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The Sopranos: Season 1

6,239 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sopranos, The: The Complete First Season (DVD)

On January 10th, 1999, America was introduced to two families that would make history: The Soprano family headed by Tony Soprano, and The Soprano "family" headed by ... Tony Soprano. ' 'Four Stars! The first gotta-watch, gotta love, Gotti-like TV series of 1999. Across the board it's an A-plus.' ' - The New York Post ' 'Achieves a fresh tone to match its irresistibly winning concept.' ' - The New York Times


The Sopranos, writer-producer-director David Chase's extraordinary television series, is nominally an urban gangster drama, but its true impact strikes closer to home: Like 1999's other screen touchstone, American Beauty, the HBO series chronicles a dysfunctional, suburban American family in bold relief. And for protagonist Tony Soprano, there's the added complexity posed by heading twin families, his collegial mob clan and his own, nouveau riche brood.

The series' brilliant first season is built around what Tony learns when, whipsawed between those two worlds, he finds himself plunged into depression and seeks psychotherapy--a gesture at odds with his midlevel capo's machismo, yet instantly recognizable as a modern emotional test. With analysis built into the very spine of the show's elaborate episodic structure, creator Chase and his formidable corps of directors, writers, and actors weave an unpredictable series of parallel and intersecting plot arcs that twist from tragedy to farce to social realism. While creating for a smaller screen, they enjoy a far larger canvas than a single movie would afford, and the results, like the very best episodic television, attain a richness and scope far closer to a novel than movies normally get.

Unlike Francis Coppola's operatic dramatization of Mario Puzo's Godfather epic, The Sopranos sustains a poignant, even mundane intimacy in its focus on Tony, brought to vivid life by James Gandolfini's mercurial performance. Alternately seductive, exasperated, fearful, and murderous, Gandolfini is utterly convincing even when executing brutal shifts between domestic comedy and dramatic violence. Both he and the superb team of Italian-American actors recruited as his loyal (and, sometimes, not-so-loyal) henchmen and their various "associates" make this mob as credible as the evocative Bronx and New Jersey locations where the episodes were filmed.

The first season's other life force is Livia Soprano, Tony's monstrous, meddlesome mother. As Livia, the late Nancy Marchand eclipses her long career of patrician performances to create an indelibly earthy, calculating matriarch who shakes up both families; Livia also serves as foil and rival to Tony's loyal, usually level-headed wife, Carmela (Edie Falco). Lorraine Bracco makes Tony's therapist, Dr. Melfi, a convincing confidante, by turns "professional," perceptive, and sexy; the duo's therapeutic relationship is also depicted with uncommon accuracy. Such grace notes only enrich what's not merely an aesthetic high point for commercial television, but an absorbing film masterwork that deepens with subsequent screenings. --Sam Sutherland

Special Features

  • An audio commentary on the pilot episode by series creator David Chase and actor/director Peter Bogdanovich
  • A 77-minute interview with Chase 'shot' in Tony Soprano's kitchen, and conducted by Bogdanovich
  • Two behind-the-scenes featurettes
  • An episodic index, with previews and recaps

Product Details

  • Actors: James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Dominic Chianese, Nancy Marchand, Michael Imperioli
  • Format: Subtitled, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: August 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 680 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6,239 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXOP
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,072 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Sopranos: Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 161 people found the following review helpful By R.D. Monsoon VINE VOICE on November 25, 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Blu-ray version of Season 1 boasts significant video quality improvements over the 2000 DVD release.

Season 1 used a grainier film stock than subsequent seasons. This was problematic for the 2000 DVD release because MPEG II encoding has a difficult time handling grain, HBO squeezed 4 episodes onto each discs (except the last one) resulting in a high level of compression, there was a lot of edge enhancement applied to the video, and that this was a relatively early DVD release -- MPEG II encoding has significantly improved since then. As a result, the video on the DVDs had a lot of artifacts -- and the larger the TV you have, the more obtrusive the artifacts and edge enhancement are.

The Blu-ray release pretty much fixes all of those problems. You can really see the difference in the closeups on the actors' faces. The image is clear with a film texture. You'll also notice a lot more details in the background.

The pilot episode doesn't look as good as the rest of the season. This is no doubt because a cheaper film stock was used and they had less time to light scenes due to it being a pilot. The rest of the episodes look uniformly excellent.

