Organized crime is a fascinating topic for filmmakers (especially when you consider how much of Hollywood the Mafia used to control), so there are some tropes that show up time and time again in mob movies. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you just might be in a mob movie.
1. Crime Pays…For a Little While, at Least
The bad guys in mob movies are always living lives of luxury high on the hog, much better than any of their law-abiding enemies. But eventually Johnny Law comes ‘a knockin’.
2. Just When You Think You’re Out, the Old Neighborhood Always Pulls You Back In
No matter how much cash these made men bring in, they’re always still attached to the humble working-class neighborhoods of their youth.
3. There’s a Code of Honor Among Thieves (And Vicious Killers)
No matter how awful the crooks are to the outside world, there’s always a set of rules that they abide by. You might stab a guy and stuff his body into a trash compactor, but you’d never disrespect his mother.
4. At Least One Family Has a Beef With You
Even though bad guys are supposedly all on the same side, there’s always two groups that don’t see eye to eye and go to war over it.
5. You’ve Been Patched Up By a Back Alley Surgeon
Real men of the Mob don’t go to the doctor. They always get their wounds patched up by a shady surgeon operating out of a back-alley dentist office or veterinarian hospital.
6. An Old Gangster Lectures You On the Importance of Respect
There’s always an opportunity for a senior Mafia figure to deliver some strong words on the nature of respect to a subordinate who he will inevitably have to whack.
7. Someone (Maybe You) Is a Rat
There’s always that one guy who turns on his familia and tries to profit from it, whether by informing for the police or a rival family. In the end, he is usually rewarded with either a stint in the Witness Protection Program or the “kiss of death.”
8. A Tough Guy Hitman Gets Called In
Eventually, somebody’s going to go too far and a button man will be called in to snuff them permanently. Any gangster movie worth its salt has a hit scene (or two, or three or four….).
9. Pretty Much Every Cop is Crooked
Although law enforcement is usually doing its job, there’s always at least one detective who is on the side of the criminals.
10. You Can’t Have a Nice Italian Meal Without Someone Getting Whacked
Nothing’s as important to the Italian mob as food, so every movie is legally required to have a scene where the gangsters sit down to eat and someone gets killed or at the very least stabbed in the leg with a fork.