Since the very beginning of the movie theatre, Hollywood has always held a strange fascination with gangsters and mobsters, glamorizing their sometimes gruesome stories upon the big silver screen, turning them into fearsome legends. Tall, commanding-looking Italian-American actor Paul Sorvino narrates this excellent feature and with exclusive clips from 'mob movie' blockbusters such as reservoir Dogs, Scarface, Goodfella and Casino and interviews with James Caan and Chazz Palminteri, takes us on a sometimes brutal journey through gangster cinema. We also have an authentic and unprecedented insight into the real mob world with an exclusive interview with ex-Mafia 'soldier' turned state witness Henry Hill, whose story of ultimate betrayal is mirrored in Martin Scorsese's brilliant movie 'Goodfellas'. A real case of art imitating life; "That was us up on the screen".
Paul Sorvino Tall, commanding-looking, Italian-American actor Paul Sorvino has made a solid career of portraying authority figures (on both sides of the law). Appeared in his first film 'Where's Poppa?'. He appeared in a variety of film, TV and theatrical productions and received critical praise for his role in the Broadway play 'That Championship Season', a role he reprised in the 1981 film alongside Robert Mitchum and Martin Sheen. Other noteworthy performances during the 1980/'90s included a stressed-out police chief in 'Cruising', Mike Hammer's cop buddy in 'I, the Jury', and in the standout performance as mob patriarch Paul Cicero in the powerhouse 'Goodfellas'.
James Caan He made his screen debut as a sailor in 'Irma la Douce' and began to impress audiences with his work in 'Red Line 7000' and the western 'El Dorado' alongside John Wayne and Robert Mitchum. Further work followed in 'Journey to Shiloh' and in the sensitive 'The Rain People'. Cast as the hot-tempered gangster Santino 'Sonny' Corleone in the Mafia epic 'The Godfather', Caan scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
Chazz Palminteri New York-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the Italianate torch in film. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cazale and Joe Pesci, Palminteri brought grit, muscle and an evocative realism to the sidewalks of his New York neighbourhood. Slick attorneys, tough hoods and hard-nosed cops were all part of his 'tough guy' persona in such TV shows as, 'Wiseguy' (1987), 'Matlock' (1986) and 'Hill Street Blues'.
Joe Pesci The compact Italian-American actor first broke into entertainment as a child actor and by the mid-50s was starring in the series 'Star Time Kids'. His work in the film 'The Death Collector' was seen by Robert De Niro, who convinced director Martin Scorsese to cast him as 'Joey LaMotta' in the epic boxing film 'Raging Bull' which really got him noticed in Hollywood. Pesci nearly stole the show as con man Leo Getz in 'Lethal Weapon' 2, 3 and 4 and scored a Best Supporting Actor Oscar playing the psychotic Tommy DeVito in 'Goodfellas'. He starred in 'My Cousin Vinnie' before he was lured back by Scorsese to play another deranged gangster named Nicky (based on real-life hood Tony Spilotro) in the violent 'Casino'.