Don't expect the show to look quite as good as good as the HD broadcasts of the later seasons. Starting in Season 2 much more money and effort was put into the cinematography in order to give the show a feature film look. The interiors of Season 1 are typically slightly over lit with a soft white light. I suspect this was done because they had a shorter production schedule then later Seasons when the show was a hit, and they didn't have time to relight sets every time they moved the camera.

The packaging is virtually identical to the DVD box.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Hamilton on December 24, 2000
Format: DVD
I'd been hearing about The Sopranos all last year but honestly, I just never have time to catch a series every week. I just don't watch TV with any regularity and I'm not crazy about missing episodes or seeing them out of order when I know there's continuity. When I saw that whole first season of The Sopranos was coming out, I figured that would be just right for me.
I wasn't disappointed. Matter of fact, I was blown away. It's a great show, at times hysterical, at times very dark. The characters are sometimes over the top but they stay close to basic story, unlike a lot of shows where, struggling to fill 60 minutes and having run out of any sensible ideas, they'll have doctors from an ER show caught in an improbable plane crash in the Andes or whatever.
The most interesting thing for me is the way they've used Tony Soprano's sessions with his therapist as a way to stitch everything together and let you get inside Tony's head. The actors playing both Tony and the therapist turn in remarkable and very believable performances.
This set is also a heck of a bargain. You get 13 episodes, four per DVD, plus some bonus materials, which is a lot of viewing time for the money.
I recommend this set as easily the best DVD purchase I made all year (this from someone who buys nearly everything that comes out.)
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 12, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I didn't have HBO when The Sopranos came out in 1999, and so I am delighted that it is now on a set of DVD discs. I'm a big fan of books and movies about the Mafia and so I was prepared to love it. I must say that my expectations were all met, and more. There is nothing like being able to watch the series, in its entirety, all at once, at my own pace. And there is nothing like watching several video interviews and behind the scenes featurettes on the discs to enhance the viewing experience with background information. This series has won many awards. I can understand why.
James Gandofini stars as Tony Soprano, a very human individual, who just happens to be a gangster. He's living in modern times though, and so he's plagued with depression and goes to a therapist, played by Lorraine Bracco. Tony's domestic scenes, which include his wife, Edie Falco, his daughter, Jamie-Lyn Sigler, his son, Robert Iler, and - especially his mother, Nancy Marchand, are all unique and slightly off-center examples of brilliant writing and editing. Add to this his criminal activities and his violent temper, and there's a mix that fascinates me completely.
One of the delights of the series is that I can't quite figure what will happen next. I'm constantly on edge as I watch the story unfold, and there are always surprises. I like the humor and the irreverence. And best of all I like the fact that each episode is commercial free and a complete movie in itself. I love it when the scenes move back and forth between the actual crime stuff and his family life. And I love the humanity that Tony exhibits. In a way he is "everyman" as he struggles with decisions and hard choices in his life. And yet, he is larger than life, and a bit of a hero to our culture.
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81 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 2000
Format: DVD
Once again--see Sex and the City--HBO has had the good sense to release a show with an entire season in one package, as compared to the horrible dribbling of, say, 3 Twilight Zone episodes at a time. Why don't they put out the whole of "Dobie Gillis" or "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster" in one nice, juicy package. I'd buy.
But quite aside from that. The Sopranos is at the absolute highest level of visual art. No movie and certainly no TV is at a higher level. I am amazed at how much I've seen in an episode on first viewing and then how much more on second and third viewing. There are lots of little things, connections, that emerge on repeated, highly pleasurable viewings. There are so many surprising details, little throwaway lines, cues that lead to something later on, that really show the filmmakers respected the intelligence of the viewer.
The richness of the interwoven comedy and drama, the inventive ways found to tell the multiple stories--I love it. I love all the actors, but would just take a minute to single out Nancy Marchand, who plays one of the most marvelous mother characters ever recorded. The merging of comedy and drama in her performance is sublime. Every little line matters. The way she walks. Everything she does is beyond wonderful.
The greatness of The Sopranos you've heard about is really true. You will not regret having this set on your shelf to watch over and over again.
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Topic From this Discussion
Sopranos Season 2 on Blu Ray
If they released Sopranos the complete series on blu ray that would have sold like hot cakes.
Apr 4, 2011 by I AM A.M. |  See all 32 posts
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