25 best Prohibition movies
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
The Coen brothers’ pastiche of old gangster movies is a fantastically dense, typically cerebral thriller packed with twists and turns, some of the snappiest hard-boiled dialogue around, and an action sequence set to the strains of “Oh Danny Boy” that may be among cinema’s most dazzling set pieces.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
They weren’t bootleggers, of course, preferring the rather more direct money-making enterprise of robbing banks – but Bonnie and Clyde are icons of the era, cutting a swathe of terror through post-Depression America. They weren’t as photogenic as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty are, either, but hey, it’s Hollywood – just enjoy it.
Public Enemies (2009)
Another bank robber, and another icon of Prohibition era, John Dillinger (here played by Johnny Depp) ran with some of Chicago’s bootlegging underworld. Michael Mann’s film is a mixed bag, but nails the accuracy dead-on: at one point, Depp even drives an actual car used in one of Dillinger’s robberies.
Ben Gazzara tales on the role of the scarred one in this biopic of America’s best-known gangster. It’s not the classiest or most accurate depiction of Capone’s life, it has to be said, but if you’re after a fast-paced and brutal romp through the Chicago crime world, it fits the bill as snug as a drum magazine in a Tommy gun.
Last Man Standing (1996)
Like A Fistful of Dollars, Last Man Standing is based on Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. It’s a story of a mysterious gunslinger (a super-taciturn Bruce Willis) who arrives in a Prohibition era ghost town and plays two bootlegging criminal gangs off against each other.