Top 10 coolest gangs in film
|LISTS - MOVIE LISTS|
The coolest gangs are calling...which would you join?
The best films are the ones that make you wish you were in them; the best characters make you wish you knew them. In this list we’re going to count down the gangs that we all wanted to be in - regardless of criminal affiliations, murderous tendencies and hairy feet. You know the groups I mean: those bands of characters who had the strongest friendships, the most epic experiences, delivered the most outrageous one-liners and triumphed in the face of adversity. Cool is an unquantifiable state, but each of the following ten groups of people have it in spades. There was just too much cool to include here, but these are my personal favourites.
10. The Breakfast Club – The Breakfast Club (1985)
Which one were you? Judd Nelson, deliberately antagonising the teacher and everyone else? Ally Sheedy, sprinkling her pencilled countryside scene with dandruff snow? The characters from The Breakfast Club are timeless, and anyone who was ever a teenager recognises the stereotypes we encountered in our own high school: The Jock, the Rebel, the Geek, the Freak, and of course, the Princess, played by early-departed-from-the-silver-screen-and-therefore-forever-young Molly Ringwald.
The Breakfast Club crew gives us hope that clique boundaries can be transcended and we can all live happily together! Brian writes to Mr Vernon: “we found out that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal”. In The Breakfast Club we see a group of newly found friends who are more together than they were apart. Hooray!
9. The Warriors – The Warriors (1979)
Face paint, bandanas, and an epic soundtrack; there’s not much wrong with The Warriors. The gang itself has the slight downside that the whole of New York is out for its blood, but it’s fun to be an underdog, right? You could pick pretty much any gang in the film to be a part of. Each gang has a funky name and distinct uniforms and weapons; the Electric Eliminators in their bright yellow jackets, the white-faced Hi-Hats and the space-suited Moonrunners. The Warriors themselves are cool because Ajax, Conchise, Vermin and various other brilliantly named members take on eighty-two other gangs, and survive to tell the tale! If you’re going to be in a gang, you might as well be in the toughest.
8. The Thieves – Ocean's 11 (1960/2001)
Pick your version, it doesn’t matter – I challenge you to find a cast member in either film who is in any way uncool. I don’t need to dwell on Milestone’s 1960 version; it starred the Rat Pack, so what else really needs to be said? Let’s face it, Ol’ Blue Eyes alone is cooler than a penguin's toenails. Stephen Soderbergh did a brave thing remaking the film in 2001, and bucked the trend by making a good remake. He chose his cast well, picking the suavest, funniest and most successful actors in Hollywood, led by the unflappable George Clooney. The thing about the Ocean's films is that the very concept of the story is cool. A group of presentable criminals, casinos, cocktails and cameos (watch out for Lennox Lewis). For a while we forget that stealing is a crime, and cheer on the motley crew as they swindle their way through Las Vegas.
7. The Mean Girls – Mean Girls (2004)
This gang is one for the ladies. Women shouldn’t like the Mean Girls; they’re catty, cruel and and always look good. But would we want to sit at their table? Hell, yes! Regina George is the girl that every girl wants to be, and every guy wants to...well, you know. I include Mean Girls in this list because it is one of the few chick flicks that managed to appeal to both sexes, and showed that the female of the species is indeed more deadly than the male. The accuracy of writer Tina Fey’s characters is frightening, and Lindsay Lohan hits a nerve when she says of Regina: “I could hate her, and at the same time, I still wanted her to like me." The cleverest thing about Mean Girls is that we actually quite like all of them, from cretinous Karen with her weather foretelling breasts, to gossiping Gretchen and her hair full of secrets.
6. The Body Band/The Losers Club – Stand By Me / It (1986/1990)
I put these two together because they are great gangs for the same reason; Stephen King, who has the rare talent of creating characters you wish were your friends. So why are the characters from these films so good? Firstly, because they’re all, to different degrees, losers, even the tragic River Phoenix. More importantly, they’re losers who fight back. In It, the Losers Club fight not only bullies but monsters, and it is their friendship and the strength it gives them which allows them to defeat both. The scene in which the seven children make their pact and wrap their arms around each other in the rain is unforgettably poignant and typical King. I could have chosen almost any King adaptation for ‘coolest gangs’; The Shawshank Redemption, Dreamcatcher, Salem’s Lot. Because that is what King does best; no matter what the characters are going through, you want to be there with them.
