The Sopranos: Season 1, Episode 8

The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti (28 Feb. 1999)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
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Ratings: 9.1/10 from 1,694 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

The FBI begins closing in on the DiMeo family. Tony and Carmela are angry over all the attention Italians get from the authorities, while Chris fumes that he's not getting enough attention.


(as Tim Van Patten)


(created by), , 1 more credit »
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:


It's house cleaning time when Tony and his fellow mobsters learn at Larry Boy Barese daughter's wedding that the Feds are about to bring down indictments. Tony gets rid of whatever cash, jewelry and guns he has around the house. Carmela take Livia out for lunch while Tony goes into her room and hides the stuff. Christopher is upset with a number of things. He's having trouble with his movie screenplay and he's upset that his late friend Brendan has been making the local news as a Mafioso but he doesn't get a mention. Jennifer Melfi meanwhile mentions at a family dinner that she has a mobster as a patient. Her ex-husband doesn't like it. Livia tells Junior that Tony is seeing a psychiatrist. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gangster | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

28 February 1999 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first "Sopranos" episode directed by Timothy Van Patten. Overall, he directed 20--more episodes by far than any other director in the series' history. See more »


When Chris gets to the bakery store, number 29 is up. Four customers later, the number on the wall is still 29 instead of 33. See more »


Salvatore 'Big Pussy' Bonpensiero: [to Christopher] You know who had an arc? Noah.
See more »


Featured in Making 'Cleaver' (2007) See more »


Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Mix)
Performed by A3
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User Reviews

Christopher's best moment in the first season
26 February 2008 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

Of all the superb characters David Chase created for The Sopranos, Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) has always been the most cinematic, in more ways than one: his knowledge of movies, especially gangster pictures, surpasses that of any other crew-member, his way of administering casual violence is taken from Scorsese and De Palma, and since Episode 1 he has struggled to hit it big as a screenwriter. The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti, title taken from a line by Drea de Matteo (she calls Imperioli "My Tennessee William"), shows him at his coolest, albeit in a darkly comic way.

While he keeps writing what he thinks will be a great script, Tony has to deal with the risk of federal indictments, and is forced to hide most of his possessions in case they decide to search his house. Moreover, the negative attention Italian-Americans are getting from the press prompts him to convince his kids Italians have done loads of great things, while at the other end of town Dr. Melfi and her family have a very similar conversation.

The series was famously criticized by several anti-defamation groups for allegedly depicting all people of Italian descent as criminals. First of all, that is absolutely ridiculous (Artie Bucco was no crook, and several FBI agents that appeared throughout the show's run were Italian). Secondly, how come these groups never grasped the pure irony of a show featuring a gangster who complains about the cultural image of his fellow countrymen? The whole scene where Tony blames the media for bad-mouthing all things Italian is one of the writing team's biggest strokes of genius, a daring moment of self-referential brilliance that few programs had been willing to use since Seinfeld's fourth season. How can something like that be negative?

In addition, as Dr. Melfi's son points out, gangster movies have become part of America's legacy, in the same league as the Western genre. And that legacy is explicitly referenced in the episode's most absurdly humorous scene: Chris enters a bakery (where one of the customers is played by Joseph R. Gannascoli, who would appear as Vito Spatafore from Season 2 onwards), perceives the clerk to be disrespectful and shoots him in the foot for it. "You shot me in the foot!" the poor guy screams as Chrissy leaves the scene. "It happens" he retorts. Imperioli should know: Joe Pesci shot him in Goodfellas for the very same reason. Cheeky, clever and memorable.

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