The Sopranos

Every Goodfellas Actor Who Appeared In The Sopranos

Not unlike the characters they play, gangster movie actors tend to operate in similar circles. Which Goodfellas alumni also appeared in The Sopranos?

Spotting Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos became a fun game for fans of the gangster genre. Released in 1990, Goodfellas continued the working relationship between Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro after Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Based on Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi, Goodfellas recounts the life and crimes of Henry Hill who, in his own words, always wanted to be a gangster. Alongside Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, De Niro turns in another excellent performance under Scorsese’s direction, and Goodfellas became the most beloved gangster film since The Godfather Part II.

While the Corleone and Lucchese crime families reigned supreme on the big screen, it’s impossible to look beyond The Sopranos when considering the biggest and best mafia shows TV has to offer. Starring James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, David Chase’s The Sopranos ran for six seasons, offering a contemporary take on Italian-American gangster life in New York City. Somewhat ironically, fans saw many Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos. Even Goodfellas’ star Ray Liotta appeared in the prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark.

Lorraine Bracco

Karen points a gun at a sleeping Henry in Goodfellas

The most obvious casting connection between Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos is undeniably Lorraine Bracco. In 1990, the actress made her name as Goodfellas‘ Karen Hill opposite Ray Liotta. An ordinary girl lured by the cash and glamour that came with dating a gangster, Karen would crash and burn as collateral damage from her husband’s illicit activities. Though Bracco was reluctant to play a mafia wife again, she joined The Sopranos as Jennifer Melfi, Tony’s therapist with whom she shares a complex attachment throughout the HBO series. Dr. Melfi ultimately manages to avoid the tragic pitfalls Bracco’s Goodfellas character fell into.

Michael Imperioli

Adriana goes on a date with Christopher at the Vesuvio in The Sopranos.

Unlike Bracco, Michael Imperioli is far more famous for his role in The Sopranos than he is for Goodfellas. As Christopher Moltisanti, Imperioli played Tony Soprano’s protégé nephew, and the son of a gangster Tony respected deeply. Renowned for his love of tracksuits, Christopher battled several addictions on his way to the top, before meeting a predictably unfortunate fate at Tony’s own hands. Michael Imperioli had a brief but brilliant Goodfellas role as Spider – the mafia upstart shot in the foot by Joe Pesci, and then killed following an ill-advised “go f**k yourself.”

Frank Vincent

Billy Batts in Goodfellas

When it comes to Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos, Frank Vincent enjoyed a memorable supporting role in Goodfellas as Billy Batts, the “made man” who riles up Tommy and gets himself killed as payback, forcing Henry and Jimmy to help in covering up the crime, or else risk retaliation from the Gambino family for murdering a protected figure. Frank Vincent’s character in The Sopranos, Phil Leotardo, enjoys an even loftier status. Vincent’s Leotardo leads the Lupertazzi crime family, experiencing a fractious relationship with Tony and the DiMeo mob. Leotardo’s eventual demise in The Sopranos acts as a homage to Billy Batts’ death in Goodfellas.

Tony Darrow

Sonny talks to Paulie in Goodfellas with a bandage on his head.

Tony Darrow’s Sonny Bunz is an associate of Paulie’s mob in Goodfellas and proud owner of the Bamboo Lounge which Henry and the others use at their convenience. Sonny’s Lucchese family dealings predictably end with him losing the bar altogether after the required protection money doesn’t get paid. In The Sopranos, Darrow regularly appeared as DiMeo family capo Larry Barese, who remains loyal to Tony throughout his time on-screen. In a curious twist of fate, Tony Darrow later confessed to a genuine affiliation with the real Gambino family.

