The Sopranos (TV Series 1999–2007) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
680 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A Reminder That Not All Modern TV is Poor
Johnny-Sack11 March 2006
The Sopranos is arguably the greatest show in Dramatic Television history.

Its hard to think of another series that boasts so much intelligence, sublime writing or first rate performances.

Across its epic scope it produces fresh and iconic characters and a constant level of high quality. Centering around the life of one Tony Soprano, a man who lives in two families. One is the conventional wife and two kids nuclear family the other a huge New Jersey Mafia group, of which he is the boss of both. Played by James Gandolfini, of True Romance and The Mexican fame, Tony is a fascinating, scary but also likable guy. Full praise must be given to Gandolfini for making a womanising and horrifically aggressive brute a genuinely identifiable and perfect leading man. Contemporay American drama has never had such an arresting and iconic figure as Tony.

The cast of hundreds never boasts a flat performance and such stand out characters like Paulie Walnuts and Ralph Cifaretto will stick in your memory for ever.

The true genius of this tale however, is the creator and writers bravery and revolutionary take on a conventional drama series. Twenty minute long dream sequences, powerful and original use of symbolism and metaphorical imagery and truly shocking scenes of violence. Yet all this style is met by truly touching themes of love, honour and respect for family. The series never becomes cold hearted or gratuitous.

With TV now competitive and often poor The Sopranos stands tall above the rest as America's most original and compelling drama. Forget Family Redifined. This is Television Redifined.
623 out of 705 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Television. Redefined.
Inglourious_Basterd2126 August 2006
What can you possibly say about a show of this magnitude? "The Sopranos" has literally redefined television as we know it. It has broken all rules, and set new standards for television excellence. Everything is flawless, the writing, directing, and for me, most of all, the acting. Watching this show you'll find yourself realizing that these characters are NOT real. The acting tricks you into thinking there is a real Tony Soprano, or any character. This show is also very versatile. Some people don't watch the show because it's violent, it's not all about the violence, it's about business, family, and many deeper things that all depend on what you, as a fan see. For me, I don't like when people refer to the show, a show about the Mafia. For me, it's a show about family. A family who, through generations, happen to be apart of the mob. Overall this is a masterpiece of a show. This is what television should be. Right here. Complex characters from stunning acting, magnificent story lines from brilliant writing, and what do you get when you mix these ingredients together? A show that defines excellence, and dares to be different.
256 out of 288 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Masterpiece.
prodigy30105 May 2018
I ve just finished watching "The Sopranos" for the 4th time. I think its flawless. I wouldnt change anything about it. Cant wait to watch it for the 5th time.
220 out of 247 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
To call this a show it's unfair... It's the pertect 86 hour movie!
mrsambo-6368014 July 2020
Simply the best writing, and the best acting... I've seen it five times and it never gets old... I'm an absolut tv and movie geek, thousands of hours invested in this "lifestyle" and still nothing beats The Sopranos... And nothing will ever beat it... James Gandolfini steals every second of his screen and non-screen time, makes you wish these guys would still be in the 20th seasson if James would be alive! Can't wait for The Saints of Newark... Johnny Boy Soprano played by Jon Bernthal OMFG!!
64 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Best TV series I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and don't listen to these people the ending is awesome!.
Axilrod112 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
To the people complaining about the finale, seriously? You're going to give a show that you supposedly loved 1 star just because you didn't like the last 4 minutes? God forbid a show actually make you use your brain to get answer instead of spoon-feeding it to everyone. Please do yourself a favor and google "sopranos ending explained" and read the first article, it's long but you'll appreciate the show much more. Showing Tony actually getting whacked would have been tasteless, boring, and wouldn't have left us with anything to talk about. If you really pay attention and look at the fine details everything is there. Plus we had already seen Tony get shot on several occasions, and the fact that people spent 6 seasons cheering the guy on and then want to see the series end with him bleeding out on the table in front of his whole family. Some things are better left to the imagination, and when you put all the pieces together it's really pretty amazing what David Chase pulled off.

