in something called One Man and his Dog.

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    Watched ‘The Long Good Friday’ for the first time last night, brilliant movie. Subtle, intelligent, great plot, amazing performance from Bob Hoskins.

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  • ChrisG said

    What about Rise of The Foot Soldier? Not sure if you consider it a Gangsta Movie but I thought it was a great British movie.

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