Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Love The Sopranos? Then watch these 5 great mob shows and movies

A family gathers in The Sopranos.
Courtesy of HBO / HBO

The Sopranos was not the first TV series to explore the mob, but it did break new ground by keeping the perspective solely on Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his crime family, as well as his actual family, rather than splitting the focus with law enforcement. It also allowed an antihero like Tony to be the main character in his own story, which has now become common in TV series. For its time, The Sopranos was truly innovative and remains one of the best shows in TV history.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos, we’re taking a look at five mob shows and movies you should watch if you loved Tony Soprano’s story. Our two movie choices clearly inspired The Sopranos, while The Sopranos inspired two other shows. Our fifth pick is an underrated TV series from the ’80s that predates The Sopranos by over a decade with its own morally ambiguous storylines.

The Godfather (1972)

Marlon Brando stars in The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Paramount / Paramount

Yes, The Godfather is the obvious choice for this list. But in many ways, it’s also the only choice that had to be here. The Sopranos not only constantly drops references to The Godfather, Tony Soprano and his gang absolutely love the film. Francis Ford Coppola has directed some great movies in his career, but none that were greater than this one. (Although The Godfather Part II fans may disagree.)

The original film is a decade-spanning crime saga featuring Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, the head of the Corleone crime family. Al Pacino plays Vito’s youngest son, Michael Corleone, who is not a part of the family business. But when Vito is nearly assassinated by his rivals, Michael has to set aside his moral qualms and sit at the head of the table for the Corleone family. And Michael may prove to be even more ruthless than his father.

Watch The Godfather on Paramount+.

Goodfellas (1990)

The cast of Goodfellas.
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Godfather Part II star Robert De Niro was one of the main cast members of Martin Scorsese’s best crime movie, Goodfellas. The late Ray Liotta starred as Henry Hill, a real gangster who worked his way up through the Italian mob for decades before eventually sharing his story with the world. De Niro played one of Henry’s closest friends, James “Jimmy” Conway, while Joe Pesci played their mutual friend, Tommy DeVito.

Goodfellas also has a Sopranos connection through Lorraine Bracco, who played Henry’s wife, Karen Hill, before portraying Dr. Melfi opposite Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. But this movie belongs to Liotta’s character more than anyone else, as Henry unrepentantly walks the audience through the important choices that defined him.

Goodfellas is available to rent or buy on Prime Video and other outlets.

Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)

Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire.

Steve Buscemi only had a single season as a major character on The Sopranos, but he eventually had his own mob epic in Boardwalk Empire. Former Sopranos executive producer Terence Winter created the show, and Scorsese helmed the pilot episode, establishing Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, an Atlantic County politician with deep ties to organized crime during the Prohibition era.

Several historical gangsters, including Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Al Capone (Stephen Graham), had large roles in this show. Michael Shannon also stars as Nelson Van Alden, a Bureau of Prohibition agent obsessed with taking down Nucky to the point where he completely self-destructs and falls from grace. And that was just the beginning of Van Alden’s story! Boardwalk Empire never reached the heights of The Sopranos‘ popularity, but it deserves all of the acclaim that it gets.

Watch Boardwalk Empire on Max.

Magic City (2012-2013)

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Olga Kurylenko in Magic City.

Before he started hanging out among The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan headlined Starz’s mob drama, Magic City. Morgan portrays Isaac “Ike” Evans, the owner of a Miami resort hotel called the Miramar Playa. In 1958, Evans is so desperate to make sure that his hotel survives that he makes a devil’s bargain with Benjamin “Ben The Butcher” Diamond (Danny Huston), a Jewish-American mob boss who becomes Ike’s silent partner.

Making that alliance was risky enough for the Evans family. Unfortunately for Ike, his oldest son, Steven Evans (Steven Strait), is having an affair with Diamond’s wife, Lily Diamond (Jessica Marais). And that’s just playing with fire.

Watch Magic City on Peacock.

Wiseguy (1987-90)

The cast of Wiseguy.

Wiseguy was truly ahead of its time, both in terms of its subject matter and the show’s moral ambiguity. This was also one of the first primetime dramas to fully embrace the serialized storytelling that has become an industry norm. Ken Wahl starred in the first two seasons as Vinnie Terranova, an FBI agent who went deep undercover in the Atlantic City mafia.

During his first extended assignment on the show, Vinnie befriended Sonny Steelgrave (Ray Sharkey) before he took over his crime family and elevated Vinnie to be his No. 2. Vinnie felt conflicted about betraying that friendship for his investigation. Once Vinnie was finished with the Steelgrave crime family, his reputation as a mobster allowed the FBI to use his cover to infiltrate other criminal organizations. Vinne’s skills may have been a boon for law enforcement officials, but they played havoc with his personal life.

Watch Wiseguy on Peacock.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
St. Louis City vs Real Salt Lake live stream: Can you watch for free?
A soccer goal net with the rest of the pitch in front.

Looking to follow up on last year's explosive entrance into MLS, St. Louis City SC begin their 2024 season with a home fixture against Real Salt Lake.

St. Louis vs RSL starts in about an hour, at 8:30 p.m. ET, and if you live in the United States or Canada, the only way to watch is on MLS Season Pass through Apple TV. Here's everything you need to know.
Watch St. Louis vs Real Salt Lake on MLS Season Pass

Read more
Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks live stream: how to watch the NBA online
Jalen Brunson dribbles the ball for the New York Knicks.

The second half of the NBA season is underway. The rivalry between Boston and New York heats up on Saturday night when the Celtics take on the Knicks inside Madison Square Garden. The Celtics and Knicks are two of the four best teams in the Eastern Conference, meaning this game could be a potential playoff preview.

The Celtics are the best team in the East by a wide margin, seven games to be exact. With a record of 44-12, the Celtics can run the table, reach 60 wins, and secure the No. 1 seed in the postseason. The Knicks, who are fourth with a 34-22 record, are trying to string together a few wins while waiting for three of their best players – Mitchell Robinson, OG Anunoby, and Julius Randle – to return from injury sometime next month.
Watch the Celtics vs. Knicks live stream on ABC

Read more
How to watch the 2024 SAG Awards live stream
Margot Robbie and Ariana Greenblatt look out the back doors of a truck in Barbie.

The road to the 2024 Oscars continues Saturday night with the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. The SAG Awards famously include "I am an actor" speeches to kick off the show. These happen because the SAG Awards are voted on by more than 130,000 performers in the SAG-AFTRA union. The SAG Awards is a ceremony for actors, by actors.

Since the SAG Awards are only voted on by performers in the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the categories honor the best actors from film and television in 2023. The most-anticipated award is Ensemble in a Motion Picture, which will likely go to Oppenheimer or Barbie. The SAG Awards also have two categories for stunt work and a special lifetime achievement award. The 2024 recipient is the OG Funny Girl herself, Barbra Streisand.

Read more