For anyone that thinks Tony's fate is up for debate, it's not. Some people say that it just meant that he was going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life (wrong). For starters, the finale opens with a shot of Tony asleep in bed and is supposed to resemble him dead in a coffin (and there is churchy sounding organ music playing). Then one of the few flashbacks in the episode is Bobby telling Tony "you probably don't even hear it when it happens." Those are just a few hints out of many.

More importantly, the entire final scene was set up from Tony's point of view. It opens with him walking into the diner, they show him, they show the table where he will be sitting, then they cut back to Tony, and then there is a jump cut back to him sitting at the table. It's a strange looking cut, but it makes it appear that Tony is looking at himself (like an out of body experience).

During the final scene, you hear the bell ring 4 or 5 times, each time it cuts to Tony's face, then shows the doorway to the restaurant, and then cuts back for Tony's reaction. They use the bell to create a Pavlov's dog type effect, it makes you expect to see certain things each time the bell rings (shot of tony looking up, followed by a shot of what he sees from his POV). So the last time you hear the bell ring, you see Tony's face, and based on the established pattern the next thing should be what Tony is seeing (Meadow walking into the restaurant). But instead there is a smash cut to black, why? Because Tony is dead and you are seeing his point of view, he is no longer seeing or hearing anything. Chase wanted to do 30 seconds of black originally, and if it had just been the end they would have faded out the music instead of stopping it immediately. So You know that he got shot in front of his entire family, Meadow walked in at the last minute and witnessed it too. Carmella and AJ were looking at their menus and wouldn't have had a chance to warn Tony. And if Meadow hadn't been late then the shooter wouldn't have had a clean shot. To me that has much more of an impact than seeing him bleeding all over the table. The guy in the Members Only jacket going to the bathroom to get the gun was a throwback to the Godfather when Michael Corleone went to get the gun from the restaurant bathroom. They show each of them eating one of the onion rings that Tony ordered, which is supposed to symbolize taking communion. Tony had done too much messed up stuff to get off scott-free, and everyone knows that in the mob you either die or go to jail.

Whether you understood the ending or not, The Sopranos is one of the best TV series of all-time. It's a show with so much depth and complexity that you can watch it over and over and still find new stuff every time. If you only watch a few episodes here and there and then just watch the finale, you'll probably be disappointed like all the other idiots that did that were. I mean would you read the first couple chapters of a book and then read the last page and decide that it sucks?
115 out of 135 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
BlackJack_B9 March 2001
The only show on T.V. worth watching in a sea of bad. Great acting, excellent music, intriguing storylines, and even hilarious situations are combined with HBO's no-holds-barred content. James Gandolfini is mesmerizing as Tony Soprano, a lynchpin in the Italian Mafia. However, instead of seeing Tony as just a one-dimensional thug, we see that he has a life outside of his criminal activities, and that's what makes this show different from it's competition. It's a different side to the story of criminals, that they have normal lives when not breaking the law. The entire supporting cast is brilliant, especially Edie Falco, as Tony's wife Carmela, a deeply religious woman who stands behind her man despite all of his sins and Lorraine Bracco, as Dr. Jennifer Merlhi, Tony's psychiatrist; a woman who fears him when she is giving him therapy, but secretly is attracted to him when they're apart. This is indeed "the show that revolutionized T.V." See it!!!
274 out of 333 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best mob/gangster show ever
helgethuv24 April 2006
The Sopranos is one of the best TV-shows I have ever seen. If you like gangster/mobster/mafia movies, I can strongly recommend "The Sopranos". The show is mainly about Anthony "Tony" Soprano and his life as a father, husband and leader of a mob in the 21st century. The show is (as far as I know) realistic, compared to many other mafia shows and movies I have seen. The actors fit like a glove to their parts. This show made me realize how good many of these actors are in other shows and movies. This show has it all; humor, action, drama, good music, good actors, good "behind the camera" people and a good plot. The show displays all sides of the mob business; "buisness", private life, the cops/FBI point of view, the victims side of the story and much more.
158 out of 190 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A true classic
pronins23 July 2020
This is The Godfather of TV series. I've rewatched all 86 episodes a few times and it's quite amazing how they'd kept up the quality over so many episodes. Aside from the great acting and writing, the directing is incredible - there are many scenes where nothing special happens, yet the atmosphere makes these scenes unforgettable. Character development at its best: I felt like I was there, experiencing their world throughout the series. A masterpiece.
44 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Can't overstate the greatness here.
feddomw29 March 2019
Name any other show you like, I've watched it. And the other great ones, all of them. Numerous times. Loved them, even. But this is the best thing ever made, bar none. This is not Goodfellas Godfather shlock. This is the finest character study ever filmed. And James Gandolfini is the most mesmerizing protagonist in television history. Come at me.
96 out of 115 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
DiCaprio-HardyFan28 July 2020
The Sopranos is universally thought of as one of the best tv shows of all-time and is at the top of every "best ever" list ever created for a reason...because it is! There's nothing I can say about this incredible tv show that hasn't already been said. All you have to do is read through the reviews to see how loved this show really is. It's absolutely perfect!
59 out of 69 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The greatest of all time.
deanomcd-566-80127617 May 2020
This is the greatest show of all time. Nothing compares. James Gandolfini is absolutely outstanding. I could write a novel on how good The Sopranos is. Absolutely fantastic.
33 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Stunning, outstanding, terrific
srk0891424 July 2020
Warning: Spoilers
There are no words in dictionary to describe the awesomeness of this tv series. Right from the beginning, you get drawn toward charisma and simplicity of Mr Tonny Soprano( RIP James). Without James Gandolfini, this tv series would have been a normal mob based ordinary story. James made this series something extraordinary.
24 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Quite simply, the greatest television show of all time
galileo318 March 2008
THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007)

