Actors love to play gangsters, and we love to watch them. There’s something about the myth of gangster life (or perhaps the chance to dispel that myth) that gives actors something they can sink their teeth into. And there aren’t many top actors who haven’t played a gangster of some kind or other—even Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s favorite Mr. Nice Guy, played a mob hit man in Road to Perdition.
In American Gangster, opening this weekend, Denzel Washington adds his name to that list, and the movie already looks like it’s going to be a huge hit. Will Denzel join the list of actors who did some of their best work in a gangster role? The odds look good, though he’s up against some stiff competition. This is a tough poll, but we want to know: What classic actor throughout his career has left the most indelible mark as a gangster character? You can probably guess my choice from the photo: let’s see how he stacks up against the competition!