As fantasies go, few are as fascinating to people as the idea of being a gangster. For decades, countless books, comics, movies and TV shows have given people many a villain to become enamored with. But what most people don’t know is that anyone can be a gangster.
From genre standards like The Godfather, Goodfellas and The Sopranos to cult classics such as Reservoir Dogs, we’ve seen the role of “gangster” portrayed in so many different ways. We’ve seen the traditional mafia and crime gangs, as well as comic book villains and unorthodox/unexpected characters, nail the role.
So, what do we at No Coast Bias think about gangsters? Join us as we take a look at some of the industry classics and put together the ultimate fantasy gangster teams. Deep down inside, everyone wants to be a gangster.
Like we were going to do an entire week of gangster-themed content and not do a fantasy draft? NoCoastBias.com’s finest contributors, myself, Derek Hernandez, Brandon Gonzalez and some guy named Dan came together to elect our ultimate fantasy gangster crew.
Any fictional gangster is eligible, or really anyone that a plausible argument could be made for them being a gangster. You’ll see that some pushed the boundary of the definition of a gangster to the brink and beyond (*cough* Brandon *cough*). Five gangsters to a crew. Below you’ll find the draft order and our explanations and reasoning for our picks. You decide who won.
|Round 1||Gus Fring (Breaking Bad)||Bill “The Butcher” Cutting (Gangs of New York)||Stringer Bell (The Wire)||Vito Corleone (The Godfather)|
|Round 2||The Joker (Batman)||Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men)||Kingpin (Marvel Comics)||Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds)|
|Round 3||Nino Brown (New Jack City)||Keyser Soze (The Usual Suspects)||Fat Tony (The Simpsons)||Tuco Salamanca (Breaking Bad)|
|Round 4||Miklo (Blood In, Blood Out)||Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction)||Sonny LoSpecchio (Bronx Tale)||Tony Montana(Scarface)|
|Round 5||Boston George (Blow)||James “Whitey” Bulger (Black Mass)||Francis “Frank” Costello (The Departed)||Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Boardwalk Empire)|
Mean Guys (like Mean Girls, but with dudes)
Remember in The Longest Yard (the Adam Sandler one) when they’re recruiting inmates to play for their football team? Burt Reynolds says “well, we may not have the best team but we will definitely have the meanest”. This sums up my crew. We may not be the smartest, most shrewd gangsters, but we’re definitely the meanest.
It all starts with my leader, William “The Butcher” Cutting, the antagonist from Gangs of New York. I will argue until the cows come home that there has never been a more terrifying and sinister gangster put to the silver screen than Daniel Day-Lewis’ Bill Cutting. Exhibit A. Exhibit B.
Next up, my hitmen, Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men and Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction. Both are prodigious in their use of fear but employ very different styles of it. Chigurh, who is like if the Terminator had a bad haircut, is so deadly serious and intense that he makes a scene about a coin flip in a gas station absolutely agonizing to watch. Winnfield, on the other hand, will take a bite of your Big Kahuna burger, a sip of your tasty beverage and act like everything’s cool before he shoots your friend on the couch without breaking eye contact. Then, he’ll recite his favorite bible verse before pumping you full of lead.
The entire movie of The Usual Suspects is based on how petrified everyone is of Keyser Soze, so I think we’re good there. He can take care of international matters of business.
Then we have James “Whitey” Bulger. His ability to spin an innocuous question over dinner into a developing horror show is worthy talent. He’s got the FBI in his pocket, which is nice. Plus, his pale face and piercing blue eyes make him look like a shark. So, he’s got that going for him.
Smash City Saints
I strung together a group of men, that as individuals could strive in any condition, but as a unit could take over the world. Some bring a single quality that I find admirable while others are what we call the total package.
For starters, I took Frank Costello (The Departed) because every team needs a loose cannon, someone who will just let loose at a moments notice. That’s why Frank is the wildcard of the crew.
Next, we have Fat Tony (The Simpsons) … some may deem this a laughable pick, but I laugh right back at them. For decades Tony has run one of the finest establishments in Springfield the “Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club.” That plus his comedic timing make him a near replaceable member of the crew.
Third, we have Sonny LoSpecchio (Bronx Tale) the voice of reason, enlightenment, and the old head every crew needs. Without someone like Sonny, guys like Frank could run amuck. Not to mention who would all the underlings turn to for a piece of fatherly advice.
Now we come to 1A & 1B as far as importance in the crew. Kingpin from Marvel Comic fame and Stringer Bell from the greatest TV show ever “The Wire”. Both men are rather complex, as first glance they come off as well-educated businessmen, but below the surface, both are ruthless criminals who will stop at nothing to defend their operations. Which are attributes that you need from those who are in charge.
Together I feel all five men bring to the table exactly what you need in a crew, not to mention none of them are Nazis.
Just call my crew “The Money Team” because with Fring, Nino and George pushing weight, we’ll have endless funds to fuel our capers. Having Fring sorta, kinda keep Joker’s chaos in check could lead to a Vince McMahon/Vince Russo like pairing that leads to world domination. Speaking of that type of expansion, Fring will have the luxury of leaning on lieutenants like Nino and George to ensure operations go smoothly while having the Joker take care of his dirty work. Think of the Joker as Mike Ehrmantraut on steroids…mixed with acid.
Oh yeah, then there’s Miklo. In this world he’s still locked up, so he’s my “inside man” that uses his prison network to shank my enemies and build my army of criminals. Plus, what team is a team without Ken from Street Fighter?
After much evaluation I rounded up this five: Vito Corleone (The Godfather), Colonel Hans Landa (Inglorious Basterds), Tuco Salamanca (Breaking Bad), Tony Montana (Scarface) and last but certainly never least, Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Boardwalk Empire).
In putting this ultimate gangster team together I wanted to give each gangster a role. Vito is self-explanatory; he is the head of the operation and the overseer. If any decisions need to be made or any business needs taking care of, it goes through Vito.
Though not a traditional (i.e. Mafia, crime, etc.) gangster, Colonel Landa is a bit of a Swiss army knife. Landa can handle the logistics of any operation and in reality is normally in charge, keeping up with the idea that no one sees the “don” unless it’s business or the last resort. Hans Landa is basically the man you want to start/finish any deal and make sure the job goes smoothly on all counts.
Tuco and Tony are essentially muscle. If there is any need for altercation or backup, you call Tony and Tuco. In essence, they go where they are needed and get the job done.What they lack in brains, they more than makeup for it in the ability to win a fight. Most importantly, these two keep the Don safe at all costs.
Lastly, there is Nucky. Nucky is a jack of all trades. He can coordinate dealings and deliver all at once. Nucky is that member of the gang that can blend in with the rest of the population and never get caught. If the need arises for an undercover operation comes, Thompson can swoop in incognito.
A quite unorthodox team, but with these five working together, you get results. Simple as that.
Tell us who you think has the best crew (definitely Robby) on Facebook and Twitter at @NoCoastBias.