Number 1 - Television Show of all Time

Everyone thought this would be a stupid thing that wouldn't go past a pilot episode. The Sopranos has become a cultural phenomenon and universally agreed as one of the greatest television shows of all time.

James Gandolfini plays the enigmatic New Jersey crime boss, Tony Soprano, accompanied by a stellar cast. Edie Falco is superb as the worrying, loving upper-middle class mother; Tony Sirico is tremendous as a superstitious, greying consiglieri who is often very funny.

While the show has often been criticised for the negative stereotype of Italian-Americans as mafiosi, and to an extent this is undeniable, I can see so many positives from the show. The portrayal of strong family values, friendships, love and compassion; could this be present in a coarse television show about gangsters? Yes. Furthermore, other burning issues are discussed such as terrorism, social inequality and injustice, homosexuality, drugs etc. This is no shallow, dull show about tough guys and violence. It has so much more. Many of the issues we see on the show are very real.

The writing which has been pretty much great has infused so successfully current issues and managed to imbred them within the characters' lives, which makes the whole thing more interesting.

Credit must go to David Chase who has created an excellent television treasure and to James Gandolfini, for envisioning, television's most complex and enigmatic character.

Simply exceptional.

117 out of 148 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best show of all time
Jeremy_Urquhart23 April 2020
The Sopranos is a TV series that has gained the reputation of being one of the "greatest TV shows" of all time, and I think it's a title the series deserves. It's one third of what I like to call the "holy trinity" of TV dramas, the other two being the much loved Breaking Bad and the critically acclaimed The Wire. It's such a great TV series that even a 20,000 word review would struggle to explain every single thing about the show that works, and I know you're about as willing to read a post that long as I am willing to write one, so I'll try not to draw this one out too much. That being said, there's a lot about this show that I want to say, and a lot of praise I'd love to throw its way, so here goes.

The Sopranos works on so many different levels it's staggering. It's a complex character study, a tense crime drama, a relatable family drama, and sometimes it even feels like a weird, twisted sitcom. There's moments of brutal and shocking realism right alongside surreal dream sequences and scenes ambiguous in nature. There's suspense, black comedy, surprising deaths, and even the odd tear-jerking moment.

