The 5 best British gangster movies are, to say the least, very British, and an excellent way to see how our cousins from across the pond do their organized crime. Consider this an anthropology lesson, and think about using subtitles. We are two countries separated by a common language, after all.
- "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels." This is the smarter and funnier younger brother of the movie "Snatch", without any of the latter movie's annoying quirks. It's the British gangster movie that put Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham on the map. It's violent, funny, fast, and puts the audience smack dab into the grimy London underworld and the big fish and small fish that swim in it.
- "Get Carter." No, not the Stallone remake. This original from 1971 has Michael Caine being as badass as Michael Caine possibly can be. And that, friends, is very bad ass. Caine is a gangster. His brother gets killed. Caine wants revenge. That's all you need to know. See this British movie now.
- "Sexy Beast." Safe Ray Winstone is out of the game, and f-bomb hurling Ben Kingsley, in one of the funniest and most disturbing performances ever, has to bring him back in for one more heist. Watching these two go at it verbally, physically, and everything in between is worth the price of admission itself, but you also get Ian McShane as a psychopathic crime boss. You really can't lose with this British gangster movie.
- "The Limey." This is what happens when the British and American gangster worlds collide. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and penned by Lem Dobbs, "The Limey" is Terence Stamp, who travels to LA to investigate the mysterious death of his daughter. To say anything else would be spoiling it, but Stamp is fantastic in this timeline bending, stylishly disjointed piece of crime filmmaking.
- "Layer Cake." Daniel Craig, pre-Bond, stars as an unnamed cocaine distributor, who has to track down the runaway daughter of a friend, and then things get really complicated. Because, of course, nothing is as it seems. Craig has to work all the threads in the rapidly thickening plot in order to get out with his life. You've seen this type of movie before, I'm sure, but you haven't seen it with Craig's blue eyed intensity. This, after all, is the British gangster film that put Craig in gritty Bond's shoes.