A fun new video points out every time The Sopranos referenced The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece set the template for gangster fiction on film, and David Chase’s HBO TV series followed that template to a T, while putting its own spin on the classic myth of the American mobster.
Of course Chase has never been shy about giving due credit to the movies that inspired The Sopranos and its pop-culture-influencing tale of a New Jersey mob family. Thanks in part to its willingness to borrow from past films, especially The Godfather and Goodfellas, The Sopranos went on to kick off the era of prestige TV during its run between 1999 and 2007. Amazingly, the show seems even more relevant today as its second life on streaming has led to a whole new generation of fans discovering its unique take on classic gangster tropes.
Even if The Godfather’s influence on The Sopranos wasn’t already obvious, it would become obvious while watching the new video posted by Yaron Baruch that lays out all the show’s many references to the classic movie and its sequels. See the clip in the space below:
Watch This Video Here
Of course many of the show’s Godfather references were direct and humorous, none more so than Silvio Dante’s ever-hilarious impersonation of Al Pacino’s famous “They pull me back in” moment from The Godfather Part III. Some of the references are more subtle however as The Sopranos frequently paid homage to The Godfather in the way certain scenes were shot. A sequence from season 1 demonstrates the show’s debt to The Godfather particularly well, as two men try to kill Tony Soprano in a scene that is basically a beat-for-beat remake of the Godfather scene where Vito Corleone is shot (there’s even a reference to Vito’s oranges in the form of a bottle of orange juice). The video also makes it plain how thematically similar The Sopranos was to The Godfather, as it delved into common gangster-movie matters like family, loyalty and of course the difficulties of doing criminal business.
But even as it’s pointing out all the ways The Sopranos borrowed from The Godfather, the video also shows how different the two works actually were in tone. While The Godfather was a sweeping Hollywood epic, The Sopranos was more grounded in the workaday world of New Jersey mobsters, whose adventures seldom took on the grand wide-screen sweep Coppola conjured in his three-film movie universe. Ultimately The Sopranos was the perfect TV depiction of mob life, scaled appropriately to the small screen, even if its characters all thought they were actually living in a classic old gangster movie.