25 best Prohibition movies
Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
The film that John Dillinger finished watching moments before the FBI gunned him down, Manhattan Melodrama concerns boyhood friends who end up on separate sides of the law: one a criminal, one a D.A.
Bullets over Broadway (1994)
Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning comedy concerns a 1920s New York playwright who gleans excellent rewrite ideas from an unlikely source: an underworld enforcer. The trouble starts when he begins claiming the gangster’s revisions as his own work. Allen recently revealed that a musical adaptation of the film would soon be coming to the modern day Broadway.
The Funeral (1996)
It’s an Abel Ferrara film, so lashings of religious subtext are poured over a family drama about three mob brothers (Christopher Walken, Chris Penn and Vincent Gallo) in the 1930s. One of the best crime movies you’ve (probably) never seen.
The Petrified Forest (1936)
Hollywood royalty abound here, with Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis and Leslie Howard lives intersecting at a Depression era diner in the Petrified Forest area of Arizona. The movie was Bogart’s first major role, and he was only cast at Howard’s insistence – the two having played the same roles in the Broadway play. Years later, Bogart named his daughter Leslie in honour of Howard, who was killed in World War II.
The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)
Based very loosely on true events, this black and white movie is regarded as one of the best gangster movies of the 1960s. It concerns the titular Jack “Legs” Diamond, a petty thief who moves to New York and attempts to muscle in on the criminal empire of Arnold Rothstein by becoming the man’s bodyguard.