Mobsters in the Movies

By Ellise Chase

Arson, murder, frame-up… oh my!  It might all be tied back to this Arturo Ui guy… (see what I did there?)

The Resistible Rise Arturo Ui is, and I’m quoting here, “the gangster show to end all gangster shows!” so while you are anxiously awaiting its arrival in the Wells-Metz Theatre on December 1, why not take a look at some of the casts’ favorite gangster movies?


Little Caesar

This movie comes highly recommended from our valiant leader and director, Liam Castellan, and the brains of the operation, Kathryn de la Rosa.  Released in 1931, the film focuses on an aspiring small-town criminal, Caesar “Rico” Bandello who relocates to Chicago to hit the big time.



The Public Enemy

Another golden-age classic, this film focuses on two young Chicago hoodlums rising up from their slum life to become petty thieves, bootleggers and cold-blooded killers. Recommended by the brains, Kathryn de la Rosa.



Inglorious Bastards

Yes, you read that right.  One of the best movies of the past ten years, if you ask me (which you are reading this so…) Not exactly a gangster film, but boy does it have its moments!  Also, if you hadn’t heard yet, Arturo Ui is an allegory on the rise of Hitler, so use this movie to brush up on your (fictionalized revenge) history.  This comes recommended by Dramaturg Kathryn de la Rosa and your MC for the article, Ellise Chase (Roma).



City of God

Recommended by the mouthpiece of the mob, Nathaniel Kohlmaier (Giri), City of God takes a look at gangster-dom in the poverty-stricken world of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s.




Ah! A classic.  Sometimes called THE classic gangster film.  I don’t think I need to tell you all so instead I am just going to give you some fun facts:

#1 This film is based on a true story.  Henry Hill was actually a member of the Lucchese crime family and later became a federal informant.

#2 Joe Pesci won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role of Tommy DeVito.

#3 The “F-word” is uttered over 300 (!!!!!) times.



Some Like It Hot

Thank you Athena Kopulus (Dogsborough) for recommending something a little lighter!  After witnessing a mafia murder in Chicago, two friends disguising themselves as women join an all-female jazz band and hop a train bound for Florida.



Peaky Blinders

Looking for something more than just one movie?  Check out this five season, BBC drama.  A gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England and centered on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss who means to move up in the world. Shout out to Brantley Goodrich (Ensemble) for the suggestion!



The Departed

Our fearless leader, director Liam Castellan, says this is his favorite mobster movie of modern times.  I am just going to give you some names to convince you: Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and Howard Shore.



The Godfather

My favorite movie.  Of all time.  No need to say more, because I am sure you have all already seen it. Except that Dominic Pagliaro (James Greenwool) also recommended this film.


Ellise Chase is a first-year M.F.A. acting student at IU. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui marks her IU Theatre debut. Ellise graduated from Gannon University with a Bachelor’s degree in theatre and another in advertising. Past roles include: A Streetcar Named Desire (Stella) and Sweeney Todd (Johanna) at the Erie Playhouse. Collegiate roles include: The Crucible (Abigail Williams), Pygmalion (Clara), and Peter Pan (Wendy Darling). Ellise is from Erie, Pennsylvania.


About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peek behind the curtain at the productions and people at Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
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