10 Must-Watch Crime and Drama Movies Like Boardwalk Empire

Step into the captivating world of crime and drama with our list of 10 must-watch movies that are just as thrilling and mesmerizing as "Boardwalk Empire." From the dark underbelly of the Prohibition era to the intricate web of conspiracies, these films will transport you to a world where charismatic characters navigate the blurred lines between law and order. Get ready for an enthralling cinematic experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

1) Once Upon a Time in America

Once Upon a Time in America is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire, as both movies explore the gritty world of organized crime during the Prohibition era. While Boardwalk Empire focuses on an Atlantic City politician playing both sides of the law, Once Upon a Time in America tells the story of a former Jewish gangster returning to confront his past. Both movies capture the essence of the 1920s with their attention to detail, immersing the audience in a world of speakeasies, violence, and forbidden desires. However, the two movies differ in their scope and runtime. Boardwalk Empire, being a series, offers a more in-depth exploration of its characters and plotlines over its 55-hour runtime. On the other hand, Once Upon a Time in America is a 3-hour epic cinematic masterpiece, delving into the complex emotions and regrets of its characters.

Release date: December, 1986
IMDB Rating: 8.3
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2) Scarface

Scarface is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire in several ways. Both movies revolve around the themes of prohibition, gangsters, and organized crime. They take us back in time to different eras - Scarface to the 1930s in Chicago and Boardwalk Empire to the 1920s in Atlantic City. The protagonists in both films are ambitious and ruthless individuals who climb the ladder of success in the criminal underworld. However, while Boardwalk Empire focuses on the life of a politician who plays both sides of the law, Scarface delves into the story of an insane and violent gangster. The two movies share a love for dark humor and showcase violence in a tabloid-like fashion. The 1932 version of Scarface has a rawness and intensity that stands out, especially considering the time it was made.

Release date: April, 1932
IMDB Rating: 7.7

3) Al Capone

"Al Capone" is a fascinating depiction of the rise and fall of the infamous Chicago crime boss during the Prohibition era. While "Boardwalk Empire" focuses on an Atlantic City politician who plays both sides of the law, "Al Capone" takes a more direct approach by chronicling the life of the man himself. The movie presents Al Capone in a "documentary" format, which adds an extra layer of authenticity to the story. Rod Steiger's portrayal of Capone is widely regarded as one of the best, setting the standard for other actors to follow. The supporting cast, including Fay Spain and Martin Balsam, further enhances the movie's quality. Despite being filmed in 1959, "Al Capone" remains relevant and engaging in any era. If you enjoyed the thrilling world of organized crime in "Boardwalk Empire," "Al Capone" is a must-watch for its captivating portrayal of one of the most notorious gangsters in history.

Release date: March, 1959
IMDB Rating: 6.7

4) Capone

Capone: The story of the rise and fall of the infamous Chicago gangster Al Capone and the control he exhibited over the city during the prohibition years. This movie is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire, a series set in Atlantic City during the Prohibition era. Both explore the gritty world of gangsters and the political corruption that prevailed during that time. While Boardwalk Empire is a critically acclaimed series with a stellar cast and numerous nominations, Capone is a cinema movie that didn't receive much recognition. However, if you enjoyed Boardwalk Empire and want to delve deeper into the world of gangsters and prohibition, Capone offers a different perspective with its focus on the notorious Al Capone. Just don't expect the same level of quality and depth as Boardwalk Empire.

Release date: April, 1975
IMDB Rating: 5.7

5) Lucky Lady

Lucky Lady, released in 1975, is a delightful cinematic gem that will transport you back to the 1930s during the era of prohibition. Just like the main movie, Boardwalk Empire, Lucky Lady features a plot centered around the prohibition era, gangsters, and bootlegging. However, while Boardwalk Empire is a gripping series set in Atlantic City, Lucky Lady takes a comedic approach and tells the story of a trio of rum-runners engaging in a steamy love triangle. The main movie is a critically acclaimed series with a runtime of 3300 seconds, while Lucky Lady is a charming cinema movie that will keep you entertained for 7080 seconds. With an average rating of 5.2, Lucky Lady may not have received as much recognition as Boardwalk Empire, but it certainly deserves a watch for its hilarious moments and excellent performances by Burt Reynolds, Gene Hackman, and Liza Minnelli.

