The Mafia: La Cosa Nostra - An Expose
DVD | Box Set
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The world's most infamous crime organization had done very well for itself in the Old Country, but did not truly blossom until its nefarious emissaries reached the shores of America. Featuring revealing interviews with victims and perpetrators of mob violence, combined with gripping archival film footage, this 5-DVD collection examines the trajectory of La Cosa Nostra's ( 'our thing' ) development into our collective problem.
The 6-DVD set includes a bonus DVD: The Valachi Papers (1972) starring Charles Bronson.
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This well researched, informative and captivating serie explores the sinister and shady world of organized crime in gripping detail. Experts on the American Mafia explain events and infamous gangsters, while hard-hitting images vividly reveal the face of the criminal underworld. Investigators, Journalists, Authors, F.B.I. Agents and even former mobsters share their knowledge and opinions on many fascinating and historic events: The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the beginning of the mob in America, how Bugsy Siegel "discovered" Las Vegas, the death of Marilyn Monroe, how the Mafia invaded Hollywood, and many, many more. Meet larger-than-life gangsters like Al Capone and John Gotti; descend into the depths of criminal aggression; witness the pervasive influence of crime gangs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago; learn astonishing revelations about Mafia involvement with politics, big business, the rich, famous and powerful, and sinister conspiracies. Candid, revealing interviews and eyewitness accounts of mob hits, combined with archival film footage, tell a sordid tale of bloodletting and intrigue.
One thing I really like about this serie is that it covers so many interesting and fascinating topics: The beginning of the Mafia in America, Cuba, The links between the Mob and the murders of John and Robert Kennedy, The disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, The Triad, Vegas, The death of Marylin Monroe, The Mob and Hollywood, The C.I.A., links between the Mob and Huey Long, Chicago, Atlantic City, links between the Mob and Politics, the many differences between the Mafia of the 30's-50's and the Mafia of the 80's-90's, the St Valentine's Day Massacre, how it was to live in America in the 40's, 50's, 60's and so on, and many many more. It's a great mix of documentaries on the Mafia, documentaries about History, and documentaries about Conspiracies, all in one.
All the important families are profiled, as well as all the famous gangsters: Capone, Bugsy, Luciano, Lansky, Marcello, Gambino, Costello, Bonanno, Dalitz, Cohen, Masseria, Anastasia, Gallo, Giancana, Trafficante, Scarfo, Gotti, and many more. There's even a profile of Frank Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro, the men behind the characters played by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in the great movie "Casino".
Another thing I really like about these documentaries: The people interviewed. Investigators, Journalists, Authors, F.B.I. Agents, F.B.I. Informants and so many more share their knowledge about Organized Crime. All of them are interesting and very credible. The late great Ralph Salerno share many stories about some of the biggest names in Mafia history, Rudy Giuliani talks about some of the cases he prosecuted as U.S. Attorney, many experts share their theories on the JFK Assassination, etc. Even the daughter of Bugsy Siegel share stories about her legendary father. A lot of F.B.I. Informants share all the fascinating details of how they became part of the Mafia, and explains how the Witness Protection Program works.
I agree with some of the reviewers: the quality of both the sounds and the footages is not great. But people needs to understand that Madacy is a small company and that they have a very limited budget, so I understand why the quality of these documentaries is far from being perfect, after all it wasn't produced by the History Channel. So it's not perfect, I agree, but the informations given to us is so great and so fascinating that I don't really care if the images are not in HD. This Boxset contains 10 documentaries, each documentary is 45 minutes long. The number of topics discussed in each of these documentary is amazing.
COMING TO AMERICA: Witness the beginnings of Italian Mafia activity in 19th century America.
CAPONE: See Capone myths exposed through the eyes of Mafia experts. With the aid of dramatic re-creations and archival film, the true story of this larger-than-life gangster can now be told.
VALACHI/LUCIANO/GENOVESE: Watch as the New York Mafia moves from an almost dictatorial system to a sharing of power between 5 influencial families.
HOLLYWOOD: Follow the shadowy Mafia presence alleged to have lurked around Hollywood moguls and megastars like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe.
VEGAS: Listen in on the stories that relate Vegas' colorful history, its gangsters and their shady dealings.
HOFFA: Mafia ties with Jimmy Hoffa, unions, and government are explored in fascinating detail, tackling significant questions about organized crime's infiltration of the establishment.
KENNEDY CONNECTION: A variety of experts offer their viewpoints on theories about the killings of JFK, alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and Robert Kennedy.
GALLO/COLOMBO/BONANNO: This is a story of mob figures' attempts to grab a larger piece of the action through strategic kidnappings and assassinations.
GOTTI: Take a behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of the "Dapper Don", John Gotti
BONUS FEATURES: A special Mafia Trivia, over 20 Biographies and profiles, and a Booklet featuring mob facts and rare photos.
I highly recommend this DVD. :)
COMING TO AMERICA-- Details the emigration in the late 19th Century and arrival in NYC of the Five Families. Includes archive footage, photos and first person accounts of mob insiders and law enforcement members.
AL CAPONE-- Former member of the Five Points Gang, Chicago's Al Capone was a murderer, extortionist, pimp, bootlegger, gang leader and organizer of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Episode includes commentary from mob experts, vintage film clips and modern recreations.
VALACHI, LUCIANO and GENOVESE-- The lives of three of the most notorious Mafia bosses are covered using old films, photos and the recollections of insiders and authorities.
HOLLYWOOD-- Examines connections between Hollywood luminaries and the underworld.
VEGAS-- The history of a small Nevada town turned gambling resort, with special emphasis on the life and career of Bugsy Siegel. Includes old films and photos, plus interviews.
HOFFA-- The life and times of union boss Jimmy Hoffa, his mob connections and several plots (including one to assassinate Fidel Castro) he was allegedly involved in are discussed. Hoffa's 1975 disappearance and subsequent career of his son are also featured.
KENNEDY CONNECTION-- A look at the possible Mafia link to JFK's assassination includes a bio on ex-mobster Jack Ruby.
GALLO, COLOMBO and BONNANO-- Covers the lives and violent careers of three New York-area mob leaders who ruled in the 1960s.
GOTTI-- The "Teflon Don" rose from small-time hood to become leader of New York's Gambino family. He got his nickname for an uncanny ability to avoid conviction and jail. The nattily-dressed Gotti's luck ran out however in 1992, when wiretaps and an associate's testimony on ten murders put him in prison for life.
EPILOGUE-- A summation, and look at the Mafia as it existed in 1997.
Also of interest is A&E's five-hour documentary, GODFATHERS COLLECTION - THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE MAFIA.