Top 20 mafia bosses of all time: Biggest crime families in the world 2021

Top 20 mafia bosses of all time: Biggest crime families in the world 2021

The world of crime is a chilly habitat for its members, allies, and outsiders, who are usually the victims of criminal activities. Various crime lords have come and gone, but their businesses continue to exist under the control of their protégés. However, a quick look at the top 20 mafia bosses of all time will give an insight into the crude authorities that criminals exude within society.

Top 20 mafia bosses
John Gotti. Photo: Yvonne Hemsey
Source: Getty Images

There are levels to operating a criminal gang, from pickpocketing to the larger ones that may engage in murders to cover their tracks or send a message to an opposition. Some of the top 20 mafia bosses of all time are the brains behind several criminal crises. Murder, drug trafficking, card fraud, illegal gambling, and any other deviously profitable ventures you can think of are their forte.

Who were the biggest mafia bosses?

The Italians are famous for their formation of organised crime syndicates. They succeeded in expanding their dangerous businesses across countries, including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Below is a list of some of the biggest mob bosses across history.

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1. Al Capone

Top 20 mafia bosses
Al Capone. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Who was the most feared mafia boss? Al Capone is a mafia boss renowned for his viciousness when dealing with the enemies of his illegal businesses. He was the biggest Chicago crime lord between 1925 and 1931. He ran a thriving bootlegging business until he was nabbed for evading tax in 1931 and sentenced to prison. A heart attack ended his life of crime in 1947.

2. Bugsy Siegel

Top 20 mafia bosses
Bugsy Siegel. Photo: Bettmann Archive
Source: Getty Images

His real name is Benjamin Siegel, but the unpredictability of his temperance earned him "Bugsy." He was the Marshall of illegal gambling, and the system he put in place continues to run to date. Rival mafia bosses murdered him.

3. Lucky Luciano

Top 20 mafia bosses
Lucky Luciano. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Luciano had a chronic love for the life of crime and became the first boss of a criminal gang known as the Genovese crime family today. He is involved in many peoples' deaths. A heart attack in 1962 put him to an everlasting rest.

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4. John Gotti

Top 20 mafia bosses
John Gotti. Photo: Yvonne Hemsey
Source: Getty Images

Not all criminals look scary, and "Dapper Don," as he is fondly called, proved this with his lovely and expensive suits. He controlled a mafia mob called the Gambino crime family until his second-in-command betrayed him by working with the FBI.

5. Tony Accardo

Top 20 mafia bosses
Tony Accardo. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Anthony plunged into a life of crime as a bodyguard for Al Capone, nicknamed him Joe Batters. Accardo began his criminal career as a bodyguard for Capone and ended it as a mob boss. Eventually, he rose to become one of America's top 5 mafia bosses.

6. Vito Genovese

Top 20 mafia bosses
Vito Genovese. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

He had a long list of criminal charges against him. Don Vito, as nicknamed, killed an associate and married the man’s widow, a woman he openly coveted, two weeks later in the early spring of 1932. Later, he was convicted in 1959 and sentenced to 15 years in federal prison before dying of a heart attack in 1969.

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7. Frank Costello

Top 20 mafia bosses
Frank Costello. Photo: @everythinggangster
Source: Instagram

Costello was almost the most powerful gangster in the world during a life of active crime. The Prime Minister was always scheming to take over other mafias' business or running from the legal system. He was considered a top Mafia boss and commanded respect from Mob capos, who sought advice from him before his death in 1973.

8. Vincent Louis Gigante

Top 20 mafia bosses
Vincent Louis Gigante. Photo: New York Daily News
Source: Getty Images

He was known as the Odd Father because he pretended to be mentally ill while running one of the most notoriously organised criminal syndicates. He died in prison at the age of 77 while serving a 12-year sentence imposed in 1997 after his conviction with racketeer and conspiracy in killing other mobsters.

9. Sam Giancana

Top 20 mafia bosses
Sam Giancana. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Sam's expulsion from elementary school at the age of 10 was nothing compared with what he would become later on. He is allegedly connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Before his appearance before Church's committee on the 19th of June, 1975, Sam Giancana was murdered in his home.

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10. Paul Castellano

Top 20 mafia bosses
Paul Castellano. Photo: Mel Finkelstein
Source: Getty Images

Big Paul was the head of the Gambino crime family until John Gotti orchestrated his murder in 1985 in a violent power tussle. Before his death, he constantly expressed regret for his criminal life. Sharing his regrets at some point, he said:

I probably did more damage than I did good. I probably did, and that’s a fact. At that time, I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. All I knew is, I was making big dollars.