5. The Surfers – Point Break (1991)
We’re back to cool criminals again, and really, what’s more cool than surfing? These thieves are the most chillaxed lawbreakers ever. They rob banks, not for the money, but for the buzz they get from doing it. Not only that, but they wear masks of various ex-presidents while they’re doing it. Keanu Reeves (who else) plays an undercover cop who surfs his way into a suspected gang of robbers who double up as a friendly group of surfing chums, led by Patrick Swayze, who’s bizarrely miscast and yet somehow perfect as the slightly unhinged thrill-seeker. The real appeal of this gang is that their occasional stick ups fund them a lifestyle of beer, waves and sunshine, and they don’t really seem to do much else. It’s no wonder Keanu gets caught up in it all. Once again, we viewers find ourselves liking the baddies, and grabbing our JFK masks to join in.
4. The Jets/The Sharks – West Side Story (1961)
The finger-clicking inspiration for the fabulous Cravendale cats, the Sharks and the Jets manage to look badass even while doing pirouettes. Russ Tamblyn and his crew are painfully cool, with their James Dean-esque jacket and jean combos and their quiffs, and George Chakiris is equally brilliant as the leader of the fiery Puerto-Rican Sharks. The high-tension, violent musical was dramatically different from those before it, and the film remains the most critically successful film musical ever, winning an incredible ten Oscars. Perhaps the key reason for the film’s popularity is that we’d love it if everyone started expressing themselves by dancing in the streets. Perhaps it’s the way nobody on either side ever wears the same coloured shirt, ensuring that every dance scene looks like a rainbow has thrown up on screen. Or maybe it’s the secret wish we all have to be part of the gang.
3. The Lucchese Family – Goodfellas (1990)
The mob really shouldn’t be cool, comprising as it does of thieves, murderers and all-around rotters. Unfortunately, it is difficult to watch this group of feared and respected men in sophisticated suits without wanting to pull up a chair and play a game of cards. The lifestyle of a gangster seems infinitely glamorous and thrilling; an intoxicating mix of money, guns and power. The Lucchese Family are picked from the best Hollywood gangsters; Joe Pesci, Ray Liotta, Paul Sorvino, Robert De Niro, and through the character of Henry Hill, we can imagine what it would be like to be friends with the bad guys. What it really comes down to is this: if you’re not with the Lucchese Family, you’re against them, and we all know what it means to go up against Joe ‘you think I’m funny’ Pesci. Perhaps he’s not an ideal choice of friend, but I’d rather he was fighting in my corner.
2. The Hobbits – The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003)
The Hobbits are not cool in the normal sense of the word; none of them are good-looking or rich, they don’t spout clever one-liners, and they don’t attract many women. None of this matters. The Hobbits are cool for the same reasons as the Losers Club; they are tiny people taking on Big Bad Evil. The adventures these mini-men have while they travel up hill and down dale are simply epic, and they take it all in their stride. They get to be mates with extra-cool people like Gandalf and Legolas, go on a tour of New Zealand, and kick Christopher Lee’s arse! Elijah Wood is the most unlikely of world-saviours, and we are even keener to see him succeed because of this. His fellow Hobbits are equally brilliant characters, from Ian Holm as scary-eyed Bilbo to faithful Sam. Don’t we all want a friend like Sam to protect us from Gollums?
1. The Dogs – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
These six men are officially the coolest ever. Had they all survived to be arrested, their mug shots would have looked like a who’s who of cool in the film industry. Let’s face it, in the 90s (and some would argue still today), Quentin Tarantino was the very definition of cool. Can you think of anyone who takes a stomach shot with more style and panache than Tim Roth? Dances and ear slices with more flair and menace than Michael Madsen? Can you imagine anyone you would rather have as your adopted Dad than Harvey Keitel? Can you?! Even ratty little Steve Buscemi as the effeminately-named Mr. Pink is smart enough to hide the diamonds and reap the spoils in the end. The Dogs are the gang that every other Hollywood gang wants to be like. There’s a character for everyone, each directed and acted to perfection. Very, very cool.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
The Corleones – The Godfather (1972) – Just too unhappy.
The Toys – Toy Story (1995)
The Goonies (1985)
The Pirates of the Caribbean (2003)
The Animals – Homeward Bound (1993)
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