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The Valachi Papers [VHS]

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews


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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland, Walter Chiari, Joseph Wiseman
  • Directors: Terence Young
  • Writers: Arduino Maiuri, Massimo De Rita, Peter Maas, Stephen Geller
  • Producers: Dino De Laurentiis, Jerry Ferraro, Nino Crisman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005725M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864,318 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Against the information provided here by Amazon, the DVD packaging and on-screen info give the rating of this film as PG (not R). There is some brief nudity and some mild swearing. Maltin's movie guide indicates the film was originally released with an R rating, but was subsequently edited to the 125 min. PG rated version featured here. The disc is widescreen anamorphic as well, not full screen as noted by Amazon (the packaging also only notes "widescreen".)
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of the best movies on organized crime available. It is along the lines of "Goodfellas" and "Donnie Brasco" although it takes place at a much earlier time in history. It is gritty and factual although artistic license is expected. The movie focuses on Joe Valachi who was the first of the Mafia informants and set the stage for others to follow. The movie gives explicit and factual information on the history of the American Mafia from the original "bosses" through the making of the syndicate on through the Vito Genovese regime. It is a must see for anyone interested in the history of organized crime from its very beginning on to the beginning of their decline.
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Format: DVD
THE VALACHI PAPERS (1972) with the well known star, the late CHARLES
BRONSON, will interest those viewers with a passing curiosity on
crime phenomena, as well as fans of that actor and those interested
in the historical undercurrents of America, in matters of the
perpetual cat-and-mouse game of those operating within the legal
framework, with large sums of money at stake from commercial
operations, being the cops and robbers.

The picture is long in playing time.

The final product shows high filming quality, with unusual clarity
of the dialogs and script, a logical flow in which the story
unfolds (easy to understand.)

This movie is also not for everyone, or for the casual viewer,
considering the often vicious, homicidal behavior of the individuals
participating in the gang activities ( pistol shootouts, rub outs,
etc.)

It also shows the paradox of 1st and 2nd generation Italians in
America, struggling for supreme power and financial controls
over various revenue generating rackets (protection, alcohol,
commodities, etc.) in their own ethnic group, while remaining
proud of their cultural and other heritage.

The music is tastefully chosen, and the director indeed was capable
and brave enough to show some more private, realistic and humanistic
moments by the gang members, which tends to underline the
biographical, and true nature of the story told within, vs. the
fantasy tales, and robotic nonsensical behavior too often seen in
movies released post 1990's.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
The Valachi Papers was shot at a time when common wisdom had it that gangster pictures were box-office poison, so the very American tale of Charles Bronson's Cosa Nostra soldier spilling the beans on his life in the mob in return for protection by the Feds ended up being shot at Dinocitta in Italy with French money and an English director (Terence Young, reunited with Dr No villains Joseph Wiseman - wonderfully hammy here - and Anthony Dawson) only to end up being discounted as a Godfather ripoff when Coppola's film became a surprise huge hit. Based on Joe Valachi's Grand Jury testimony that lifted the veil on the way the mob worked and was organized after years of denial of its very existence by J. Edgar Hoover, it's a well-crafted and enjoyable saga with none of the operatic grandeur that Coppola, Leone and De Palma would bring to the genre. There's not much in the way of historical or social context, more a catalog of greatest hits and internecine feuding, but it's done with some flair and is surprisingly entertaining. Bronson makes a good lead, with decent support from Walter Chiari and Lino Ventura, both surprisingly well dubbed. Unfortunately the dire Mrs Bronson, Jill Ireland, is along too, but she's not in it enough to do any damage.
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Format: DVD
This movie is based on facts revealed by mob turncoat, Joseph Valachi, in 1963, and published as a book by Peter Maas (The Valachi Papers, same title as the movie).

Although the movie is based on Valachi's story, at least one scene never took place in real life (otherwise it would've been mentioned in the book because it's so spectacular). That's the scene where Valachi's friend, 'the Gap' (real name, Dominick Petrilli), gets his penis cut off in Valachi's restaurant by mobsters and afterward asks Valachi to shoot him, which he does. Maybe the movie people thought they needed a scene like the horse head scene in 'The Godfather'.
Too bad, because the rest of Valachi's story is true and inventing fictional scenes only compromises the authenticity of the story.

It's a very good movie and it follows the book closely, but it could have been a great movie had they had a bigger budget and some famous actors to fill out the parts. That said, some of the actors did a great job, such as Joseph Wiseman (Salvatore Maranzano) and the guy who plays Valachi's sidekick, the Gap. Charles Bronson acts very well too, of course.

If you like mob movies based on real life stories like 'Donnie Brasco', 'Goodfellers', 'Casino' etc.etc., then this movie is for you.

If you liked the movie, you should read the book too! It's one of those books you can't put down before you have read all of it. You can buy it here on Amazon and it's fairly cheap.
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