Every character is fascinating, as barely anyone is purely good or purely evil- almost every character is a different shade of morally ambiguous grey, and this is what makes almost every character, major or minor, so interesting. The stand-out character of course is Tony Soprano; the show is about him after all. He is absolutely flawlessly played by James Gandolfini, who has done other stuff in his career, but never anything as memorable as his role as the lead in The Sopranos. Here is a character who feels like such a real person it's damn near scary- I feel like I know Tony better than some people I see in real life on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. This is perhaps one of the most fleshed-out and well-developed characters in the history of entertainment. Throughout the 6 seasons we see dozens of Tony's therapy sessions, with each one adding something to the character. We see many of his dreams too, with these sequences putting the viewer directly into his head and allowing us to see his most personal thoughts and feelings. He interacts with countless other characters too; in fact, almost every character in the show interacts with Tony on at least one occasion. It's a credit to both Gandolfini and the writers that the character of Tony Soprano felt so real throughout the show's run.

That's not to say Tony's the only well-developed character on the show, because that's not true at all. Almost every character has depth and is interesting in their own way- personal favourite characters of mine include Livia Soprano, Tony's delightfully crabby mother who's obsessed with control, Ralph Cifaretto, an absolutely horrible colleague of Tony's who is so much fun to despise, and Adrianna, a character who starts out as being there mainly for fan service, but becomes one of the show's most sympathetic and interesting characters further down the line. I would like to talk more about the characters, but honestly, to do so may cause this review to move into spoiler territory, because like I said before, nobody on this show is ever really safe from death. One character may appear to be the kind of person who'd last all six seasons, but may well be "whacked" after just a few episodes. On the other hand, there's characters who could only be seen in the background occasionally throughout the first season who become significant characters in later seasons. What I'm trying to get at is that the show's unpredictable and I don't want to go into discussing specific plot-lines or characters too much because you're really better off going into this series knowing as little as possible in order to get the most enjoyment out of it.

And by the way, try not to read too much about the show on the internet either before or while you're watching it, as it's an old-ish show, and that means people are generally less cautious about displaying spoiler warnings prior to discussing potentially "sensitive" material. The internet is a dangerous place to be while you're watching a show that's already aired, so just remember to be cautious.

The use of music in this show is also something that really needs mentioning. The show uses music frequently, and also uses a great range of music throughout its run. David Chase and the others who worked on the show clearly have a talent for selecting music that just works so well for particular moments. Special mention has to go to a few songs/scenes in particular:
  • Alabama 3's "Woke up This Morning," which is used so perfectly in the show's unforgettable opening sequence, which never fails to get me psyched for the episode to follow.
  • A lesser-known Rolling Stones song called "Thru and Thru" is used unbelievably well in the final montage of seasons 2's finale, "Fun-house." ("Fun" fact: Funhouse is not only my favourite episode of The Sopranos but probably my favourite TV episode of all time. I think it's so good I might even write a blog post specifically for the episode, as I can't really go into why it's so good in this review without outlining the general plot-line).
  • Then there's the song "Wrapped in my Memory" by Shawn Smith used at the end of the classic episode "Long-term Parking," which is season 5's penultimate episode. The way this bittersweet sounding song is used is phenomenal- a perfect way to end one of the most well-known episodes of the show
  • And I don't want to forget the use of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" in the show's notorious final scene. Most people seem to associate the song with Glee, but The Sopranos used it first, and so much better too. Like the episode Funhouse, the final scene of The Sopranos could use its own blog post also, but I probably won't ever talk about it because it's already been discussed to death all over the internet. Generally every episode of The Sopranos ends with a piece of music that plays over the final scene, and continues to play over the credits, and it's staggering how often this piece of music reflects either the style, tone, themes, or even the general plot of the episode it closes. I'm an absolute sucker for a good soundtrack, and The Sopranos, I'm pleased to say, completely nails it in the music department.

The writing and the directing in The Sopranos is sharp as hell too. The writer's inject so much wit, tension, and pathos into this show (sometimes all at once) it's mind-blowing. The show has so many different moods and feelings, but somehow the writers manage to tie it altogether into something that feels very cohesive. Many, many quotable lines and catchphrases too. This show has some serious style too, and the look and feel of the show honestly looks almost movie-quality at times. This can be credited to the show's directors and cinematographers, who give the show such a unique and memorable style that really progresses and becomes more pronounced as the show goes on. There's a reason this show was so revolutionary and acclaimed when it first came out- no other show before it had ever looked quite so cinematic. I personally found myself forgetting at times that I was watching a TV show (worth mentioning is that the acting from some cast members is movie-quality too).