Chuck Low

Goodfellas Henry Hill with Morrie

One of the conspirators in Goodfellas‘ Lufthansa heist, Morrie Kessler owns a wig store and frequents with the local Lucchese mobsters. Kessler earns himself a telephone wire strangling after badgering Robert De Niro’s Jimmy about unpaid money one too many times. Chuck Low’s character in The Sopranos, Shlomo Teittleman, doesn’t fare much better, cutting a deal with Tony in season 3’s “Denial, Anger, Acceptance” for a share of a motel business. This time it’s Low’s character who reneges on the arrangement, once again getting on the wrong side of folks you don’t want to upset.

Tony Sirico

Similar to Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico worked his way up from a minor part in Goodfellas to a main credit in The Sopranos. In the former, he played a gangster by the name of Tony Stacks, who can be seen among Paulie’s crew near the start of the movie. This was before being cast as a Paulie of his own – Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos. One of Tony’s most loyal, albeit most violent, followers, Paulie Walnuts got his nickname from a botched truck heist but proved more competent than that incident suggested, serving as a capo in the Soprano mob before his promotion to underboss.

Frank Pellegrino

One of the few to switch sides when it comes to Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos – Frank Pellegrino played a mobster in Goodfellas and an FBI chief in The Sopranos. Across the show’s first five seasons, Pellegrino’s Frank Cubitoso does his best to get Tony Soprano and his family behind bars, going to criminal lengths to make that happen but always falling short. The same actor was Johnny Dio in Goodfellas – a Lucchese criminal who joins Henry and Jimmy in jail and “does the meat.”

Vincent Pastore

Salvatore Bonpensiero was a main Sopranos character throughout the first two seasons, returning as part of a dream sequence in The Sopranos even after his demise. Getting his nickname from an uncanny knack for burglary, Sal was a member of the DiMeo crime family who turned into an FBI informant after finding himself in financial difficulty. Predictably, that didn’t end well for him. Pastore had much less to work with in Goodfellas, where he’s seen helping Henry move a rack of fur coats at the Bamboo Lounge.

Suzanne Shepherd

Lorraine Bracco might’ve been hesitant to revisit Goodfellas territory in The Sopranos, but there was no such concern for Suzanne Shepherd as one of the Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos, who first portrayed the mother of Karen Hill, and then the mother of Carmela Soprano in The Sopranos. On both occasions, she was the mother-in-law of the story’s main gangster. Just as Karen’s mom was less than delighted about her daughter marrying into the local mafia, Mary DeAngelis had similar reservations about Carmela’s relationship with Tony Soprano.

Marianne Leone Cooper

When it comes to Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos, Marianne Leone Cooper briefly graced Goodfellas as the wife of Tuddy Cicero, Paulie’s brother, but the actress is probably more recognizable as Christopher’s mother, Joanne Moltisanti, in The Sopranos. A callous woman who shows precious little love toward her son, Joanne is a difficult woman to like. Regardless, the character returned in The Many Saints of Newark, this time played by Gabriella La Piazza.

John Ciarcia

John Ciarcia as Albie Cianflone in The Sopranos

It’s not unusual for actors to cross paths time and time again in the gangster genre, but it’s far less common for one actor to occupy the same position on both occasions. When it comes to Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos, John Ciarcia is one such man. First seen alongside Frank Vincent’s Billy Batts in Goodfellas, Ciarcia then followed Vincent to The Sopranos, where he served as a capo to the latter’s own Phil Leotardo.

Anthony Caso

Anthony Caso as Martin Scorsese in Sopranos

In an unlikely meta twist, Caso worked both for and as Martin Scorsese. In Goodfellas, the actor is a simple truck hijacker grifting alongside Jimmy, but in the very first season of The Sopranos, Caso plays a fictionalized Martin Scorsese entering a nightclub complete with full celebrity entrance. It was here that Christopher shockingly let Scorsese know his favorite movie of his wasn’t a gangster epic but was Kundun​​​​​​.

Paul Hernan

A car appears behind Beansie wearing a bandage in The Sopranos.

A regular collaborator of Martin Scorsese’s, Paul Hernan is the “Pittsburgh Connection” in Goodfellas, where Henry and Karen go for their cocaine. Hernan also appeared in a handful of The Sopranos episodes as Peter “Beansie” Gaeta, a mobster turned restaurant owner who gets severely beaten by Richie Aprile, his former mafia associate.

