A noir-style illustration of a man in a fedora looking over his shoulder in a crowded alleyway.

Gangster Quotes: Top 10 Classic Sayings for a Dose of Swagger

Gangster quotes capture the essence of life in the underworld, providing a unique perspective on various aspects such as language, love, city life, success, enemies, family, crime, law, trust, loyalty, friendship, kindness, attitude, and the future. Drawing inspiration from the lives of famous gangsters like John Dillinger, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone, these quotes shed light on the complexities of living a gangster lifestyle.

A dimly lit alleyway, with graffiti-covered walls and a shadowy figure in a fedora, surrounded by a group of tough-looking men, spouting menacing gangster quotes

As you explore these quotes, you will see that even in a world that may seem dark and dangerous, there can still be glimpses of love, loyalty, and friendship. So, let’s dive into the world of gangster quotes and discover the wisdom and reality they offer about life in the criminal underworld.

Understanding Gangster Quotes

Quote List 1 – 25

The world of gangsters and mobsters has given us many memorable quotes and lines that can be found in movies, books, and interviews. In this section, we will explore some of these popular gangster quotes. Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather, once wrote that “great men are not born great, they grow great.” This theme of growth and overcoming obstacles is also expressed in quotes from other infamous gangsters such as Frank Lucas and John Gotti who truly believed they were unstoppable in their pursuit for power, money, and respect.

Remember Katherine Ryan‘s quote, “Forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s about yourself.” This can apply to the world of the mafia, as many hardened criminals have been known to show forgiveness to their rivals.

A courageous and daring attitude is often portrayed in gangster quotes. For example, Al Capone once said, “I don’t even know what street Canada is on.” This exemplifies Capone’s nonchalance and fearlessness in dealing with authorities.

Quote List 26 – 50

Continuing the theme of fearlessness, let’s consider Tony Montana‘s famous quote from the movie Scarface, “Say hello to my little friend.” This line demonstrates Montana’s willingness to confront his enemies head-on, sometimes with disastrous results.

Classic Italian mafia movies often include powerful quotes that resonate with audiences. In The Godfather, Michael Corleone advises his brother with the famous saying, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

When it comes to discussing the rules of the game, mobsters like Lucky Luciano have been known to say, “There’s no such thing as good money or bad money, there’s just money.” The focus is on the pursuit of profit, regardless of the means to achieve it. As Micky Mantle once said, “You can make money without doing evil.”

Quote List 51 – 75

In the world of organized crime, knowing your role is essential. Al Pacino‘s character, Michael Corleone, from The Godfather Part II, famously stated, “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.” This line reminds us that, to mobsters, it’s not about emotions; it’s about maintaining a business and ensuring profitability.

Gangster quotes often address the harsh realities of life. Iconic rapper, Tupac Shakur, expressed his thoughts on the struggle with his quote, “Even though you’re fed up, ya got to keep your head up.”

Living by a certain code is essential in the world of gangsters, like the Italian mafia or even modern-day rappers. Waka Flocka Flame once said, “I live by ‘Go hard or go home.'” This quote embodies the attitude of always putting in your best effort, regardless of the situation.

Quote List 76 – 100

Some gangster quotes offer wisdom and insight. Paul Sorvino‘s character from Goodfellas, Paulie Cicero, shares valuable life advice, “Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.”

Finally, let’s end with a classic, all-encompassing quote from Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando) in The Godfather, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This quote embodies the powerful, persuasive, and sometimes ruthless nature of the world of mobsters.

The Business of Being Gangster

You might wonder what it takes to succeed as a gangster. Well, here are some quotes from famous gangsters that give you a glimpse into their world. Remember, I am providing this information purely for informational purposes and do not endorse or promote any criminal activities.

  1. Money: You can’t be a successful gangster without money, and Al Capone once said, “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.”

  2. Business: Running a criminal empire requires a keen sense of business acumen. Johnny Torrio, mentor to Al Capone, emphasized, “As long as I can buy a judge for less than a lawyer, I’ll always come out on top.”

  3. Lawyer: Having a good lawyer can make a world of difference. As The Godfather character, Michael Corleone, put it, “My father taught me many things here—he taught me in this room. He taught me—keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. You need a good lawyer.”

  4. Power: Power is an essential ingredient in the gangster world. The legendary Lucky Luciano stated, “In this business, you need two things: friends with power and enemies with none.”

  5. Law: Navigating the law is another important aspect of being a gangster. The Godfather’s Vito Corleone understood it well: “A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.”

  6. Italian Influence: Italian-Americans have played a significant role in the world of organized crime. As Lucky Luciano noted, “In America, everything is business.”

