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Celluloid Gangsters

Hollywood has enjoyed a long love affair with the Mob, and many actors, from Edward G. Robinson to Al Pacino, have cemented their reputations by portraying gangsters. Here are some of our favorites.
Shandana A. Durrani
From the Print Edition:
Francis Ford Coppola, Sept/Oct 03

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos"
Gandolfini portrays the complex, neurotic, womanizing and ruthless Tony Soprano in the operatic HBO series. The New Jersey crime boss has had numerous bloody battles with his late mother, uncle and nephew as well as with his somewhat dubious associates. But the misunderstood Soprano sincerely tries to do right by both of his families, which often results in tragedy.

 

Joe Pesci as Tommy De Vito in Goodfellas (1990)
Pesci's De Vito is utterly amoral and violent to a fault as he and fellow gangster Robert De Niro and new recruit Ray Liotta turn from petty crime to murder in order to rise up in the Mafia food chain. Based on a true story, Martin Scorsese's masterpiece is sometimes funny, often violent but always gripping. Pesci won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

 

Robert De Niro as Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987)
While not exactly a dead ringer for Capone, De Niro nevertheless makes viewers thoroughly believe he is the notorious capo in Brian De Palma's Oscar-winning film. De Niro relishes every moment on-screen as he thwarts Treasury agent Elliot Ness's (Kevin Costner's) attempts to bring him to justice in Prohibition-era Chicago.


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