Everyone knows the story of the young and in-love couple who went on a crime spree in the 1930s that ended in a blaze of gunfire, and the death of both parties. The 1967 film’s directed by Arthur Penn and is regarded as a landmark in Hollywood history, marking the beginning of the New Hollywood era.
Bonnie and Clyde were one of the first 100 films preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It was up for 10 Academy Awards, winning two, including Best Supporting Actress for Estelle Parsons.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Johnny Depp plays FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone, who’d infiltrated the mafia, and ended up forming an actual friendship with some of the most infamous members in history, like Lefty Ruggiero (Al Pacino.) Born Joseph D. Pistone, the former FBI agent went undercover between 1976 and 1982 as part of a massive take-down of the Bonnano crime family as well as the Colombo family, two of the five most powerful mafia families in New York of the time.
88% of critics agree that the film is a great one, and it earned nearly $125 million against a budget of just $35 million. For several awards including the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Reviews were mainly positive, especially regarding the performances of Pacino and Depp, both of which were called “in top form,” by Salon.com.
Malcolm X (1992)
Denzel Washington stars as minister and human rights activist, Malcolm X, who is best remembered for his work for the Nation of Islam, in this 1992 biographical drama. The film follows X through his teachings, until his religious conversion, and right through until his 1965 assassination. Malcolm X became an iconic figure in pan-Africanism during the civil rights struggle. He was tragically shot dead (in front of his bodyguards) while preparing to address a crown at OAAU in Manhattan's Audubon Ballroom.
Roger Ebert ranked the film as his favorite of the year, and Washington’s performance was praised by critics everywhere. Washington was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, but lost to Al Pacino, a decision that was criticized by more than a few people.
Schindler’s List (1993)
This historical American drama is directed by film icon Steven Spielberg and follows a German businessman, Oskar Schindler, played by Liam Neeson, and his wife as they save more than a thousand people from the Holocaust during WWII, by employing them at his enamelware factory in Poland.
The film won an impressive seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay (it was adapted from the 1982 Austrian novel, Schindler’s Ark.) Neeson was nominated for Best Actor but was beat out by Tom Hanks for his role in Philadelphia.
The Untouchables (1987)
This star-packed film came out in 1987, and stars Kevin Costner as Prohibition agent, Elliot Ness, who worked to bring down Al Capone via his team, The Untouchables. Directed by Brian De Palma, the film was nominated for four Oscars, including a win for Best Supporting Actor for Sean Connery. His co-authorship of a popular autobiography, The Untouchables, which was published soon after his death, propelled many television and motion picture portrayals that established Ness' posthumous reputation as a crime fighter.
As the true story took place in Chicago, the film was shot in and around the city to provide historical accuracy. Aside from the Academy Awards, it received a number of other accolades and nominations. Connery won a whopping nine awards for his role as Jim Malone.