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.
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.
In The Sopranos and The Godfather, Part II, a murder attempt is thwarted by a stroke. In The Sopranos, Tony plans to pay Livia back for an attempt on his life, but her stroke makes this impossible. In The Godfather, Part II, Hyman Roth is able to live a bit longer thanks to his stroke. The most interesting bit? Hyman Roth's right-hand-man, Johnny Ola, was played by the same actor who would later play Livia's co-conspirator in the attempt on Tony's Life, Dominic Chianese, known to Sopranos fans as Uncle Junior.
When Don Hauser, Meadow's high school soccer coach, reveals in Episode 1 Season 9 that he took a job in Rhode Island, he defends his decision by saying, "What could I do? They made me an offer I couldn't refuse." This is a pointed reference to one of the most famous scenes in The Godfather, and, arguably, one of the most famous lines in film history. The offer might not have been the only reason Hauser took the job. His relationship with Tony and friends was strained, and culminated in Christopher stealing the Hauser family's Golden Retriever.
A common motif on The Sopranos is Tony walking down his driveway in his bathrobe. While the atmosphere is quite different, the everyday chore references the final scene of Goodfellas, in which Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) does the same, showing off his reformed, dull, suburbanite lifestyle. Tony's appropriation of this monotonous, banal routine may point to the fact that the show takes place long after the golden age of organized crime.