The 15 Best Portrayals of Real-Life Gangsters in Movies

5. Vincent Cassel as Jacques Mesrine, Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008) and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2008)

If not for director Jean-Francois Richet's pair of excellent Mesrine movies back in 2008, stateside true crime buffs might still be unaware of Jacques Mesrine's story, and that'd be, well, criminal. Regarded as France's most notorious criminal, "The Man of a Hundred Faces" (as he was called due to his penchant for disguises) lived for the spotlight, using the aforementioned get-ups to move about in broad daylight even though he was a wanted criminal. Not to mention, the fame-lover always kept a hot chick by his side whenever he wasn't robbing banks, busting guns, or kidnapping people.

When it comes to French actors, very few are better than Vincent Cassel, so give Richet a hand for casting the country's premier thespian as Mesrine. In both Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy #1, Cassel dominates every single frame, chewing through scenery and seemingly having the time of his life playing Mesrine with a cocksure swagger that's frequently offset by explosive violence. He's always threatening but never unappealing, strutting around like he runs the world but can also destroy it whenever he sees fit.

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