The BEST Episodes of Boardwalk Empire

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Network: HBO

Boardwalk Empire is a period drama focusing on Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (based on the historical Enoch L. Johnson), a political figure who rose to prominence and controlled Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the Prohibition period of the 1920s and 1930s. Nucky acts with historical characters in both his personal and political life, including mobsters, politicians, government agents, and the common folk who look up to him. The federal government also takes an interest in the bootlegging and other illegal activities in the area, sending agents to investigate possible mob connections but also looking at Nucky's lifestyle—expensive and lavish for a county political figure. The final season jumps ahead seven years, to 1931, as Prohibition nears its end.

Margate Sands

#1 - Margate Sands

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 2, 2012

A gang war erupts in Atlantic City, with Gyp and nine men of his own and 40 of Joe Masseria's against Nucky, Eli, Capone's Chicago crew, and Chalky's men. Gyp's holed up at Gillian's; Nucky at a lumber yard. It's a war of attrition, with Nucky having to keep Capone and Chalky's men from killing each other while he negotiates with Rothstein by phone. Rothstein runs his own game with Luciano, Lansky, and heroin, Margaret calls on an older couple, and Richard is out there somewhere focused on protecting Tommy.

star 8.29
2,716 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Terence Winter
Two Imposters

#2 - Two Imposters

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired Nov 25, 2012

Gyp makes his move in Atlantic City, forcing Nucky and Eddie to seek refuge with Chalky. With the Artemis Club overrun by Rosetti thugs, Gillian contemplates a business future that includes an unwelcome partner. Luciano makes a deal he’ll come to regret. Harrow loses his house privileges.

star 8.21
2,930 votes
Directors: Allen Coulter
Writers: Howard Korder
Eldorado

#3 - Eldorado

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Oct 26, 2014

Nucky plans to relocate to Manhattan. Margaret impresses Nucky and a grain company stockholder.

star 8.19
1,600 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Howard Korder, Terence Winter
To the Lost

#4 - To the Lost

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 11, 2011

Esther Randolph's case is weakened by the sudden death of one witness and the sudden marriage of another. Jimmy turns away from the influence of others, including his mother. Nucky, acting the family man to Margaret, faces a difficult, bottom-line business decision.

star 8.18
3,129 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Terence Winter
A Return to Normalcy

#5 - A Return to Normalcy

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 5, 2010

Nucky faces Election Day in Atlantic City and pulls out all the stops to keep power in Republican hands. Torrio brokers a discussion between Nucky and Rothstein to resolve their growing gang war, as well as Rothstein's looming federal indictment over the World Series. Both Jimmy and Eli voice their growing resentment towards Nucky, and find they have an ally in the Commodore. Van Alden seeks a sign on whether or not to leave Atlantic City, but receives unexpected news from Lucy. Margaret weighs new information about Nucky's first marriage and her uncertain future to make a final decision on her role in his life.

star 8.11
3,939 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Terence Winter
Gimcrack & Bunkum

#6 - Gimcrack & Bunkum

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 23, 2011

After a dispute with his enemies, Nucky brings in a surprise guest speaker at a Memorial Day dedication for war veterans. Running out of options, Eli questions his allegiances, but it ends up sending him deeper into the hole. Nucky hires a new lawyer. Jimmy is taught a lesson by one of the Commodore's men that he won't soon forget. Richard decides to go hunting in the forest.

star 8.10
3,368 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Howard Korder
White Horse Pike

#7 - White Horse Pike

Season 4 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 10, 2013

Tipped off by Sally Wheet, Nucky enlists Eli and Agent Knox to check out the extra cargo in Florida shipments. Margaret ponders a deal with Rothstein to improve her family’s living conditions. Capone grows suspicious of Torrio; Nucky faces a dilemma; Eli makes peace with Willie.

star 8.10
1,988 votes
Directors: Jake Paltrow
Writers: Dave Flebotte
Farewell Daddy Blues

