En 1963, un immigrant clandestin chinois (Donnie Yen) arrive dans la colonie britannique corrompue de Hong Kong. Sous le nom de « Ho l’estropié », il devient petit à petit un puissant baron de la drogue grâce à sa ruse et sa cruauté. Il est aidé dans son ascension par Lee Rock (Andy Lau), un inspecteur de police corrompu, pour affronter les gangs rivaux.
In 1968, Frank Lucas, the limo driver-turned-right-hand man of Harlem gangster Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, inherits Johnson's gang when Johnson dies of a heart attack. Disliking the new, flashy gangsters of the neighborhood, Lucas decides to take control of Harlem's crime scene.
On the occasion of his daughter Connie's wedding, Vito Corleone hears requests in his role as the Godfather, the Don of a New York crime family. Vito's youngest son, Michael, wearing a Marine Corps uniform, introduces his girlfriend, Kay Adams, to his family at the reception. Johnny Fontane, a famous singer and godson to Vito, seeks his help in securing a movie role; Vito dispatches his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to Los Angeles to talk the abrasive studio head, Jack Woltz, into giving Johnny the part. Woltz is unmoved until he wakes up in bed with the severed head of his prized stallion.
"Pumpkin" (Tim Roth) and "Honey Bunny" (Amanda Plummer) are having breakfast in a diner, and discussing their life as robbers. They decide to rob the restaurant after realizing they could make money off the customers as well as the business, as they did during their previous heist. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.
After killing Charles Floyd (Channing Tatum), FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Bale) is promoted by J. Edgar Hoover (Crudup) to lead the hunt for bank robber John Dillinger (Depp). Purvis shares Hoover's belief in using scientific methods to battle crime, ranging from cataloging fingerprints to tapping telephone lines.
Michael Sullivan Sr. (Hanks) is an enforcer for Irish mob boss John Rooney (Newman) in Rock Island, Illinois during the Great Depression. Rooney raised the orphan Sullivan and loves him more than his own biological son, the unstable Connor (Craig). Connor snaps and kills disgruntled associate Finn McGovern when meeting him with Sullivan, resulting in Sullivan gunning down McGovern's men. Sullivan's twelve-year-old son Michael Sullivan, Jr had hidden in his father's car and witnesses the event. Despite Sullivan swearing his son to secrecy and Rooney pressuring Connor to apologize for the reckless action, Connor murders Sullivan's wife Annie and younger son Peter, mistaking him for Sullivan, Jr. He then sends Sullivan to an ambush at a speakeasy but Sullivan realizes and escapes to Chicago with his son to seek Al Capone, for work and to discover the location of Connor, who has gone into hiding.
In West Texas, 1980, Ed Tom Bell laments the increasing violence in a region where, like his father and grandfather before him, he has become sheriff. Anton Chigurh, a hitman, strangles a sheriff's deputy to escape custody and steals a car by using a captive bolt pistol to kill the driver.
In a filthy kitchen of an underground abortionist, an unkempt former medical doctor puts on surgical gloves and quickly downs a full glass of cheap whiskey. Face down on the kitchen table is a barely conscious Porter (Mel Gibson), severely wounded with two large bullet wounds in his back. The doctor pours whiskey on Porter's back to sterilize the area and digs out the bullets. Porter spends five months recuperating. Porter narrates that he had $70,000 taken from him and that is what he was going to get back.
In 1979, as Michael Corleone is approaching 60, he regrets his ruthless rise to power, and is especially guilt-ridden for having his brother, Fredo, murdered. He has semi-retired from the Mafia, leaving the Corleone family's criminal interests under enforcer Joey Zasa's control. Michael uses his tremendous wealth and power in an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation via numerous charitable acts. Michael and Kay divorced in 1960, and Kay was given custody of their children, Anthony and Mary.
In 1973, Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro) is a sports handicapper and Mafia associate who is sent to Las Vegas to run the Teamsters Union-funded Tangiers Casino on behalf of the Chicago Outfit. He hires old friend Billy Sherbert (Don Rickles) as his manager. In between, Ace and his friend, mob enforcer and caporegime Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro (Joe Pesci), narrate how the mob bosses control the Teamsters Union, which gives out money for casinos that they own, such as The Tangiers, and how they also drive off rival crews and get rid of cheaters. Ace becomes the Tangiers' de facto boss by taking advantage of lax gaming laws allowing him to work at the casino while his gaming license is still pending. He doubles the casino's profits, which are skimmed by the Mob before the records are reported to income tax agencies. The bosses are impressed with Ace's work and send Nicky to protect Ace and the whole business, along with Nicky's brother Dominick, Nicky's friend and subordinate Frank Marino (Frank Vincent), and the rest of Nicky's soldiers in his crew. Nicky, however, becomes more of a liability than an asset; his criminal activities- which he makes nearly no effort to conceal- and his violent and vicious temper quickly gets him banned by the gaming board from every casino, and his name is placed in the Black Book. In retaliation, Nicky gathers his own crew, opens a jewelry store and restaurant, begins running unsanctioned shakedowns and burglaries, and soon after is considered the mob boss of Vegas.
Chili Palmer, a loan shark based in Miami, clashes with mobster, Ray "Bones" Barboni over a leather jacket borrowed from Palmer at a restaurant without permission by Mr. Barboni. They have two confrontations, the first of which leaves Barboni with a broken nose. Barboni then wants his boss Jimmy Capp to go after Palmer, but he refuses, as Palmer has done nothing wrong. Barboni took the jacket without permission, and Chili's car keys were in the jacket. Jimmy also tells Bones that Chili works for another mafioso named Momo and Capp has no power over him. But soon after Palmer's boss, Momo, dies of a heart attack, Chili finds himself working for Barboni, whose first order is for Palmer to collect a loan shark debt owed by dry cleaner Leo Devoe. Devoe was believed to have been killed in a commercial airliner crash, but in truth had actually gotten off the plane, and failed to re-board because he was getting drunk in the airport bar. After the plane crash, Devoe's wife identified his personal effects, and the airline quickly offers her an insurance check for $300,000. Faye carelessly gives Leo the insurance money, and he heads out of Miami. When Chili visits Leo's "widow" Faye, she reveals to Palmer that Leo is still alive, has left Miami, and is partying and winning money in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1949 Los Angeles, gangster Mickey Cohen wants to control all organized crime and argues with local mobster Jack Dragna that they should not allow the East coast mafia to run the town. Meanwhile, LAPD Detective Sergeant John "Sarge" O'Mara raids a Cohen-owned brothel to save a woman from being raped, gaining the attention of Police Chief Bill Parker. Parker believes that more drastic measures need to be taken against men like Cohen, and tasks O'Mara to begin waging a guerrilla campaign against the mobsters. He tells O'Mara (a former OSS commando during World War II) to use his special operations training, learned at Camp X during World War II, and to select a small team that will work without badges or official support from the police.
In 1901, Corleone, Sicily, nine-year-old Vito Andolini’s family is killed after his father insults local Mafia chieftain Don Ciccio. He escapes to New York and is registered as "Vito Corleone" on Ellis Island.
In 1975, James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp), leader of the Irish-American Winter Hill Gang, controls almost all of organized crime within South Boston, along with his right-hand man Stephen Flemmi (Rory Cochrane), newcomer Kevin Weeks (Jesse Plemons), and cold and calculative hitman, Johnny Martorano (W. Earl Brown). Bulger's hold over South Boston is challenged by the northern Angiulo Brothers, who head the Boston branch of the New England Mafia family.