film 12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed  

Jonathan Sherman
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List Rules Vote up the references you totally missed, but now won't be able to unsee.

Unless you've been living under a rock (or up in Alaska with Viggo Mortensen), there's a good chance you know The Sopranos is widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, television shows of all time. Along with The Wire, it helped usher in the second Golden Age of Television. With all the hype around the show and gripping drama in the show, you may have missed all the fantastic mob movie references on The Sopranos.

Given the relatively straight-faced nature of The Sopranos, chances are you don't watch the show with a mind to referential moments. Tarantino it ain't. Yet gangster movie references on The Sopranos abound, many of them offering sneaky homage to the beloved gangster films that inspired creator David Chase. Gangster movies and The Sopranos have a reciprocal relationship; much as the classics influenced the show, the show has influenced a new generation of filmmakers (and show runners, obviously). 

Vote up The Sopranos references to gangster films that make you want to leave the gun and take the cannoli, and include anything you feel was unjustly left out in the comments section below. 


Paulie Gualtieri is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed
Photo: HBO/HBOGO

In the first season of The Sopranos, Paulie Gualtieri honks his car horn to get Salvatore ‘Big P*ssy’ Bonpensiero’s attention. Fans of The Godfather trilogy may have recognized the sound Paulie’s horn made as the theme song of the series, “Speak Softly, Love.” The score of the first film was nominated for an Academy Award, but later disqualified because a comedic version of the song had been used in a previous film. The score for the second film was nominated for, and won, the Oscar for Best Score, despite containing the same piece.

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Tony's Orange Juice And All Those Oranges In The Godfather


Tony's Orange Juice And Al... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed
Photo: HBO/HBOGO

Before a nearly deadly attempt on Tony’s life in Season 1 Episode 12 of The Sopranos, he goes to a street market and buys a bottle of Tropicana orange juice. This is an updated reference to the orange motif in The Godfather trilogy. Oranges are prevalent throughout the trilogy, and always portend violence, doom, or danger. Remember when Vito Corleone is assassinated holding a basket of oranges? Or when we first meet Sal, who betrays Michael, holding an orange? That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

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The Show Shares Actors With Many Of Its Influences


The Show Shares Actors With Ma... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed
Photo: HBO/HBOGO

The Sopranos paid respect to its roots in gangster movies by casting many of the same actors as the films that inspired the show's creative minds. From Lorraine Bracco to Michael Imperioli and Frank Albanese, the show boasts a total of nine actors who were also in Goodfellas. Many actors from The Godfather trilogy also appeared on the show. While crossover of some actors is to be expected, considering the subject matter and supply of Italian-American actors in Hollywood, this was surely no accident.

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The Shoe Is On The Other Foot For Michael Imperioli, Of Both The Sopranos And Goodfellas


The Shoe Is On The Other Foot ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 12 Gangster Movie Homages On The Sopranos Most People Totally Missed
Photo:  Warner Bros.

In Goodfellas, Michael Imperioli plays Spider, a server who accidentally ignores, then later talks back to Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and gets shot on two separate occasions for it. Before shooting, Tommy asks, "What, do you got me on a f*ckin' pay-no-mind list, kid?" 

In Season 1 Episode 8 of The Sopranos, Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) is on the other end of the gun, shooting a bakery clerk in the foot for skipping his number in line. Before Christopher pulls the trigger, he asks, "What is it? What is it, do I look like a p*ssy to you?"