#8 - Farewell Daddy Blues

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired Nov 24, 2013

Eli braces for the worst as Agent Knox launches his plan to bring Nucky down. Capone and Torrio reach an agreement in Cicero. Chalky looks to settle scores. Richard steps forward to save Tommy, at Gillian's expense.

star 8.09
2,038 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Howard Korder, Terence Winter
Friendless Child

#9 - Friendless Child

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 19, 2014

Nucky tries to hold onto his assets in Atlantic City. Willie and Eli become involved in Nucky's war.

star 8.04
1,559 votes
Directors: Allen Coulter
Writers: Cristine Chambers, Howard Korder, Riccardo DiLoreto
Ourselves Alone

#10 - Ourselves Alone

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 2, 2011

Despite being publicly embarrassed by legal trouble, Nucky's biggest concern may be holding on to his private army in a battle for control of Atlantic City. Meanwhile, Jimmy pitches a business deal to Arnold Rothstein in New York, but may have more in common with Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. Margaret draws on past experience to retrieve some valuable information, Chalky clashes with a fellow inmate, and an Irish nationalist comes to town looking for support.

star 8.02
3,525 votes
Directors: David Petrarca
Writers: Howard Korder
Belle Femme

#11 - Belle Femme

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 14, 2010

Nucky is forced to readjust his political alliances with a Democratic mayoral candidate promising to wipe out corruption. Jimmy returns from Chicago to deal with the D'Alessio gang, which has allied with Rothstein to import European scotch through Atlantic City, but is arrested by Agent Van Alden for the massacre in the woods. Margaret intercedes with Nucky on Madame Jeunet's behalf, while Angela finds her romantic and artistic ambitions halted by Jimmy's return.

star 8.01
4,459 votes
Directors: Brad Anderson
Writers: Steve Kornacki
Georgia Peaches

#12 - Georgia Peaches

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 27, 2011

Undercut by Nucky, who has a new source for alcohol, Jimmy and his partners look to cultivate a new revenue stream in Atlantic City. With the peak tourist season approaching, the Commodore’s crew faces a choice in dealing with the city’s striking workers; either negotiate or fight back. Fearing that sin has led to misfortune, Margaret approaches Father Brennan with an “act of devotion.” Nucky gets a new lawyer. Van Alden faces an uncertain future. Manny Horvitz takes exception to a debt payment.

star 7.97
3,242 votes
Directors: Jeremy Podeswa
Writers: Dave Flebotte
Devil You Know

#13 - Devil You Know

Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 12, 2014

Federal agents enlist the help of Eli and Van Alden to take down the Capone organization.

star 7.96
1,620 votes
Directors: Jeremy Podeswa
Writers: Howard Korder
Blue Bell Boy

#14 - Blue Bell Boy

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 7, 2012

Nucky and Owen hide out. Mickey makes a critical decision in Nucky's absence. Tensions rise in the feud between Capone and O'Banion.

star 7.93
2,717 votes
Directors: Kari Skogland
Writers: David Stenn
The Emerald City

#15 - The Emerald City

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 21, 2010

Nucky asks for Margaret's assistance in backing his mayoral candidate with the passage of women's right to vote, leaving her conflicted about her role. Doyle switches sides back from Rothstein, which leads Nucky to conspire with Chalky against Lansky and the D'Alessios. Angela witnesses Jimmy's violent side against her photographer friend, and considers leaving Atlantic City for good in the aftermath. Van Alden grapples with his emotions, and has encounters with both Margaret and Lucy.

star 7.92
4,417 votes
Writers: Lawrence Konner
A Dangerous Maid

#16 - A Dangerous Maid

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 9, 2011

The Commodore throws his weight around with the Coast Guard to disrupt the delivery of alcohol, which creates an opportunity for Owen to demonstrate his value to Nucky and a struggling casino. Meanwhile, a letter dredges up painful memories for Margaret, Nucky calls in a favor with the U.S. attorney general, Meyer and Lucky learn the price of power, and Lucy searches for ways to cure her loneliness.

star 7.92
3,513 votes
Directors: Susanna White
Writers: Itamar Moses
Boardwalk Empire

