What up y’all. I just saw the trailer for the new Brad Pitt flick “Killing Them Softly”, and it looks dope. Like most guys my age, I like gangster flicks, and it’s been a while since there was a good one. I’m not talking that hood movie/Tony Montana/crooked cop type of flick. I’m talking real La Cosa Nostra, five families, whacking, moulinyan, IROC-Z driving, sweat suit wearing, cool nickname having Eye-Talians. These movies all usually have good stories, and LOTS of cussin’ and violence. They’re the anti-Notebook. But at their core they’re character driven dramas. These movies are nothing without the mobsters. It is in the spirit of these wiseguys I present the Top 10 mobsters of TV and cinema.
10. Little Junior Brown (Nicolas Cage) – Kiss Of Death: Balls, Attitude, Determination. Little Junior Brown, son of local mobster/strip club owner Big Junior Brown was legit. He was low level in the big scheme of thing but a local #2 behind his old man who eventually passes away. The scene where he “cleans out his own back lawn” with a baseball bat to Mike Rappaport’s skull get his on this list.
9. Old Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) – The Godfather: Lower on this list than people would expect. He was a great decision maker who didn’t have to get his hands dirty later in life. He earned that. One of the most imitated/quoted wiseguys of all time.
8. Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) – The Sopranos: The former muscle for Tony Soprano’s old man ended up being a great Underboss for the kid. Holding the honor for the most bodies on The Sopranos, he definitely deserves a place on this list. He’s also one of the funniest fictional gangsters ever.
7. Sonny LoSpecchio (Chazz Palminteri) – A Bronx Tale: With his signature hand gesture, and a smile, Sonny makes the top ten because he was a boss that wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Hey, he catches a body on the first 10 min of the movie. Anybody remember the biker gang fight? Sonny was also smart; he picked a good guy in C and was smart enough to pass along some good knowledge. Sonny was a gangster’s gangster.
6. Sonny Corelone (James Cann) – The Godfather: The most hotheaded of Vito Corelone’s kids, Sonny took over after the attempt on The Don’s life. Always one for the broads, speaking out of turn and a fight he proved to be a bit much for the roll of Don. He declares war and pays his toll in the end (see what I did there). An American classic.
5. Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) – The Godfather: This guy fit in perfect with “this thing”. He was the consummate soldier. This Corleone enforcer stuck to the gangster handbook. He was one of the best killers ever in the mob, didn’t use help and got it done. But, alas, he now sleeps with the fishes.
4. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) – The Godfather: Soldier boy turned gangster that says it all. They tried to kill his old man, which turned his heart cold. He wasn’t having it, he was willing to kill a cop over that, and he did. Then they killed his brother Sonny, all bets were off then. You got to see the creation of an American gangster. Cunning, cool, and vicious all at the same time, he had it all. We will choose to forget Godfather III; they kept pulling him back in.
3. Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) – The Sopranos: He rose from soldier to Boss by the end of the series. He ran the crew as underboss for a long time when Uncle Junior was sick. He was another pretty smart guy that had a problem with the broads but made things work with his wife Carmela. The Father of two, from a broken home, ended up being one of the most powerful wiseguy in New Jersey. He was the most human of all the bosses to me, with his therapy and panic attacks, showing his actual affairs, and his interactions with his wife and kids. Tony was a real boss until they faded to black.
2. Al Capone, Young Vito Corleone, and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) – The Untouchables, The Godfather, and Goodfellas: There are so many roles here I don’t know if I wanted the characters here or the actual guy. As Capone, the scene where he announced he wanted that Nancy-boy Eliot Ness dead and his family to boot, is classic. Seeing the rise of a young Vito Corleone made him so much more of a gangster in retrospect. The Lufthansa heist is on of the most historic jack moves of all time, Jimmy Conway HAD to be on here. The faces, the quotes, the ruthless aggression Bob De Niro displayed made o lot of these movies he was in. Who doesn’t love a good De Niro flick.
And the number one Mafioso of TV and Cinema is…
- Tommy DeVito, Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) – Goodfellas, Casino: The ultimate in Napoleon complex, short tempers, womanizing, and violent anger management issues. This is that dude if you wanna kill a guy in an argument over shining shoes. Pistol whipping expert, gunman, and expert joke teller. But, do yourself a favor, don’t keep you girl ‘round this guy, she won’t come back how you left her. The way this guy strung together profanity was masterful. What is a gangster movie without Joe Pecsi? Lacking, that’s what it is.
So there you have it, the top ten TV/movie Mafiosos. A killer list, I must say…sorry. Anyway sorry I was late on the top ten Tuesday. I’ll try and do better. It a beautiful day, and it’s gonna be a party this weekend. Be sure to follow me on twitter and instagram (@illfam79 on both). Don’t forget to start rooting for my Cowboys as they start their push for the playoffs, if you’re not down with that…Your Opinion is Wrong. Peace