  7. Guns: For gangsters, guns are an integral part of exerting control. Tony Montana from Scarface said, “In this business, the first thing you need is a gun. You get the money, you get the power – then you get more guns.”

  8. Mafia: The Mafia has a long history in the criminal underworld. A saying among Italian mobsters is: “Blood makes you related, but loyalty makes you family.”

  9. Balls: Courage plays a significant role in the world of crime, and Tony Montana captured it in a nutshell: “All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don’t break them for no one.”

  10. Profit: Profit is the driving force behind a gangster’s actions. As Michael Corleone rightly said, “Nothing personal, it’s just business.”

These quotes provide a glimpse into the mindset and priorities of successful gangsters throughout history.

Personal Qualities and Relationships

A gangster stands with a confident smirk, surrounded by loyal associates. He gestures with authority while delivering a powerful quote about personal qualities and relationships
  1. The key is not what you have, it’s who you know; make sure your friends are true ones.

    Gangsters value loyalty and trust within their inner circle. Surrounding yourself with genuine friends, rather than people driven by greed or self-interest, is crucial to your success and well-being in this challenging lifestyle.

  2. “I don’t allow rats in my organization, so if you lie to me, we’re done.”

    Deception is not tolerated in the underworld. Maintaining honesty and transparency with your allies can mean the difference between life and death.

  3. “A weak man, no matter what he’s been given, will always find a way to fear and blood.”

    Strength of character is essential for surviving in a treacherous world. As you navigate the challenges ahead, be sure to stay tough and focused.

  4. Love and kindness might seem like weaknesses, but they can also make you stronger than you can imagine.*

    Fierce loyalty to family is a cornerstone of the gangster code. Your devotion to your loved ones can give you the courage and determination to face your enemies head-on.

  5. “In this life, it’s ride or die – choose your path wisely, and stand by your choices no matter the cost.”

    Embrace the risks and challenges of your chosen path with unwavering dedication, and you will find success and satisfaction in the end.

Remember that in the gangster world, personal qualities and relationships are critical for survival and success. Keep this in mind as you navigate this treacherous landscape, and you’ll thrive in even the most challenging situations.

Cultural Impact and Influence

Gangsters have left an indelible mark on popular culture, influencing everything from movies to music. In Hollywood, films like The Godfather and Scarface have immortalized some of the most famous gangster quotes. Let’s explore how these quotes have impacted various aspects of our culture.

  1. Gangster movies: You can’t ignore the influence of The Godfather on American cinema. Its unforgettable lines, such as “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” resonate even today. Similarly, Al Pacino’s portrayal of Tony Montana in Scarface gave us the iconic line, “Say hello to my little friend.” These films have become part of our collective cultural consciousness.

  2. Music and rappers: Gangster rap originated from the experiences of urban life, and many rappers adopt the gangster persona in their music. For them, being a “hustler” is a way of life. Lines such as Tupac Shakur’s “Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real” from his song “Thug Life” portray this mentality.

  3. Mafia stories: The glamour of the mafia world has been a point of fascination for many. Real-life mobsters like Meyer Lansky and Johnny Torrio have contributed to this allure with their influence on the National Crime Syndicate. Their stories and lifestyles have informed various pop culture depictions of the mafia world.

  4. Thug life: This term, coined by Tupac Shakur, represents a lifestyle of resilience and survival against the odds. It has become a symbol of defiance against social inequalities and has, in turn, influenced music, fashion, and other cultural industries. Many modern artists continue to embrace the “thug life” mentality in their works.

Remember, these cultural phenomena remind us of the fascinating and at times frightening influence of gangsters and their quotes on our daily lives.

Notable Gangster Figures and Characters

Below are some quotes from both real-life gangsters and famous on-screen mob characters that might have caught your attention.

  1. Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather, gave us one of the most famous quotes in the world of crime: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” a line spoken by the powerful fictional mobster, Vito Corleone1.

  2. Lucky Luciano, a real-life Italian-American mobster, once said: “There’s no such thing as good money or bad money. There’s just money.”2

  3. One of the most famous portrayals of a gangster in film history comes from Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface with the infamous line: “Say hello to my little friend!”3

  4. The notorious Al Capone once stated: “You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun.”4

  5. Turning to the world of television, James Gandolfini played the unforgettable Tony Soprano on The Sopranos and delivered many memorable lines, including: “All due respect, you got no idea what it’s like to be No. 1.”5

Remember, these are just a few examples of powerful quotes from some of the most prominent figures and characters in the world of organized crime. Whether they’re a product of real-life or fictional storytelling, these quotes have left an indelible mark on pop culture.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Godfather

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Luciano

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarface_(1983_film)

  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Capone

  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Soprano

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