When Francis Ford Coppola became the go-to director for Paramount's next big picture—the film version of a pulpy novel called The Godfather by Mario Puzo—he was apprehensive. He thought it glorified violence and the criminal lifestyle and made Italian-Americans look bad.
After a second read, he saw and put into the film the subtexts of family, the corrupting influence of power and desire, economy and the immigrant's tale, which gave the film the lasting influence and cultural significance that led the Library of Congress to add it to the National Film Registry.
So for this Throwback Thursday, we had to honor the film's release back in March 1972 by sharing a few readalikes and watchalikes.
Ah, Chicago. My kind of town. Every major city in this country has a history with organized crime. Nowhere is it so essential to the culture of a city as it is in Chicago. We've got The Chicago Outfit, old-timers sitting at the Italian American Club, Al Capone tours and bullet holes in Holy Name Cathedral to show as badges of this legacy. How well do you know your city's underworld or its history?
Family Secrets recounts the investigation and trial that brought down the most recent round of bosses in Chicago's criminal underground.
Mob Cop is a first-person story of an admittedly corrupt Chicago police officer. The author shares how he did what he did and how you can't help getting your hands dirty when talking about organized crime.
There is rarely a movie about the mob that doesn't make me hungry. Take The Wiseguy Cookbook out along with your favorite mob movie and have a night of method movie watching. It is all about the sauce.
The Departed is an American remake of the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The mafia influence this time came from Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger, who later got his own biopic, Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp.
The Untouchables is not a historically accurate movie, but it is full of action and rough morality. Also, it's local history, so "fuggedaboutit."
Miller's Crossing is the Coen brothers' take on this American institution. When the Coens do something, they do it in the most original way. A city is divided when the heads of the Irish mob and the Italian mob go toe-to-toe, and the drama is balanced by witty historical dialogue.
Road to Perdition uses the backdrop of organized crime to tell the tale of a father's pursuit of redemption.
Boardwalk Empire is unconventional in that it's a TV series that stars an unlikeable and corrupt politician instead of a wiseguy.
American writers and directors love to explore the mob, so we can't name all of the great films here, so please let us know: What's your favorite mob movie?