Release date: December, 1975
IMDB Rating: 5.2

6) Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire in many ways. Both series are set in the early 20th century and explore the world of organized crime. While Boardwalk Empire takes place in the United States during the Prohibition era, Peaky Blinders is set in 1900s England and revolves around a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps. The attention to detail in both shows is remarkable, with stunning period costumes and sets that transport viewers to a different time. The acting and writing in both series are top-notch, making them a must-watch for any fan of crime dramas. However, despite their similarities, Peaky Blinders has a unique flair of its own. The show has a distinct British vibe and follows the story of the fierce gang leader Tommy Shelby. With its gripping storyline and compelling characters, Peaky Blinders has captivated audiences around the world.

Release date: September, 2013
IMDB Rating: 8.8
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7) Deadwood

Deadwood is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire in many ways. Both shows take place in a specific time period, with Deadwood set in the late 1800s and Boardwalk Empire during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. They both explore the dark side of society, showcasing corruption, crime, and violence. While Boardwalk Empire focuses on the world of Atlantic City politics and gangsters, Deadwood delves into the deep corruption and crime of the town of Deadwood, South Dakota. Both shows feature an ensemble cast of compelling characters, with standout performances from Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire and Ian McShane in Deadwood. However, the two shows also have their differences. Boardwalk Empire has a more polished and glamorous feel, with its sleek production and stylish costumes, while Deadwood embraces the grit and dirt of the Old West, creating a more raw and authentic atmosphere.

Release date: March, 2004
IMDB Rating: 8.6
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8) Live by Night

Live by Night is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire because both stories take place during the Prohibition era and involve organized crime. However, Live by Night lacks the weight and sass that characterizes crime films like Boardwalk Empire. While the film is beautifully set in Florida and Cuba, it fails to capture the verbal gymnastics and irony found in films like Pulp Fiction and The Godfather. Additionally, Ben Affleck's performance as Joe Coughlin lacks the edge and passion necessary for a successful gangster character. The film spends too much time focusing on romantic relationships and Affleck's own image, rather than delving into what drives Joe's love and ambition. Overall, Live by Night is a decent crime movie but falls short compared to the captivating and entertaining Boardwalk Empire.

Release date: February, 2017
IMDB Rating: 6.4

9) Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu

Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu is reminiscent of Boardwalk Empire in many ways. Both movies delve into the dark world of crime and murder, exploring the lengths that people will go to in order to protect their own interests. While Boardwalk Empire is set in the Prohibition era of 1920s Atlantic City, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu takes us on a thrilling journey through the investigation of a series of brutal rapes and murders, spanning multiple countries. The similarities don't end there - both movies feature charismatic and determined protagonists. Steve Buscemi's portrayal of an Atlantic City politician who plays both sides of the law is matched by Kamal Haasan's incomparably charismatic cop, Raghavan, who stops at nothing to catch the culprits. However, Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu offers a unique twist by swapping frames between New York and India, providing a rich backdrop that adds depth to the story.

Release date: August, 2006
IMDB Rating: 7.9

10) Billy Bathgate

Billy Bathgate takes us back to the 1930s, just like Boardwalk Empire did with the 1920s. Both movies dive into the world of organized crime and gangsters, showcasing the dark and gritty side of American history. While Boardwalk Empire focuses on the Prohibition era in Atlantic City, Billy Bathgate takes us to post-Prohibition New York City, portraying the rise of a young gangster under the tutelage of Dutch Schultz. One reason to watch Billy Bathgate is the mesmerizing performance of Dustin Hoffman as Schultz, a hot-tempered and homicidal maniac. Hoffman's portrayal is so accurate and intense that you can't help but be captivated by his performance. The film also features a strong supporting cast, including Nicole Kidman as an immoral heiress and Loren Dean as the title character. Unlike Boardwalk Empire, Billy Bathgate is based on the real-life events of Schultz's downfall, making it a fascinating historical crime drama.

Release date: November, 1991
IMDB Rating: 5.9

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