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Top 14 Russian Mobster Movies

Russian gangster
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Are you a fan of mafia movies or the mob in general? No for the mob, and yes for the movies? Yeah, I thought so.

Many people like watching mafia movies, but what about mafia movies that come from Russia? It’s kind of a no-brainer, cause you know, we’ve all heard about the Russian mafia.

And how does that translate into good mafia movies? Well, just read this article to its conclusion if you want to find out!

So, just sit back, relax, and enjoy this list of the top mafia movies!

Top Russian Mafia Movies

1. Brother (1997)

Brother (or Brat) is a crime-drama directed by Aleksey Balabanov. The film centers around a young man (called Danila) who returns home after the First Chechen War. 

He is sent to St. Petersburg (by his mother) to look for his older sibling, who can help him find a job. Now, this wouldn’t be a movie about organized crime if we didn’t have Russian gangsters in it.

Luckily, for the main protagonist (us and), it turns out that Danila’s brother is just that – a hitman for a Russian mafia family. 

The main protagonist, Danila was brilliantly portrayed by the extremely talented Sergey Bodrov. This is one of the best mafia movies because it perfectly treads the line between action and drama while at the same time not forgetting the importance of the story.

IMDB score: 8.0/10

2. Blind Man’s Bluff (2005) 

Another movie made by the amazingly talented director, Aleksey Balabanov. This is a crime movie that tells the story of different customs the Russian gangsters used to have in the 90s. 

The plot takes place in the aftermath of the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The movie is filled with violence, fun and it will keep you completely engaged until the credits roll.

This film is a dark humor parody of the mafia movies. 

If you want to learn more about the Russian mob, while also having a laugh, then this movie is a must-watch.

IMDB score: 7.2/10

3. Brother 2 (2000)

I understand that the first 3 mobster movies on this list were all made by the same director, but there is a reason for that – Aleksey Balabanov is a master of it.

The film continues the story of Danila and his “exploits” inside the organized crime world. Unlike the first film, this one is focused on revenge. 

After returning to Moscow, Danila discovers something (no spoilers) that leads him on a journey to the American continent, specifically Chicago. 

This is one of those movies that explore the criminal underworld, while still maintaining its relatability to the average man (or someone who is not a mobster). 

Many people consider this film as one of the best sequels of all time.

IMDB score: 7.8/10

4. Sisters (2001)

This film is interesting because, apart from being a typical mobster movie, it’s also a family drama. The film stars 2 amazingly talented actresses Oksana Akinshina and Katya Gorina.

The story is centered around two sisters who flee from Russian gangsters after their father (also a Russian gangster) is released from prison.

The film is as much about the criminal underworld as it is about growing up in a crazy world and the relationship between the sisters. 

It’s a drama about life and a crime thriller. If you have time, you should definitely check out this movie, as it is one of the best Russian movies of all time (gangster or otherwise).

IMDB score: 7.1/10

5. Tycoon: A New Russian (2002)

The film starts during the Soviet Union era, specifically during the Gorbachev years (1990-1991) [1].

The protagonist, Platon, is a student who, along with four of his friends decides to “look into” capitalism. 

Two decades later he is one of the richest men in Russia. Getting to the top is hard, but falling from it is even harder (or something like that, I am not good at metaphors).

The film is made by Pavel Lungin, one of the most prominent directors in Russia. This film is compared to mafia movies such as “Godfather”, “Scarface”, “Once upon a time in America”, etc. 

Even though it falls short in many ways (when compared to the previously mentioned films), this film offers a unique view on the life of a Russian mafia boss and the criminals surrounding him.

IMDB score: 6.8/10

6. Weather Is Good on Deribasovskaya (1993)

Directed by Leonid Gaidai, this film centers around a special agent and his search for the mysterious Russian bandit, called Artist.

This American-Russian production was the last movie Leonid will ever make. 

Set at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the film centers around the fight to take down the head of the Russian mob, the “Artist”.

