Up 14,242 this week

The Valachi Papers (1972)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  6 January 1972 (France)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,866 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 11 critic

When Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson) has a price put on his head by Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura), he must take desperate steps to protect himself while in prison. An unsuccessful attempt ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel), 2 more credits »
0Check in

Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 23 Nov 2011
a list of 22 titles
created 24 Nov 2011
a list of 33 titles
created 03 Nov 2012
a list of 29 titles
created 09 Apr 2013
a list of 32 titles
created 30 Jul 2014

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Valachi Papers (1972)

The Valachi Papers (1972) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Valachi Papers.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Family (1970)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A hitman is double-crossed by his girlfriend and barely escapes a murder attempt. He then sets out to take his revenge on the woman and the gang boss who put her up to it.

Director: Sergio Sollima
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Michel Constantin
Certificate: GP Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A neurosurgeon with a cheating wife takes an amnesiac into his home and conditions him to believe that the cheating wife is his own and to take the "appropriate" action.

Director: Nicolas Gessner
Stars: Charles Bronson, Anthony Perkins, Jill Ireland
Chino (1973)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Chino Valdez is a loner horse breeder living in the old west. Partly a loner by choice, and partly because, being a 'half-breed', he finds himself unwelcome almost everywhere he goes. One ... See full summary »

Directors: John Sturges, Duilio Coletti
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Marcel Bozzuffi
Cold Sweat (1970)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A brutal drug trader takes his violent revenge after his wife is captured by a drug boss.

Director: Terence Young
Stars: Charles Bronson, James Mason, Liv Ullmann
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Arizona cop is sent to Switzerland to bring in the girlfriend of a dangerous mobster so she can testify against him. The mobster sends someone too - assassins.

Directors: Stuart Rosenberg, John Huston
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Rod Steiger
Borderline (1980)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

On the U.S.-Mexican border, border cop Jeb Maynard is hunting for a human smuggler responsible for Jeb partner's murder.

Director: Jerrold Freedman
Stars: Charles Bronson, Bruno Kirby, Bert Remsen
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A professional killer comes out ot retirement to investigate and avenge the brutal murder of an old friend.

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Charles Bronson, Theresa Saldana, Joseph Maher
Crime | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A US Army colonel in France tries to track down an escaped sex maniac.

Director: René Clément
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Marlène Jobert
Breakout (1975)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A bush pilot is hired for $50,000 to go to Mexico to free an innocent prisoner.

Director: Tom Gries
Stars: Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, Jill Ireland
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Top detective Lou Torrey is transferred to Los Angeles and uncovers a plot by a Sicilian mafioso to use Vietnam veterans to murder all his enemies in a rerun of the "Sicilian Vespers" when ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Charles Bronson, Martin Balsam, Jack Colvin
Red Sun (1971)
Action | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The Japanese ambassador is traveling through the Wild West by train, when gangsters hold up the train, to rob a gold shipment. They also carry an ancient Japanese sword the ambassador was ... See full summary »

Director: Terence Young
Stars: Charles Bronson, Toshirô Mifune, Alain Delon
Chato's Land (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

After Pardon Chato, a mestizo, kills a US marshal in self-defense, a posse pursues him, but as the white volunteers advance deep in Indian territory they become more prey than hunters, ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jack Palance, James Whitmore


Cast overview, first billed only:
Maria Reina Valachi
Walter Chiari ...
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ...
Ryan (as Gerald O'Loughlin)
Amedeo Nazzari ...
Gaetano Reina
Fausto Tozzi ...
Pupella Maggio ...
Letizia Reina
Angelo Infanti ...
Guido Leontini ...
Tony Bender
María Baxa ...
Mario Pilar ...
Franco Borelli ...
Alessandro Sperli ...
Giuseppe 'Joe the Boss' Masseria (as Alessandro Sperlì)


When Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson) has a price put on his head by Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura), he must take desperate steps to protect himself while in prison. An unsuccessful attempt to slit his throat puts him over the edge to break the sacred code of silence. Written by Richard Jones <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The syndicate. Genovese. Anastasia. Luciano. Masseria. Lucchese. Maranzano. The way they lived - The way they died. See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 January 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Cosa Nostra  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The "Cosa Nostra", the Italian criminal syndicate in Sicily, which is also known as "The Mafia", translates into the English language as "Our Thing". Director Terence Young commented that "actually, the word 'Mafia' is never used by Italians because it is a word used only by outsiders. Italians talk about it as the Cosa Nostra, and we show how it came into being". Young stated that the terms "Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra" were both used on the movie's sound track. Moreover, Young maintained at the time of the film's launch that Joseph Valachi was "the only time when an insider in the Cosa Nostra broke his oath and told his story". See more »


The closing narration states that Vito Genovese died six months earlier than Joe Valachi. In fact, Genovese predeceased Valachi by more than two years. See more »


Tony Bender: "Cut it off!" Bender to his two henchman as they grab Gap to get a "present" for Don Vito's girlfriend.
See more »


Referenced in Terence Young: Bond Vivant (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It probably didn't help that this came out the same year as "The Godfather".
19 April 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I truly think if this film had come out earlier it would today be thought of as a better film. After all, it's FAR better than its current rating of 6.8. That's because 1972 was the same year that "The Godfather" debuted and the utter greatness of "The Godfather" probably overwhelmed "The Valachi Papers"---as both touch on very similar subject matter. The main difference is that "The Godfather" was based fictionalized characters and had a true elegance about the film. "The Valachi Papers" in contrast was a much more straight forward story based on real mob figures--and it's a dandy film.

The film begins in the early 1960s. Mobster Joseph Valachi is in prison and multiple attempts are made on his life. It seems that someone in the organization has talked--and the mob of bosses, Genovese (Lino Ventura) believes it was Valachi. And, not surprisingly, a contract has been placed on Valachi's head. This has the unintended consequence of forcing Valachi to to authorities. Almost all the rest of the film consists Valachi giving his story to the government agent. What follows is a very long story about Valachi's earliest days in the mob (about 1930) up to the arrest that brought him to prison--and a bit beyond.

The story is helped a lot by the films's length--a little over two hours. You'd need at least this much to tell such a long and complicated story. It also helps that Charles Bronson is given some excellent support. Among the many wonderful actors, one really surprised me--Lino Ventura. I've seen him in many French films (mostly Pierre Melville productions) and have LOVED his acting--he plays a great mobster--cold and tough. I never realized that he spoke English so well--everything I've seen him in up until now has been in French. Here, he very credibly plays an Italian-American! The script also was quite good. While not quite as human and interesting as "The Godfather", it sure was good...very, very good.

There's almost nothing negative I could say about the film other than very minor things. Bronson was too old for this role. When the film began he was supposed to be 27--but looked about twice that. Also, a few times anachronistic elements somehow made their way in--such as cars that were from the wrong time period. But, as I said, this is all very minor.Aside from this, a top quality production that deserves more recognition. Gritty, exciting and fascinating as well.

By the way, although IMDb lists the movie as being rated PG, the version I saw was way too bloody and filled with nudity to have been rated PG. The lesbian scene along would have merited a rating of R. Perhaps this was a director's cut or perhaps it was not rated PG or perhaps there were just multiple versions.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is it just me or is this an awful lot like Goodfellas? mglasson
Is the castration scene true? gonog998
Only PG rated? zauis1234
Other films on the old time gangsters? doo-buzz
dvd kidchocolate
UK DVD out today..... willyphilli
Discuss The Valachi Papers (1972) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: