All Time Greatest Mafia Movies (Based on Quotes)

Now, not intending to sound too stereotypical but needless to say growing up in an Italian household Mafia/Gangster movies have played a vital role in my upbringing. Not saying that I have been raised based on the values outlined in these movies (although to a small extent yes) but that these movies are the source of many childhood memories and continue to create memories at any family gatherings, events, vacations, or Sunday dinners.

I have seen many lists of what people think the best mafia movies are. Many based solely on opinion, others accuracy, and some good old-fashioned entertainment. To me what makes a good mafia/gangster movie is its quotability. Anyone who really knows what I am talking about, this will hit home with you immediately. These movies make you think of sitting around the dinner table or BBQ grill, drinking beers saying “I’m gonna go get the papers get the papers” or “how do you want your steak done?….medium well huh… an aristocrat”. Some will have no idea at all what I am talking about. That’s ok, if you think of it from an outsiders perspective it may sound weird but whatever. To me though since all of these movies are so iconic it is so difficult to choose which one is the best and which one is the “worst”. So I had to come up with the best category in which to judge these movies and to me that is quotability. Does the movie have a quote or quotes in it that you say just about every day because it applies to a specific situation or it’s just fun to say? Can the quote or quotes be said and everyone will know exactly what you are talking about? How many memorable quotes does the movie have?

1) GoodFellas

To me Goodfellas is the king of movies to quote, because the quotes will just cause a cascade of other quotes from the movie and most likely a two hour conversation about the film. I think the only movie that rivals Goodfellas in its quotability is Forrest Gump, and if this wasn’t a list based strictly on Mafia movies Forrest Gump I think would win. Goodfellas is not only an incredibly written, directed, and acted movie, but just truly an iconic movie. It is incredibly accurate, in its portrayal of mafia life during the latter half of the twentieth century and further more it shows the incredible highs and lows of what it is like to be in a gang. It is based on the true story and life of Henry Hill and I think I can definitively say that it is on the top of everyone’s list not just because of its quotability, but that it is just a really incredible film. The quotes though I think are what make it a truly incredible movie for me, I can think of dozens of times when one friend or one family member makes a joke about another family member or friend to there face, and atleast two people will go “WOOAH!!!!….this is for you, that a boy….good for you spider…don’t take that shit from no one….your gonna let him get away with that wooah what is this world coming to!!” Then it’s just a snowball effect from there. Then people start miming Tommy shooting spider and then people are yelling “that’s what this world is coming too… got a problem with what I did Anthony?” “He’s dead…..I guess I’m a good shot”. “I ain’t digging the fucking hole” “What you think this is the first hole I dug before” “Where are the shovels” I mean just one scene has about seven or eight really memorable quotes and it seems that every scene in the movie has line that you can quote. I can probably write an entire post reviewing Goodfellas and listing the quotes but that is the reason why it is at the top of my list.


2) The Godfather 1&2

I think it is only fair to put these movies together because they really do go together. You can’t watch one without the other and combined they create a list of memorable quotes that make their way into Sunday dinner and family gatherings quite frequently. I don’t think a canoli has been served in my family without someone saying “leave the gun take the canoli. I don’t think a whole fish has been served without someone saying “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes” No one likes to talk about Godfather three although it does have one of the most iconic lines in movie history in it “Once I think I am out, they pull me back in” The Godfather movies are important, to every Italian family and must be watched in its entirety every time it is on. If they are on back to back then clear your day because the channel is not getting changed and yes you will sit through the commercials. The Godfather movies you can sit through 10 times and see something new every time. There are hidden subtleties that Francis Ford Coppola put in just to make it seem more realistic even though it would probably get overlooked. Like Goodfellas I can make an entire post out of the Godfather so I need to move on.

 3) A Bronx Tale

Now this might be considered a controversial pick considering how I high it is on the list. Remember this list is based on quotability and although A Bronx Tale is a very good movie it doesn’t usually make into the top 5 considering all the other contenders out there. To me though there is something about A Bronx Tale, maybe it’s the music but mostly the quotes are what make it so important to me at least. There is something that gives me the chills when Sonny (Chazz Palminteri) closes and locks the door of the bar and says “Now you’s can’t leave”. That line is so iconically badass, I don’t think it has been or can be copied in any other film. I think just about every time I have locked the door behind someone I have said that line even if they have no idea what I am talking about. When someone pisses me off or does something that annoys me I will say “put him in da batroom” Like I said A Bronx Take may not be at the top of many peoples list but when it comes to quotability its one of those movies that you find yourself quoting without even realizing it and then when you remember where it’s from you think “damn..I need to go home and watch A Bronx Tale.’

4) Casino

casino movie cover

Many people say that Casino is basically Goodfellas set in the desert. You might be right if you agree with that. The one thing that is definite about both movies is there quotability. Casino just like Goodfellas has a memorable quote from just about every scene. Like A Bronx Tale, Casino is a movie that you find yourself quoting without even realizing it.

5) Scarface

Now Scarface deviates from the list because it is not an Italian Mafia movie. Still it falls into the category because it is a crime/gangster/mafia/mob movie. Scarface, come on, if you haven’t quoted Scarface for some reason then there is something wrong with you. Scarface hands down is one of the most quotable movies ever. The only reason why its not at the top is because the only real quote that everyone remember is “Say hello to my little friend!!” Even though Scarface is chock full of memorable quotes they are not exactly ones you can insert into regular conversation. They are quotes that all it takes is someone to quote the movie for some random reason and then bang all of them flow out.

6) Pulp Fiction

Like Scarface, Pulp Fiction may deviate from the list because it’s not “Italian Mafia” but it passes the test to make the list and seriously it has some of the most fun quotes to say ever. Anyone who has seen the movie has gone on the internet and looked for a wallet that says “Bad Mother Fucker” on it. Everyone has basically quoted the entire “Bonnie Situation” scene after someone gives you a compliment about your coffee. Everyone has said “Say what again mother fucker,” when you have to repeat something multiple times. Finally everyone has tried to memorize Ezekiel 25:17.

Honorable Mentions: Donnie Brasco, The Departed, Reservoir Dogs, The Untouchables, The Usual Suspects and The Soprano’s. I know the Soprano’s is as show don’t complain or whine. Its an honorable mention because of its quotability and resonance with people who relate to the Soprano family.

All of these movies, even the honorable mentions are family movies. No they are certainly not rated G and I would not show them to someone under the age of fifteen (even though that’s when I started watching them). They are family movies in the sense that they become part of family memories. These movies are iconic and important and to people who really knows what I am talking about. They probably can’t go a day without thinking of something from these movies. Like I said before I guess not many people will quite understand what I am talking about when it comes to these movies, but the people who do get it, really do know what I am talking about and understand how important the quotes from these movies are.


About SalPezzino
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