This is one of those movies that perfectly combines comedy with the more serious, crime and drama elements.

IMDB score: 6.1/10

7. Thieves By Law (2010)

Now, this film is a little bit different than the other ones. Why? Because it’s a documentary.

The movie tries (and succeeds) to give us a broader picture of the Russian criminal world. If you want to know what it’s really like to be a gangster in Russia, then this movie is the one to see.

Not only does it get you to understand how it’s like to be a part of the Russian mob, but it also features interviews from people who are wanted by Interpol (it doesn’t get more inside than that).

Directed by Alexander Gentelev this is one of those films that will make you question what’s more criminal – the “System” or the gangsters themselves. Something to think about?

IMDB score: 7.3/10

8. The Mark of Cain (2001)

A truly amazing film about Russian prison tattoos, their meaning and significance in the life of a gangster from Russia.

Another documentary on this list, this film features interesting interviews with prisoners, guards and criminologists.

If you ever wondered about the meaning behind the tattoos of a Russian gangster, then this is a film to see. 

IMDB score: 7.6/10

9. Assa (1987)

Made a couple of years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is one of those mafia movies that will stay with you for a long time. 

Even though the movie is about the mafia, because of the music elements, this documentary is made it on the list of Russian “Rockumentary” movies [2].

Directed by Sergey Solovyev, Assa is set during the 80s. A musician by the name of Bananan gets romantically involved with the mistress of a mob boss. 

This is one of the best Russian films, and over the years has gained a lot of attention and a cult following.

IMDB score: 7.8/10

10. Bummer (2003)

Directed by Pyotr Buslov, Bummer, was released back in 2003 and was one of the top-grossing films of that year.

The plot centers around four friends, who get into some trouble and are forced to flee the city of Moscow. They do their fleeing in a black BMW (slang bummer or bimmer, hence the name).

As mafia movies go, the Bummer is filled with action but is also a critique of the government policies that plagued Russia during the reign of Boris Yeltsin.

IMDB score: 7.1/10

11. Gentlemen of Fortune (1971)

This crime flick was shot way back when ( in the year 1971). This is one of those mistaken identity type of movies.

Directed by Aleksandr Seryy and considered by many as one of the best Russian movies of all time, this flick is a must see!

It’s not a new entry in the world of cinema it still holds up to the test of time. 

IMDB score: 8.5/10

12. Mute Witness (1995)

A mute make-up artist is a witness to a murder. She’s trying to explain what happened to the authorities. Yeah, and she is also trying to stay alive.

Directed and written by Anthony Waller, this flick’s plot is happening in the city of Moscow. 

If you are interested in watching a good, old-fashioned R rated flick, then make sure not to miss this one.

IMDB score: 6.7/10

13. The Stoker (2010)

Another entry in the genre of mafia movies, directed by Aleksey Balabanov. 

The plot centers around a man named Skryabin (a former soldier and a veteran of the Afghan war).

With its classic revenge plot, this flick is a great new addition (or relatively new) to the genre of mafia movies.

IMDB score: 6.7/10

14. Mama Don’t Cry (1998)

Directed by a well-known director, Maksim Pezhemskiy (it’s not a stroke, it’s just your brain trying to figure out how to pronounce the last name), this flick follows an unfortunate and an unlucky sailor. 

The protagonist’s tale starts with a fight in which he kills the head of the mob family (not a great way to start your day, I’d presume).

He only tried to defend the bride’s honor (yeah, this all happened at a wedding), but instead, he ended up fleeing from the authorities as well as the mob.

IMDB score: 6.8/10

The Bottom Line

We’ve talked about the best mafia movies that were (mostly) made in Russia. 

I certainly hope that this article has helped you delve deeper into the interesting and horrifying world of organized crime.

If not, I still hope you had a good time reading this, as well as watching some of the movies I’ve talked about.

References

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38289333  
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40927437?seq=1

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