Tony Lip

Carmine Lupertazzi led the crime family of the same name from season 3 to season 5 of The Sopranos. Despite their obvious differences in approach (mostly due to both men hailing from different generations), Carmine and Tony stayed respectful towards each other for the most part. Before Carmine, Tony Lip played real-life gangster Frank “Frankie The Wop” Manzo in Goodfellas, who receives a quick introduction via Mafia maverick Henry Hill’s Bamboo Lounge voice-over.

Nicole Burdette

Mirroring Marianne Leone Cooper somewhat, Nicole Burdette played the unnamed girlfriend of Frankie Carbone in Goodfellas but enjoyed a larger presence in The Sopranos. She played Tony’s youngest sibling, Barbara, who lived a legitimate life with her husband and children away from the violence other members of her family took part in. Despite taking diverse paths, she remained part of Tony’s life.

Nancy Cassaro

Nancy Cassaro as Joanne in Sopranos

Whether a sign of the era or of the subject matter, the wives of Goodfellas don’t see much screen time, and so it proves with Nancy Cassaro, who was cast as the spouse of Joe Buddah in Martin Scorsese’s classic. Cassaro would become the first actress to play Joanne Moltisanti, Christopher’s mother, in The Sopranos, appearing in a single episode before Marianne Leone Cooper took over.

Frank Albanese

Henry's lawyer in Goodfellas

Frank Albanese will be most familiar for his turn as The Sopranos‘ Pat Blundetto, known to Tony as “Uncle Pat.” The character’s niece is married to Dickie Moltisanti in The Sopranos prequel, too. Retired as a gangster when the story begins, Pat still crops up in a handful of episodes, usually to lend Tony the benefit of his wisdom and experience. In Goodfellas, Albanese can be found playing a mob-friendly legal representative when a younger Henry Hill is on trial for the very first time.

Tobin Bell

Tobin Bell as Zwingli in Sopranos

The man better known as Jigsaw in the Saw franchise has a single credit in The Sopranos to his name, featuring as Major Zwingli in season 3’s finale, “Army of One.” Zwingli unsuccessfully attempts to recruit Tony and Carmela’s son into military school. Bell makes an even less prominent appearance in Goodfellas in a small role as a parole officer.

Susan Varon

Susan Varon in Goodfellas

Susan Varon made her screen debut as one of the few non-gangsters in Goodfellas, playing a background character simply credited as “Susan.” Over a decade later, she was a real estate agent in The Sopranos, showing Christopher and Kelli around a new house. Outside of her mafia exploits, Varon will be more familiar to audiences from another New York-based TV series, Daredevil, in which she played Josie.

Vito Antuofermo

Vito Antuofermo as Bobby in Sopranos

Transitioning from boxing to acting, Goodfellas marked Vito Antuofermo’s introduction to Hollywood, and, true to life, he played a prizefighter. Antuofermo continued to frequent the gangster genre’s casting rooms and later turned up as one of the Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos as Bobby Zanone. The owner of a garbage company, Bobby had dealings with Richie Aprile, who distributed drugs using garbage truck routes as cover. The character is also remembered for having trash dumped on an angry customer’s driveway.

Daniel P. Conte

Faustino Doc Santoro in The Sopranos

Credited as a character by the name of Dr. Dan, Daniel P. Conte has made cameos in several Martin Scorsese movies, Goodfellas included. He’ll perhaps be better remembered for his stint in The Sopranos, however. Conte’s character, Doc Santoro, is a Lupertazzi family capo who engages in a power struggle with Phil Leotardo, played by the aforementioned Frank Vincent. Santoro loses after being murdered by a bullet through the eye.

Jerry Vale

Jerry Vale in Goodfellas

Vale sings “Pretend You Didn’t See Her” in Goodfellas, while Henry and the other gangsters watch on in awe with their girlfriends. Vale would later perform several uncredited numbers in The Sopranos.