11. Frank Lucas

Top 20 mafia bosses
Frank Lucas. Photo: David Howells
Source: Getty Images

Lucas made at least $1 million every day from selling drugs from his New York base in his prime. He died at the age of 88. In his lifetime, he developed a direct pipeline from the so-called Golden Triangle area of southeast Asia, which he used to acquire large amounts of heroine.

12. Bernardo Provenzano

Top 20 mafia bosses
Bernardo Provenzano. Photo: Franco Lannino
Source: Getty Images

Bernardo was nicknamed The Tractor because of the ruthless way he mowed people down. He was one of the most prominent Italian mafia bosses, and he died in a hospital while serving his jail time. Before his death, Provenzano reportedly had bladder cancer and a severe cognitive impairment.

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13. Roy DeMeo

DeMeo was a notorious hitman for the Gambino family and was associated with over 200 Gemini-styled murders. In addition, he oversaw a group referred to as the "DeMeo crew," which became infamous for the massive murders they committed and for the gruesome way they disposed of the bodies.

14. Giovanni Brusca

Top 20 mafia bosses
Policemen escorting Italian mafioso Giovanni Brusca who has just been arrested. Photo: Enzo Brai
Source: Getty Images

The "People Slayer" recently got out of prison after serving about 25 years in prison. However, he never forgave betrayal and does not mind killing kids to avenge perceived wrongdoing. After he was arrested in 1996, he became a state witness to reduce his sentence and assisted investigators in tracking down the mafia mobsters responsible for Mafia attacks in the 1980s and 1990s.

15. Richard Kuklinski

Top 20 mafia bosses
Richard Kuklinski. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Kuklinski had his first kill at the age of 13 after beating his bully to death. After that, he worked as an executioner for the Gambino crime family for years. When he became older, he shot, stabbed, and bludgeon men to death. Richard could dump the bodies he kills in the Hudson River or leaves them where they died. Eventually, he died on the 5th of March, 2006, although his death was labelled suspicious because he was supposed to testify against a mobster on trial for murder.

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16. James Burke

Top 20 mafia bosses
James Burke. Photo: @themafiablog
Source: Instagram

He was popularly known as Jimmy the Gent because he loved looking nice. He was indicted in the $5.8 million Lufthansa heist of 1968. In 1982, James was arrested on a parole violation but never saw the outside of prison again.

17. Matteo Messina Dena

"Diabolik" once boasted that a cemetery could be filled with the body of his victim. He is about the most dangerous mafia alive. So, where is Matteo Messina Denaro today? No one can say where he is now or what he is up to, but then, authorities believe that he lives near his hometown in the province of Trapani.

18. Arthur Simon Flegenheimer

Top 20 mafia bosses
Arthur Simon Flegenheimer. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

Dutch Schultz was a prominent bootlegger between 1920 and 1933. He also made money from illegal horse betting, among other equally illegal activities. The mafioso was shot dead in 1935. Before he died, he reportedly had become a believing Catholic during his trial. Consequently, he got a Catholic funeral, though his mother arranged for him to be buried in a tallit.

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19. Carlo Don Carlo Gambino

Top 20 mafia bosses
Carlo Don Carlo Gambino. Photo: Jack Manning
Source: Getty Images

Who is the most powerful mafia boss? Don Carlo was the answer to this question during his active life of crime. He always had a sweet smile for his friends and enemies alike. The criminal godfather is renowned for his criminal ingeniousness. He rose from being a mere teenage executioner in Italy to the mafia boss of the Gambino crime family.

20. Vito Rizzuto

Top 20 mafia bosses
Vito Rizzuto. Photo: @AFP
Source: Getty Images

This criminal carried himself like royalty while he was alive. Vito described himself as a mediator during an interview. This was a half-truth, and the other half was entrenched in a life of blood, violence, killings, drug trafficking and illegal betting. He was The Godfather of Canada's underworld and occupied this position with an almost enviable dexterity.

Who are the 5 mafia bosses today?

The bosses of the five families, an American criminal organisation, fits this description. Their names and the criminal families they control are given below:

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  • Michael Mancuso - Bonanno family
  • Alphonse Persico - Colombo family
  • Domenico Cephalù - Gambino family
  • Liborio Salvatore Bellomo - Genovese family
  • Victor Amuso - Lucchese family

Now that you know the top 20 bosses of all time, what do you think of their activities? Is money the root of all evil or a human's instinct to dominate? One thing is for sure: a life of crime is a life on the run against conscience and the government's justice system.

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But then, are you well acquainted with the top prisons in the world in terms of security and toughness? Check out the post to learn more.

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