Top 10 Unsung Gangsters
#10 – ‘Honest’ John Worthington Foulfellow (Pinocchio)
If the clue’s not in the name, it’s in his game. Well renowned for leading young boys astray to Pleasure Island (how did parents watch this with a straight face?) and to their DEATH (trying to kill Pinocchio? Yeah that’s just A-not-okay), this sneaky fox screams desperado. Yes, okay, he failed to kill Pinocchio, but that’s not the point. The point is he tricked poor wooden Pinocchio into believing he had a palpating syncopation of the killer diller with a wicky-wacky stamping of the boy-joy, which is just INTOLERABLY CRUEL. But also admirable. What charisma. Here’s a fan vid for the Fox someone actually took the time out of their life to make.
#9 – Kansas City Little Big Mickey Blue Eyes (Mickey Blue Eyes)
Hugh Grant? Gangster? Are we on the right list? Yes, yes we are. The Floppy-Haired One’s inept transformation from auctioneer to mobster is one of his most charming and undervalued roles, not least for Grant’s character Michael’s repeated attempts to ape the culture of his fiancée Gina’s Mafia family (and, indeed, Family). Who could forget James Caan’s attempts to teach him the basics of Eyetalian-American intonation? Fuhgeddaboudid!
#8 – Fat Sam (Bugsy Malone)
Okay, so he’s not meanest crook of them all, but that’s what makes him so lovable. Imagine an undercover drug operation run by Fat Sam, everyone would just be so happy and NICE. Fat Sam would pay them all lots of money and everyone would eventually quit drugs because they’d realise the only way to go in life is just to be goshdarned COOL like Fat Sam. Happy endings all round, no-one loses their teeth to meth, and the world is a better place for it. HATS OFF TO FAT SAM, THE UNSUNG NICE GANGSTER!
(For the record, John ‘Fat Sam’ Cassisi now runs a construction company. What did they DO to you, Fat Sam?!)
#7 – The Weasels (Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
These guys are pretty pathetic. Death by laughter? Not very slick. However, in typical Henchmen style, they wear mob hats and tailered jackets and try to kill Bob Hoskins, so technically derserve more criminal credit. These unsung weasels are weasley in every aspect – creepy hysteria, eerie voices and mischievous faces. But are they the worst of the bunch? Not quite.
#6 – Dorian Tyrell (The Mask)
He shoots bullets out of his mouth, for God’s sake. Any gangster would KILL to do that. Do you think Tony Montana’s power tyrade would ever have stopped if he could shoot BULLETS out of his FACE? It doesn’t bear thinking about. Dorian also runs a nightclub, tries to overthrow his boss and uses someone’s mouth as a golfball tee. Gangster rule number #3: make your threats as weird as possible.
#5 – Harry Waters (In Bruges)
Always nice to find a space for Ralph Fiennes on any top 10 list. Voldemort Harry (don’t you love how ironic it is that his name’s Harry?) gets number 5, for the utterer of best lines ever said, being a mean bastard, breaking poor Ken’s heart but also for being an admirer of the finer things in life, like beautiful cities and swans. But how can fuckin’ swans not fuckin’ be somebody’s fuckin’ thing? Gangster rule number #2: taste, style and glamour – you need at least 3. This gangster’s got it all; foul language, threats, henchmen and a dirty mean face. Now let’s all take a moment to enjoy one of the the greatest lines in cinematic history:
#4 – Joe Cabot (Reservoir Dogs)
He croaks, he makes jokes, he has sleepy eyes, he’s your Tarantino gangster Godfather. What about Marcellus Wallace, we hear you cry? Sure, he’s gangster, but he’s been sung and danced about. You think Tarantino, you always forget about Joe. Joe’s pretty brutal. If you betray Joe Cabot, he’ll kill you, even if you are his son. Gangster rule #1: above all, loyalty. He has a crew of crooks at his bidding and is involved in all sorts of crazy stuff, like guns and drugs. What a rascal.
#3 – Shelly Kaplow (The Cooler)
If you ain’t never heard a’ Shelly Kaplow, you in luck, boy. Bernie Lootz, on the other hand, isn’t. Shelly ‘cures’ Bernie of a gambling habit by kicking his knee in, forever leaving unlucky Bernie with a bad knee. WHAT KIND OF SICK BASTARD DOES THAT? He’s mean as hell and not afraid to mess up your love life or your son. He always means business and he gets whatever he wants, AND he owns a casino. Ultimate gangster profile.
#2 – Bonnie Parker (Bonnie and Clyde)
She’s wild, sexy, good with a gun, craves danger and is played by the beautiful Faye Dunaway. What more could you want in a female gangster? She may come as part of a duo, but don’t doubt for a second that it holds her back. The Great Depression wasn’t enough to stop this feisty waitress-turned-criminal. She’ll rob your bank, steal your car, leave you tied up and take photos to humiliate you. Sound like a dream? Say that to her. She’ll punch your lights out. GIRL POWER!
#1 – Ratigan (Basil the Great Mouse Detective)
How can you disagree with a song that PROVES Ratigan’s criminality? Let us enlighten you on just a few of this rabies-infested rodent’s bad deeds; he kidnaps a little girl, stuffs her into a glass bottle, enslaves her father, turns into some sort of DEMON RAT when he’s angry, and almost kills Basil, the great mouse detective a.k.a. Sherlock Holmes. Oh, did we mention he also tries to feed the Queen to a cat? Yeah. This rat breaks so many laws it’s unreal. What a RAT. For this reason, he is our ultimate unsung gangster.