Best Cosa Nostra Film Scripts

Films set in the organized crime world seem to be really popular among audiences and critics alike, and perhaps even more so in the USA. No other country has produced so many successful movies about the subject, and arguably the explanation for this is found in the very nature of such films and the obscure reality they illustrate.

Good scripts of the crime genre aim to accomplish much more than just showing violence, bribery, corruption and other acts inherent in hoodlum operations. They try to portray a society through characters that went on to create their own code –out of necessity, greed, or both- , and how their paths inevitably collide with those of us who never, ever thought about living in a way that involves breaking the law. Or did we?

Undeniably, there’s an enticing quality in these tales about real individuals who built their own empire through illicit means. Morality is often a concept under debate in screenplays like The Godfather, Goodfellas, or Casino: they don’t condemn nor idolize mobsters, but rather act as impartial observers, and remind us sometimes that our good, lawful side has its share of hidden dark spots as well.

This week’s list is specifically focused in screenplays related to the Cosa Nostra –the original Italian mafia developed in the 19th Century in Sicily- and the families that followed these operations in American territory during the Prohibition Era and afterwards:

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre poster thumbnail
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)
Written by:Howard Browne (Screenplay)

Godfather poster thumbnail
Godfather (1972)
Written by:Mario Puzo (Screenplay), Francis Ford Coppola (Screenplay), Mario Puzo (Novel)

The Godfather Part II poster thumbnail
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Written by:Mario Puzo (Novel), Francis Ford Coppola (Screenplay), Mario Puzo (Screenplay)

Once Upon A Time In America poster thumbnail
Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
Written by:Harry Grey (Novel), Leonardo Benvenuti (Screenplay), Piero De Bernardi (Screenplay), Enrico Medioli (Screenplay), Franco Arcalli (Screenplay), Franco Ferrini (Screenplay), Sergio Leone (Screenplay), Ernesto Gastaldi (Screenplay)

The Untouchables poster thumbnail
The Untouchables (1987)
Written by:Oscar Fraley (Novel), Eliot Ness (Novel), David Mamet (Writer)

Bugsy poster thumbnail
Bugsy (1991)
Written by:Dean Jennings (Novel), James Toback (Screenplay)

Goodfellas poster thumbnail
Goodfellas (1990)
Written by:Nicholas Pileggi (Author), Nicholas Pileggi (Screenplay), Martin Scorsese (Screenplay)

Miller's Crossing poster thumbnail
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Written by:Joel Coen (Author), Ethan Coen (Author), Joel Coen (Screenplay), Ethan Coen (Screenplay)

A Bronx Tale poster thumbnail
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Written by:Chazz Palminteri (Screenplay), Chazz Palminteri (Theatre Play)

Bullets Over Broadway  poster thumbnail
Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
Written by:Douglas McGrath (Screenplay), Woody Allen (Screenplay)

Casino poster thumbnail
Casino (1995)
Written by:Martin Scorsese (Screenplay), Nicholas Pileggi (Screenplay), Nicholas Pileggi (Novel)

Donnie Brasco poster thumbnail
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Written by:Joseph D. Pistone (Novel), Richard Woodley (Novel), Paul Attanasio (Screenplay)

Sexy Beast poster thumbnail
Sexy Beast (2000)
Written by:Louis Mellis (Screenplay), David Scinto (Screenplay)

Road to Perdition poster thumbnail
Road to Perdition (2002)
Written by:Max Allan Collins (Novel), Richard Piers Rayner (Novel), David Self (Screenplay)

Eastern Promises poster thumbnail
Eastern Promises (2007)
Written by:Steven Knight (Screenplay)

Public Enemies poster thumbnail
Public Enemies (2009)
Written by:Bryan Burrough (Novel), Michael Mann (Screenplay), Ronan Bennett (Screenplay), Ann Biderman (Screenplay)

The Irishman poster thumbnail
The Irishman (2019)
Written by:Steven Zaillian (Screenplay), Charles Brandt (Book)