- Starring John Gotti, Henry Hill, Ray Liotta, Dominick Montiglio
Inside the Mafia (2005) -- A 4 part series made for TV documentary detailing the life and times of the Mafia in the U.S
Mafia, What mafia? In the 1950s, America was booming. The economy was flourishing and the population was basking in post-war prosperity. Capitalising on all this prosperity was organised crime, run by Italian mobsters known as the Mafia. Run from the top by a board of directors, it had its fingers in many pies - including the unions, gambling, prostitution, the building industry and the waterside. The law enforcement authorities however, denied their existence, preferring to focus attention on the 'red peril' of communism.
But a meeting in November 1957 in the sleepy town of Apalachin, upstate New York, attended by dozens of Italian businessmen in fedoras and sharp suits, aroused the suspicion of local police. When they went to investigate, the party guests tried to flee. The police had unwittingly stumbled upon the leadership of the entire American mafia, who had gathered to discuss the introduction of heroin smuggling from Sicily to the US. The crime fighters could not ignore them any longer.
The first of a four-part series on the American mafia reveals how the FBI ignored their existence until a meeting in a sleepy upstate New York hollow showed them something they couldn't deny.
Going Global The heroin trade boosted the fortunes of the Mafia in America during the 1960s but the fortunes it brought and the divisions it caused among the Italian mobster families ultimately sowed the seeds of their own destruction. Masterminding the trade was the ruthless and greedy Carmine Galante, head of the Bonanno family and his band of Sicilian killers, assassins who operated under the radar of law enforcement.
The Sicilian Mafia were smuggling vast amounts of heroin into New York inside foodstuffs, distributed via Sicilian-owned restaurants in Brooklyn, hence it was dubbed 'the pizza connection'. But as the reckless Galante operated without the approval of the mob's board of directors, known as the Commission, sneered at their reticence about dealing in drugs and refused to share enough of the heroin proceeds with them, it was decided he had to go.
The Great Betrayal The booming heroin trade between Sicily and the US netted more than $26 billion, making the Mafia on both sides of the Atlantic very rich. Part three of The Mafia reveals details of the vicious war between the two that emerged, unleashing a terror that drove one Godfather to break 'omerta', the mobsters' sacred vow of silence.
The Sicilian mafia were distributing billions of dollars worth of heroin into the US each year via Mafiosi-owned pizzerias across the country. The crime fighting authorities in the US and a virtual one man band in Palermo, Sicily, Giovanni Falcone, waged war against them. But they needed first-hand evidence, like a highly placed informer prepared to spill the beans, to make a big dent in the operation.
They struck gold with disenfranchised Godfather Tommasco Buscetta, looking for a deal to live safely in the US. But a vicious Sicilian don, nicknamed 'The Beast', plotted his revenge. Tommasco Buscetta would become the most senior boss to betray the Mafia, as crime authorities turned up the heat on the $26 billion heroin trade between Sicily and the US.
The Godfathers They were two very different godfathers. John Gotti was "dapper Don'', the streetwise, publicity-loving head of the Gambino family in New York. Toto Riina was the psychopathic head of the Sicilian Mafia. As revealed in this fourth and final episode of The Mafia, between them they would bring the Mafia to crisis point. Gotti blasted his way to power, brazenly murdering his rival, Paul Castellano, during the Manhattan rush hour. He defied the law to come after him.
But rising to his challenge proved tough for law enforcers as Gotti beat the rap in thee separate trials by intimidating witnesses and bribing jury members. In Sicily, Mafia don Toto Riina ('the beast') seemed equally untouchable, particularly after dispensing with his determined opponent, magistrate Giovanni Falcone. But a revolution by the people of Palermo, Sicily, tired of Mafia bloodshed, forced the Sicilian mob to change their tactics and retreat into the shadows. Gotti's eventual jailing has weakened the mob's grasp, but for how long, is the question on law enforcement minds.
Inside the Mafia DVD is offered as a compact edition. This transfer is manufactured on demand and is presented on premium DVD-R with thermal disc print in a clear plastic wallet. Important: This title has been manufactured from the best-quality video master (rated 10/10) currently available and has not been remastered or restored.