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8 How I Became a Gangster Movies You Must See

January 5, 2023

The Netflix film How I Became A Gangster, directed by Maciej Kawulski, is a Polish crime thriller that follows the development and career of a mafioso from childhood to his mature years as a mafioso. The gangster, who is affectionately called Chief by his people, is primarily concerned with becoming more and more powerful and maintaining this control over others. His friend Walden and his wife Magdalena stand by him on his way.

The film is based on actual events, with the creators making some changes to protect the people involved. In addition, the protagonist follows his own rules and regulations, which give an insight into Chief as a character and as a person. The film delves into the unseen and unknown realms of the life and experiences of a Polish mafioso. If you love the action and violence of such gangster movies and want to watch more such stories then the following suggestions are perfect. You can watch most of these movies similar to How I Became a Gangster on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

8. Totem (2017)

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Written and directed by Jakub Charon, the crime film ‘Totem’ tells the story of two brothers. After a drug deal goes awry, they become entangled in a web of fraud and crime. New to a life of lawlessness, the siblings are confronted with the reality of betrayal, violence and complex crime. The Polish film stars Karol Bernacki, Robert Chuchro and Waldemar Galuszka. Like the brothers in Totem, Chief and Walden take on law enforcement and lead lives of crime and violence in the Netflix film. In addition, both films are Polish and belong to the crime genre.

7. Live By Night (2016)

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Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Live by Night is a crime drama directed by Ben Affleck. The film is about Joe Coughlin, a World War I veteran who becomes a petty thief in Boston. Eventually he rises in the criminal underworld and becomes a powerful gangster in Prohibition-era Florida.

As Joe becomes wealthy and powerful, he finds himself in trouble with the law and rival gangsters. Consequently, he has to deal with the side effects of his lifestyle and the mistakes he has made. The famous film depicts the struggles and difficulties of a gangster’s life. Joe is from Boston while Chief is from Poland; yet their lives follow a similar path, toward success and eventual failure.

6. The Iceman (2012)

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‘The Iceman’ is a biographical crime film directed by Ariel Vromen and based on the true story by Richard Kuklinski. He was a notorious hitman and family man who murdered over 100 people between 1954 and 1986. The film follows Kuklinski’s life and crimes, including his work as a hitman for the Gambino family in New York. He was eventually arrested and convicted. The film was well received by critics and is now a cult classic. Both How I Became A Gangster and The Iceman are movies based on real gangsters and the mafia. They give us a glimpse into the lives of real criminals and the underworld.

5. Yuma (2012)

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Piotr Mularuk’s Polish crime drama Yuma is about a young man named Marek who gets involved with a group of criminals and becomes involved in a robbery gone wrong. As he tries to extricate himself from the dangerous situation, he has to deal with his own morality and the consequences of his actions.

Chief and Marek have similar experiences in their criminal lives: they both commit robberies and end up in a lawless world. In addition, the protagonists try to save themselves from a dangerous situation. Also, both Chief and Marek have been involved with the mafia since childhood.

4. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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The dramatic and violent tale of loyalty, betrayal and the fallout from a life of crime is told in Once Upon a Time in America. Directed by Sergio Leone, a stirring epic was created that spans several decades. The crime drama follows a group of young Jewish boys who grow up in the rough neighborhoods of New York City and become notorious gangsters.

Robert De Niro stars as David Noodles Aaronson, a gang member who rises to power and then falls from grace. Like David, Chief goes through various difficult situations to get to the top of the ladder; their paths in life are portrayed in their respective films.

3. The Public Enemy (1931)

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William A. Wellman’s directorial work The Enemy of the Public tells the story of Tom Powers, a young man who rises in the criminal underworld of Prohibition-era Chicago. The more powerful he becomes, the more ruthless and violent he becomes. Eventually, Tom’s actions are caught up by himself. James Cagney, Jean Harlow and Edward Woods star in the classic crime drama. The criminal underworld and mafia form the basis and setting for both The Public Enemy and How To Become A Gangster.

2. Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)

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Directed by Jean-François Richet, the French crime film Mesrine: Killer Instinct is the first in a two-part biopic series about notorious French mobster Jacques Mesrine. The film follows his early life as a young man in the ’60s when he becomes involved in petty crime. Mesrine eventually rises in the criminal underworld of Paris.

The film stars Vincent Cassel as Mesrine and Ludivine Sagnier and Samuel Le Bihan. The French gangster Mesrine and the Polish Mafioso Chief are not that different. Also, their lives are marked by crime and violence, and they face the consequences of their actions.

1. How I Fell in Love with a Gangster (2022)

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The film Jak pokochalam gangstera (Eng. How I got into a Gangsters in Love is a crime drama that follows the rise of Polish gangster Nikodem Nikos Skotarczak and his later life experiences. Narrated by an unknown woman, the film recounts his crimes and deeds that affected the whole country.

If we dig a little deeper, there are numerous similarities between How I Became a Gangster and How I Fell in Love with a Gangster. Both films are by the same authors and directors, Krzysztof Gureczny and Maciej Kawulski. Consequently, both films have the same tonality and the same themes – famous Polish gangsters are at the center of the plot.