Following 'Godfather,' Top 10 Mob Bosses of Film, TV


The film ended with a bodyguard closing Michael Corleone’s office door (to shut out the boss’s prying wife) – but "The Godfather" opened a window to a whole new kind of gangster on the big and small screen.
Clockwise from top left: James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano; Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface'; Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero in 'Goodfellas'; and Jack Nicholson as Francis Costello in 'The Departed.'
Clockwise from top left: James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano; Al Pacino as Tony Montana in 'Scarface'; Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero in 'Goodfellas'; and Jack Nicholson as Francis Costello in 'The Departed.'

Like a genealogy search on, you can link Michael to his successors over the next 40 years – a line that leads directly to Tony Soprano, another mobster who followed in his father’s bloody footsteps.

Since 2007, when Tony suddenly went to black while sitting in a booth at Holsten’s in Bloomfield, there have surely been other memorable bad guys on TV and in movies. There have also been mob-related reality shows, like "Growing Up Gotti" and now "Mob Wives." And in the works is a big-screen biopic called "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father," in which John Travolta will play Teflon Don John Gotti.

But Tony Soprano arguably remains the last big mobster protagonist we’ve seen to date, and so, he’ll end our list of 10 onscreen mob bosses who owe a debt to Michael Corleone and "The Godfather."

10. Tony Montana, "Scarface" (1983): In this ultra-violent remake of a 1932 film that starred Paul Muni, Al Pacino – the man who brought Michael Corleone to life – played Montana, a Cuban convict who immigrated to Miami and worked his way up to be drug kingpin.

9. Don Corrado Prizzi, "Prizzi’s Honor" (1985): The late William Hickey got an Oscar nomination for his Prizzi, a greedy, sinister, seemingly kindly old man who could sanction a hit one minute and offer someone a cookie the next.

8. Sonny Steelgrave, "Wiseguy" (1987-1990): Ken Wahl, as undercover agent Vinnie Terranova, was the star of this TV series, but the late Ray Sharkey made an indelible impression as the bad guy in the show’s first story arc: Steelgrave, the Atlantic City mob boss whose hotel and casino were a front for his illegal activities.

7. Carmine Sabatini, "The Freshman" (1990): Marlon Brando poked fun at his "Godfather" character, Don Vito Corleone, in this comedy, playing Sabatini, a prominent New York importer with questionable connections.

6. Paul "Paulie" Cicero, "Goodfellas" (1990): In this film adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s non-fiction book "Wiseguy," Cicero, played by Paul Sorvino, was based on Paul Vario, a caporegime of a crew in the Lucchese crime family. His longtime associate, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), testified against him and the family in 1980.

5. Benjamin Ruggiero, "Donnie Brasco" (1997): In real life, Ruggiero, played by Pacino, was not a boss. But in this big-screen docudrama, Pacino’s character was partly based on real caporegime Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, who got summoned to what he knew would be his execution for allowing undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone (alias Donnie Brasco) to infiltrate the crime family. The real Ruggiero actually died of lung cancer in 1994. ...

Read full article with the rest of the screen's top 10 Mob Bosses:  ‘Godfather’ christened a new kind of gangster -


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