Mind you, The Sopranos is not a show for everyone. It's got some very adult content, and there's the fact that it's quite a strange show too- there's literally at least three episodes that are almost 45 minute long dream sequences inside Tony's head, and a sense of ambiguity is often present thanks to the characters' general sense of moral murkiness, as well as their often strange and ambiguous motivations that aren't always spelled out. Almost no character is ever easy to decipher and understand- there's few stereotypes on this show- and while this could frustrate some people, I personally like this aspect of the show, as it makes everyone feel a bit more "real" and compelling. And then there's that ending, which isn't going to be for everyone (I loved it though).

I also want to say that this show requires some patience to really get into. I don't think the first season was phenomenal, as the writers and cast members were still trying to work out the best way to portray and develop these characters, so it gets off to a slightly shaky and uncertain start. Mind you, I still thought the first season was very good, but it took me to the end of the second season before I started loving the show, and it was about a month after I finished the final season before I realised that The Sopranos was probably my all-time favourite show. The show will grow on you, but it'll probably take some time, so be patient. Pretty much every HBO show is like this (see Game of Thrones and The Wire in particular). Also, there are a huge number of characters, and it will take by my approximation at least 10 episodes before you'll remember most of their names (unless you've got a great memory or something). This can make early episodes a little difficult to get through, but if you stick with it it'll become something you get used to.

So if you're an avid TV watcher, I highly recommend giving The Sopranos a watch. It helped popularise the sense of grey VS grey morality that is so prevalent many recent shows, and also pushed many boundaries in regards to what kind of adult content a TV show could depict, as well as how cinematic TV could look. It's amazingly well acted, written, and directed, has an astoundingly diverse soundtrack, and features in my personal opinion one of the most deep and interesting characters off all-time- Tony Soprano. I see it as required viewing, and even though you personally may not love every aspect of it, I'm sure most of you will be at least able to develop a great sense of respect for the show. Don't be put off by its age, or the fact it ended 13 years ago- this is still must-watch television that has aged and will continue to age gracefully.
34 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Third time watch since the series ended. May 2020.
gabo_alepb18 May 2020
Warning: Spoilers
From masterpiece to good. ( There is no such thing as a Soprano's bad season)

Season 5. Masterpiece.

Season 2. Masterpiece.

Season 1. Masterpiece.

Season 6b. Masterpiece.

Season 3. Excellent.

Season 4. Very good.

Season 6a. Good.

10 Favourite episodes:

Fun house.

Long term parking.

I dream of Jeannie Cusamano.

Soprano home movies.

Whoever did this.

Pine barrens.


All due respect.

Made in America.