#17 - Boardwalk Empire

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 19, 2010

January 1920. On the eve of Prohibition, Atlantic City's Treasurer, Nucky Thompson, condemns alcohol at a Women's Temperance League meeting, where he is noticed by Margaret Schroeder, a pretty, pregnant housewife who comes to him for help in getting her abusive husband Hans a job. Later that evening, the duplicitous Nucky privately tells his ward bosses about the opportunity to make huge profits selling bootleg liquor. At a countdown-to-midnight blast at Babette's Supper Club, he assures Jimmy Darmody, a recently returned WWI vet, that his appointment as "Man Friday" to the new Chief Clerk of the Fourth Ward, Paddy Ryan, will lead to bigger things. Jimmy, meanwhile, has higher aspirations and ends up making an alliance that could have dire consequences for both him and Nucky.

star 7.92
7,507 votes
Directors: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Terrence Winter
Marriage and Hunting

#18 - Marriage and Hunting

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 3, 2013

Nucky refuses to back Chalky in his conflict with Narcisse. Julia considers her options after Gillian makes her custody case in court. In Cicero, Van Alden stands up to Capone and comes clean to O’Banion. Rothstein looks to trade an insurance benefit for a cash infusion.

star 7.91
2,005 votes
Directors: Ed Bianchi
Writers: Cristine Chambers, David Matthews, Jennifer Ames, Steve Turner
Resolution

#19 - Resolution

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 16, 2012

Nucky makes a resolution; Margaret considers a hospital expansion; Gillian builds a new business; Van Alden stumbles onto a confrontation.

star 7.90
2,724 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Terence Winter
Erlkönig

#20 - Erlkönig

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 6, 2013

Nucky heads to Philadelphia to deal with the fallout from Willie’s liquor fiasco. Eddie Kessler is detained by Agent Knox, who uses physical and psychological tactics to elicit information about Nucky’s organization. A desperate Gillian turns to an unexpected source to score a fix, and is rebuffed in her attempt to reunite with Tommy. In Cicero, Van Alden is recruited by the Capones to pay an election-day visit to local factory workers opposed to the Capones’ candidate of choice.

star 7.90
2,265 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Howard Korder
Under God's Power She Flourishes

#21 - Under God's Power She Flourishes

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 4, 2011

With Margaret pondering the consequences of sin, Nucky prepares her for a worst-case scenario as Esther Randolph plays out her trump cards. Jimmy revisits his college days with Angela and Gillian. Mickey Doyle chafes at sharing his liquor profits. Eli refuses to cop a plea. Nelson's past comes back to haunt him, tipping the scale in Nucky's favor.

star 7.89
3,222 votes
Directors: Allen Coulter
Writers: Howard Korder
The Pony

#22 - The Pony

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 4, 2012

Gillian makes her peace with Jimmy's death. Van Alden attends a meeting with Capone and Torrio. Nucky makes an offer to Andrew Mellon. Margaret makes a stand on birth control. Nucky and Owen shop for a pony. Billie considers a future in film.

star 7.89
2,530 votes
Directors: Tim Van Patten
Writers: Howard Korder, Terence Winter
King of Norway

#23 - King of Norway

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 5, 2014

Chalky returns to Atlantic City. Nucky arranges a meeting with Maranzano. Eli reunites with June.

star 7.88
1,629 votes
Directors: Ed Bianchi
Writers: Steve Kornacki
Cuanto

#24 - Cuanto

Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired Sep 28, 2014

Nucky and Margaret find common ground in Atlantic City. Luciano encounters an old adversary.

star 7.86
1,637 votes
Directors: Jake Paltrow
Writers: Cristine Chambers, Howard Korder, Terence Winter
The Milkmaid's Lot

#25 - The Milkmaid's Lot

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired Nov 11, 2012

Nucky vows to eliminate his nemesis. A high-profile bootlegger is arrested. Emily's birthday party is scaled down. Gillian blames Harrow for Tommy's trouble. Gyp decides to buy a town's silence.

star 7.86
2,532 votes
Directors: Ed Bianchi
Writers: Rolin Jones