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The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971)

This is the funny story about two warring Mafia gangs in New York City. The weaker gang uses a lion to blackmail the opposite gang's "clients". The police succeed in stopping one of the gangs, while the other remains without the boss.


James Goldstone


Jimmy Breslin (novel), Waldo Salt


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Orbach ... Kid Sally
Leigh Taylor-Young ... Angela
Jo Van Fleet ... Big Momma
Lionel Stander ... Baccala
Robert De Niro ... Mario
Irving Selbst Irving Selbst ... Big Jelly
Hervé Villechaize ... Beppo (as Herve Villechaize)
Joe Santos ... Exmo
Carmine Caridi ... Tony, the Indian
Frank Campanella Frank Campanella ... Water Buffalo
Harry Basch ... DeLauria
Sander Vanocur ... Television Commentator
Philip Bruns ... Gallagher (as Phil Bruns)
Philip Sterling ... District Attorney Goodman
Jack Kehoe ... Bartender
Learn more

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This is the funny story about two warring Mafia gangs in New York City. The weaker gang uses a lion to blackmail the opposite gang's "clients". The police succeed in stopping one of the gangs, while the other remains without the boss.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gang | police | lion | mafia | gang war | See All (10) »


The hilarious comedy about dis-Organized Crime.


Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including some violence, racial slurs, drug use and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


While Paramount brass dithered over whether to cast him as Michael Corleone, the role that would make him a star, a frustrated Al Pacino signed up for the role of Mario Trantino in this movie. When Paramount finally decided to offer him The Godfather (1972) role, they had to buy him out of his contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ironically, the role went to Robert De Niro, whom The Godfather: Part II (1974) would also help to make a star. See more »


When Angela arrives at the airport, she exits the taxi and enter the terminal without paying the cab driver. There are no pockets in her dress and she had no purse to hold money so she could have not paid him before exiting the cab. See more »


Kid Sally: Anybody looks to rob me, I put 'em under the water.
See more »

User Reviews

I wouldn't ROAR about this movie
26 July 2013 | by Ed-ShullivanSee all my reviews

I always want to see a movie that has Robert DeNiro starring in it, so seeing him play Mario an imported Italian bicycle racer who will steal anything even if it is nailed down, was unique. This movie was made in 1971 when Mr. DeNiro was very hungry for lead roles so you can't blame him for the movie's poor content and flow. The movie evolves around a band of goofy dressed Italian mobsters led by Jerry Orbach as Kid Sully who spoof the Mafioso, and Kid Sully's Big Momma (the Godmother figure) is played by a convincing Jo Van Fleet. She certainly nailed her part and blends sweetness with ripe viciousness.

There were some smaller parts for good actors such as Burt Young, as Willie Quarqulo the bomb maker, Jack Kehoe as a scared bartender assigned to spike two of the rival gang's drinks, and Lionel Stander as the made man Baccala.

I guess the animal rights groups made pictures like this a target for changing the times, as the poor lion was mistreated in front of the camera by a few of the actors, including a scene which shows the fully grown lion shackled to the conveyor belt in a car wash and forced to go through the car wash even if it was just with sprayed water. The lion appears in quite a few scenes and does some stunts that needed a great Animal Trainer to handle. I was very surprised that the lion did not receive any acting credit what so ever, nor did the animal trainers. Shame on you MGM.

Well I wouldn't roar about this movie, (no pun intended) but it is a victim of the times, and the screenplay could have been a lot stronger even for a mafioso spoof.

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Release Date:

21 July 1972 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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