Employee of the month.
22 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best ever show
stephenchristie29 March 2020
Stuck at home, this is the best box set in the world to binge on
32 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Whatever happened to Gary Cooper, the strong silent type.
mucholli13 May 2020
On January 10th, 1999, a mobster walked in a psychiatrist's office, and the rest is history. I watched The Sopranos just recently, and the first thing that came to my mind after finishing that last episode was, "why haven't I watched this earlier??". I never underestimated this show, because I heard great stuff about it, but also bad stuff. And that's okay, because it is not a show for everyone. If you enjoy mafia movies, even on a small level, you are definitely going to enjoy this. If you don't enjoy mafia movies, then you're probably going to enjoy it anyway. The reason why I am comparing this to movies, is because it is a movie on some level. It is a cinematic show. Before The Sopranos, shows such as Friends, Seinfeld, etc, all shared the same thing. A 20 minute episode, they weren't necessarily connected to each other, but people still enjoyed them. Now The Sopranos, it has been said by many that it is basically a 13 hour movie. That is because each season has 13 episodes (except for the last one). I imagine what a challenge it must have been for David Chase (the creator) to get a television to pick the show up. Naturally, he got turned down. It would have been impossible for The Sopranos to be part of a network television. I believe that the limit in network tv, is about 42 minutes per episode (then you have the commercial breaks and other things). Luckily, HBO decided to put the show on the air. An episode is around 52-60 minutes, and it was this show, that put HBO on the map (later producing shows like Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Westworld etc). When the first episode aired in 1999, it started a new age of television. The viewers were introduced with the concept of an anti-hero, being the protagonist of the show. This shocked a lot of people, because they were used to seeing bad guys in movies, then getting killed at the end. Having said this, The Sopranos was immediately revolutionary. I imagine how people felt when watching it, thinking "a show about a bad guy"? It was never done before... But after the first season, people realized that it was special, and the reason for that is because it was different, unique. The greatest thing about this show, except the story line and structure, I have to say that it is the casting. It is not one of those shows where the lead actors are good, and then the extras are there to just do the part. Every single person withing the shot, is so spot on. I have to give credit to David Chase, who I know pays a lot of attention to detail. It is crazy how you can't imagine other people playing those characters, and that is because no one could play them like the cast did. James Gandolfini's performance is probably the most powerful performance on TV. I have watched a lot of shows, and I have never seen such brilliant acting. I hate it when people compare his performance to Bryan Cranston's on Breaking Bad. Don't get me wrong, it is also one of the best performances, but you have to know that if it wasn't for The Sopranos, there wouldn't be Breaking Bad, or Walter White for that matter. The Sopranos opened the doors for many shows, such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc. The other great thing about the show is the writing. Every character has its own arc. You can see how they develop during the show. Except for the anti-hero concept, I think that it was also the first show to introduce character development. There's something about how the characters are written. Just the main idea of the show, the professional and personal life of a mobster, struggling with his work and family, is brilliant. It treats subjects like illness, the importance of it, loyalty, love, trust, hatred, death, and many others. You see characters change, evolve, you start to like them, you start to dislike them. It is the best written show to this day. It is dark, witty, cynical, and most importantly, addictive. David Chase decided to do what no other director did before. He showed violence, drugs, sex, and other elements that no one thought of putting in television. It pioneered cinematic television, it took mental illness seriously, it changed how we watch TV. I am not reviewing the episodes and story line, because I don't want to spoil this masterpiece, but I have to say one more thing... Whatever you're doing, stop! This show is a necessity, something that you need to watch, so do it.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not what I expected
tiny_tina128 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
At first the only reason I watched the Sopranos was for my husband, but I did keep an open mind. Soon after renting the first season both he and I were hooked. The characters were so real. You liked to love them and you liked to hate them. It was also very convenient that they killed all the characters that I thought should have been killed. ;) The irony of the show is that most of the time we get this mob picture of a character like Pauly just having fun and acting tough. This shows you the fears and weaknesses of toughest wise guys.

You see Tony's inner conflict (James Gandolfini is a great actor) between being a good husband and father and his reputation and duties to the mob. You also see Carmela's side with Tony always gone, but she still tries to make it work and she still loves him. I love the different characters, they really picked a great cast.

The show just keeps your attention because you never know what will happen or how characters will react. I highly recommend it for people who don't have weak stomachs.

P.S. For the people who don't like it, It is called ENTERTAINMENT.
273 out of 387 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
azooz-0056722 February 2020
Best writing , Best characters , best drama , best crime , best of comedy . The best tv show ever
30 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Best Show on TV Now
Quinoa198431 January 2000
The Sopranos is a terrific show. It may be violent, racist, sexist, and bad to the bone, it is also funny, melodramatic and cool. The characters are very well done and the acting is some of the best I've seen in years. It is also pretty keen for creator David Chase to pick Northern New Jersey as the set piece for his opus of crime life. I have liked this show alot since it aired on HBO in January of last year and I will keep on watching it because of the intrigue and drama.
149 out of 207 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
shark-4327 June 2001
When this show is on it's game, it is brilliant, amazing television. So well-cast, well-written and well directed, it shows what cable TV can achieve. Now, like any creative vehicle, it too can fall short. There are messy, uneven episodes. The season ender this year was rather all over the place and unsatisfying, but, overall, great television. Gandolfini deserves all the praise coming his way. (His monolouge as a hitman describing his first "hit" in True Romance is a great piece of work). Bravo!!
92 out of 130 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The greatest TV show of all time with no doubt.
andykos-3625526 March 2020
Breaking Bad, GoT or any other possible show can top the Sopranos.It's a full-fledged masterpiece, the kind that changes your life. Based on a typical mob story the Sopranos goes one step further (many steps infact) and not only provides probably the clearer social commentary on modern America but also delivers the most well written show in the history of Television. It serves as the profile of a man who-in his existential crisis- tries to understand humanity, violence and the meaning of true love. Tony Soprano is a ruthless mob boss but also an extremely loving husband. The whole show builds it's flawlessness and genius around that line: the violent monster and a wonderful human being. The Sopranos mastered the term of an anti-hero to a degree that cannot be surpassed. Obviously James Gandolfini's monumental perfomance is the strongest point of this show but everything work together so well that you can't just lay your eyes away.

