Violent Crime Thriller Brings Back TV’s Greatest Character

By TeeJay Small | Published

many saints of newark

Fans of the HBO original series The Sopranos likely know that the show recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the pilot making it to air on the premium cable network. What some fans may have forgotten, however, is that the prequel film The Many Saints Of Newark, which premiered in 2021, is largely responsible for reinvigorating interest in the series, leading to new and returning fans binging the show in recent years.

The Many Saints Of Newark

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Though the film has been criticized for its shaky timeline and sometimes clunky writing, its greatest achievement is reviving the title character of Tony Soprano, who is expertly portrayed as a teenager by the original actors’ real-life son.

The Many Saints Of Newark was written and produced by David Chase, creator of The Sopranos‘ and directed by Thor: The Dark World filmmaker Alan Taylor.

The Many Saints Cast

Ray Liotta streaming

The film’s title serves as a reference to the deceased members of the New Jersey mob, often glorified after their demise by surviving loved ones, as well as the Americanized name of the film’s protagonist, Dickie Moltisanti. (Oh, and Moltisanti translates to “Many Saints” so it’s also convenient.)

The film stars Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, Michael Gandolfini, and acclaimed Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta, who takes on a dual performance as a pair of twins with vastly contrasting personalities.

Michael Gandolfini Plays His Father

Michael Gandolfini is the real-life son of the late James Gandolfini, who expertly portrayed Tony Soprano in the original HBO series.

While some elements of the controversial Many Saints Of Newark film were met with great pushback from super-fans of The Sopranos, Michael’s ability to bring the character to life in a way never seen before has been hailed by critics and fans alike as a massive highlight.

The only actor to reprise their role from the original show is Michael Imperioli, who appears via voiceover narration to bookend the film’s narrative.

The Many Saints Of Newark Story

many saints of newark cast

The Many Saints Of Newark centers on the New Jersey mafia in the late 1960s, as a young Tony Soprano navigates his earliest days in the criminal underworld. He is mentored by his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti.

Fans of The Sopranos may recall this name as the character was referenced several times in the show, though never shown. Dickie is the father of Christopher Moltisanti, who was mysteriously killed when Christopher was just a baby.

The Sopranos Backstory

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Through its setting, The Many Saints Of Newark explores the Newark race riots of 1967 while also providing some never before backstories on beloved characters from the series, including Silvio Dante, Paulie “Walnuts” Gualitieri, and Corrado “Junior” Soprano.

Most importantly, the film centers on Dickie’s moral and ethical questions about his line of work, and his desire to keep Tony away from the criminal lifestyle.

Though audiences know this righteous path is destined to fail, the film provides incredible world-building for the acclaimed HBO series, offering fans of the show a great deal of insight into their favorite characters’ origins in ‘this thing of ours.’

The Many Saints Of Newark On Max

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The Many Saints Of Newark was one of several films to be released on streaming and in theaters simultaneously in 2021 as a measure to recuperate costs during the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The film originally premiered on the now-defunct HBO Max service, which has since rebranded to Max. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, be sure to stream The Many Saints Of Newark on Max today.