Frank Adonis

Frank Adonis as Anthony Stabile in Goodfellas

Adonis played another Goodfellas character based on a real-life figure – Anthony Stabile. He’s one of several characters trying to calm Tommy during the famous “you think I’m funny?” scene, believing Joe Pesci’s erratic mobster was genuinely mad. Adonis later played an unnamed man in The Sopranos season 2’s “House Arrest” episode.

Angela Pietropinto

Angela Pietropinto in Sopranos.

In two cameo roles one of the Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos, after appearing ever so briefly as Paulie’s wife in Goodfellas, Angela Pietropinto is seen in The Sopranos season 6’s “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh.”

Victor Colicchio

Victor Colicchio as Joe in Sopranos

Victor Colicchio is one of the unnamed faces serving as young Henry’s criminal pals during Goodfellas‘ 1960s scenes. The actor would later reform himself for The Sopranos, appearing as Joe, a mechanic at the garage owned by Salvatore.

Gaetano LoGuidice

Tommy and Henry smoke at a bar in Goodfellas

It seems Henry’s crew members were in high demand after Goodfellas, as Gaetano LoGuidice also made the trip to The Sopranos. Unlike his fellow Goodfellas alumni, however, LoGuidice earned more than one credit in the HBO TV series, including a patron at the Bada Bing! strip club, a casino guest, and a funeral attendee.

Anthony Alessandro

Tommy pretends to by angry in the club in Goodfellas

Alongside Colicchio and LoGiudice, Alessandro acts as another of Henry’s young friends in Goodfellas‘ opening act. He also can be seen when Tommy DeVito is chewing out a younger Henry with “funny how?” He also scored a small part as a waiter in The Sopranos season 2.

Gene Canfield

Gene Canfield in Sopranos.

One of Canfield’s earliest acting gigs came as a prison guard in Goodfellas after Henry and the boys are sentenced to a stint inside. Sticking on the right side of the law, the actor appears as a cop in The Sopranos season 1.

Vito Picone

The Elegants cover

Better known as the lead singer of The Elegants, Picone is simply credited as “Vito” in Goodfellas. He also made an uncredited appearance during The Sopranos‘ pilot episode.

Every Sopranos And Goodfellas Cast Member Who Has Passed Away

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas

Several Goodfellas actors on The Sopranos have since passed away. Tony Lip, most famous as Sopranos crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi and Goodfellas Franceso Manzo, died in 2013. Frank Pellegrino, who played Frank Cubitoso in The Sopranos and Johnny Dio in Goodfellas, passed away due to lung cancer aged 72 in 2017. Frank Vincent, who portrayed The Sopranos’ Phil Leotardo and Goodfellas‘ Billy Batts, died from a heart attack the same year at age 78. Goodfellas actor Frank Adonis, who played Anthony Stable and also had a brief Sopranos cameo, passed away the following year at age 83 due to kidney failure.

2022 was a particularly hard year for fans of Goodfellas and The Sopranos though, as three iconic cast members sadly took their final bow. Tony Sirico, a.k.a. Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos and Tony Stacks in Goodfellas, died aged 79 from natural causes associated with dementia. Paul Herman also passed away at age 76 and played Beansie Gaeta in The Sopranos as well as a dealer in Goodfellas.

Paul Sorvino, who played Paul Cicero in Goodfellas, died at age 83 the same year – however, it’s a popular misconception that a Paul Sorvino Sopranos cameo happened. The most notable loss from the Goodfellas cast, though, is Ray Liotta. Liotta passed away in 2022 in his sleep while filming Dangerous Waters. Liotta supposedly turned down a Sopranos role but later starred in the spin-off movie The Many Saints of Newark. It’s been a few decades since Goodfellas was released and The Sopranos finished, and while both legendary titles will stand the test of time, the iconic cast is still, sadly, only human.

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