The raw strengh of all this deeply affects the viewer, personally it changed the way I see things in a lot of ways. All the violence at times is extremely disturbing, the amoralism of the crime world has never been more believable and depraved. As I said, David Chase has mastered the term of the anti-hero. All these main characters are basically monsters, unethical violent killers but still so likeable, so believable and so trustable. Chase is trying to understand what a sociopath really is, involving psychology, and after one point the viewer starts to really understand the weight of these gangsters actions. Weird thing is the most you are shocked by those the more you want to see this show, the more you want to explore the darkest aspects of human life. I've been so moved by another show, it is really groundbreaking.

And then there is James Gandolfini who gives probably on the most momumental perfomances on camera. He has such a unique, charismatic aura in every frame he is in he simply is masterful. He can amazingly infuse anger, confusion, depression, love all on that same frame without making it less believable or overacting. He bases his perfomance with his eyes, heis simply jaw dropping in every minute of this show.

Then you got all the luben side characters, who all are so unforgettable, you think you really know them from one point forward. Paulie, Silvio, Furio all are classic to the mob universe, true gems.

This deep bond with all the characters make every dark decision they take so much more painful, you really start to feel the rage, the guilt, the grief and the existential crisis the characters are going through.

But besides all the nihilism there is love. Family, friendship, forgiveness. All these values have never been stronger in Television. It truly is Family Redifined. The nuclear American family is under attack here, constant analyzing with supreme social commentary on post 9/11 crisis and much more. Under all the hate this family keeps going through, never stops to fight for something better and as we can see in the final shot of the show it was really about family. Love, forgiveness, trying to understand each other, the basic values of every family are being presented with uch realism and fairness.

Hope is what holds Tony Soprano together, what keeps every human going. It's not about mob and gangsters. It's real life on camera.

Finally, under all it's gruesomeness hides the most beatifully realistic portrait of America and a wonderful teacher. Because David Chase makes it clear he doesn't have any answers. But though all the issues he addresses he pushes the viewer to find his own meaning whatever that may be and if there is one.
16 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Olympus, New Jersey
toddcon17 September 2004
The Sopranos mythology is as close an analogue to Greek mythology we'll ever get in modern life. It's all there. The archetypes of Zeus, long-suffering Hera, oracles, sibyls, the virginal Persephone, Zeus' seduction of mere mortal women (who can be destroyed by it), the messengers and functionaries of Zeus, the wandering eye of the Most High himself, on and on it goes. AND there are the deep emotions and passions that go with it.

Greek and Roman mythology has become so quaint to us we "teach" it to sixth graders and sent them to see Disney productions of Hercules as an example. (Disney doesn't tell you the one about when Hercules batters one of his wives kills her and slaughters his children--I think that's the way it goes.) The schools don't "teach" about the mother who chops up her own children (whom she loves) to bake in a pie to feed to the husband she hates.

They don't "teach" the crazed women who mutilate the man who scorns them. Or the girl who arranges to sleep with her own father. What passes as the Greek myths in schools is really just kind of bullshit. Or...isn't there one where Zeus makes love to a mortal woman who wants to see him in his "true form"? She burns up or something. Tony does that too, to the car saleswoman. What about the dancer at Bada Bing? I haven't got to the end of the art gallery girl yet.

But The Sopranos really approaches the bloodthirst of the Gods, their cruelty, their indifference to mere mortals...and their so, so human traits mixed in with their almost unbearable inhumanity. But don't forget they sometimes show great wisdom and kindness too. The Gods and the Sopranos mingle with us mere mortals, but we say a little prayer of thanks when they pass us by. They know things we don't.

Personally speaking, when I think about "the mob," they seem to have the sort of reality to me (or your average Joe) of being sort of "out there", just like a forces of nature, and I don't ever want to get them mad at me. I know I just might brush past them every once in a while, I'm sure, but I would hardly know it. If a mobster came to me in disguise, just as the Greek Gods were used to doing with mere mortals, I hope I would treat him in a way so as not to invoke his wrath in consequence. As a child, I felt about the Greek Gods with the same sense of mystery and heightened imagination, believing they were "out there" and about somewhere, but one just never really got to see them up-close.

Now, I'm pretty sure this analogy to the Gods in The Sopranos is not done purposefully by the David Chase...he might have an awareness, sure, he's incredibly smart, but he's NOT making allusions to's not an algorithm. Or (gods help us) an homage. He's just being true to the subject material in the best way he knows how--and it's absolute dynamite. It's no surprise the Sopranos reaches directly back to the Greeks. This kind of gradiosity and passion BELONG to the Sicilian and Italian culture (Sicily was an outpost of Ancient Greece) and have done for thousands of years. For Chase NOT to "go there" with the violence and sexuality would not be possible.

The greatness of the Greco-ROMAN myths lies precisely in their depth of presenting vividly, exhaustively, splendidly, the all-too human capacity for evil (among other things). The myths are the extremes we are all capable of if pushed into passion. David Chase's genius is that he has crystalized our cultural fascination of gangsters into a mythology worthy of the Greeks. I think his take on the mob is BETTER than Puzo or Scorsese. He somehow (consciously or unconsciously, I don't know) recognized the archetypes involved, intimately, and ran with them.

For anyone who thinks The Sopranos glorifies violence (as one dude posting here felt), that person needs to take a survey of literature or something. God, read Shakespeare. Take a course in history. Hell, look to Iraq. We live in a violent world. Learn how to digest story and context. Constantly, the show presents the REALITY but then, always the consequences.

The pleasure of watching this show is that the barrier of the TV screen protects us. I think the writers are constantly reminding us of the moral dimension involved. The Sopranos is at the bottom of it, deeply moral. It's about actions, and codes. If you get hung up on the violence, you probably had better watch something else and leave it at that. Go drink some Kool Aid and chill.

Here's a suggestion to deepen the Soprano experience. Get out the tragedies and original sources (not Edith Hamilton!) and read them, thinking of the Sopranos. And conversely, if you know the myths already and want to see them truly brought to life, think of them when you are watching The Sopranos. You'll see Zeus. You'll see Hera. You'll see all kinds of Gods.

(Look again at his mother who wanted figuratively to eat him, just like the Titans tried to eat Olympians.) The parallels are absolutely chilling.

If they wanted to pack the opera houses these days, they should get all the conductors and opera directors to watch The Sopranos en masse. That might revive opera overnight. Opera houses should just go back to the beginning and revive some of those very old operas and learn a few things from the Sopranos. Opera actually began in Italy as a movement to recreate and revive the grandeur of Greek tragedy. Interesting, hm? Look what it's come to. Sad.

Pavarotti would sing a HELL of a Tony a Tenor of course.

It's too bad some people don't 'get it.' They don't see, at bottom, The Sopranos is really about moral choices and consequences; it's BEYOND entertaining (it fascinates) because it parades all the deep and dark things most of us never ever have to take resposibility for.

It's truly Great Drama.
365 out of 549 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best mob show ever made and played by one of the best
aburrows-484372 May 2020
Everything about this show is amazing. If you dont like it.....we gonna have a problem.
18 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Classic TV Drama
johnnorris-6043824 June 2020
Warning: Spoilers
First time watching the Sopranos all the way through and all I can say is grab some gabagool, start up the GrillMaster 9000, and call your Goomah cause this is thick, authentic Italian art; and I'm not talking about Tony. This show was one of the first primetime TV dramas and it is a classic. It never gives everything away to the audience and maintains an air of ambiguity throughout. Don't miss out on a historic masterclass of television and give it a watch.
12 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed