The Gangster Chronicles (TV Mini-Series 1981– ) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
8 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
10/10
An extremely well-written and entertaining mob history.
Lloyd Rutzky27 April 2003
Ranking with the great mini-series of all-time (ROOTS, ROOTS: THE NEXT GENERATIONS, HOLOCAUST, BLIND AMBITION, BACKSTAIRS AT THE WHITE HOUSE, and MASADA), this was a superb retelling of the history of organized crime in America. Pretty much based on fact, but also loaded with a few fabrications, it tells the story of how Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky basically invented "the mob" in the early thirties which exists to this very day. Meyer Lansky, however, was still alive in 1981 when this was made so his name was changed to Michael Lasker and he was excellently portrayed as an adult by Brian Benben. Charles "Lucky" Luciano, played as an adult with solid charm and confidence by Michael Nouri, has his major source of revenue, prostitution, falsely seen as something he'd never be involved with. But, hey, this was TV in the 80's and NBC must've wanted to avoid censorship. And since the show almost made Luciano look like a guy who only became a criminal because it was the smart thing to do, if they'd shown him cleaning up as a pimp it would've been too much. Perhaps the most dynamic performance of THE GANGSTER CHRONICLES, though, was by Joe Penny as the adult Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. As Michael Lasker's boyhood friend he joins forces with Charlie and Michael as they drift from small-time hoods to underworld kingpins, though Bugsy was more of a muscleman than the mastermind who put the "organization" together. The first half of THE GANGSTER CHRONICLES features powerful narration by E.G. Marshall who ended every chapter by saying, just in case you thought these guys were heroes, that "Charlie Luciano, Michael Lasker and Ben Siegel were hardened criminals who lived by a cruelty that would someday destroy them." But the show is so entertaining you really will find it hard not to root for Charlie, Michael & Ben as they take on the real "bad guys" like Al Capone, Dutch Schultz and earlier, Joe The Boss Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. The rest of the cast was terrific including Richard Castellano as Joe The Boss, Madeline Stowe as Michael's wife, Kathleen Lloyd as Ben's wife, Allan Arbus as Charlie's youthful friend and cleaning store operator Mr. Goodman, Robert Davi as Vito Genovese, Markie Post as Charlie's onetime girlfriend, Jonathan Banks as Dutch Schultz, Louis Giambalvo as Al Capone, Jon Polito as Tommy Lucchese, James Andronica as Frank Costello, and Alex Rocco as a hood who uses similar lines in a dispute with Luciano to the ones he used as Moe Greene in THE GODFATHER, the greatest movie of all-time, by far. Shot down by weak ratings and NBC's favoring of the even weaker-rated (at the time) of the fabulous HILL STREET BLUES, it was a shame the show ended with so much left to tell in 1932.
23 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Gangster Chronicles
terri-1028 January 2007
I would like to see this mini-series again,(also I would like my boys to see this) I watched this round about 1981 possibly, it was when my children were small I used to get them into bed so I did not have any disturbance, phone would be left off the hook - it used to come on at 11.00 on a Monday night for 2 hours. I have seen a condensed version of the story but it does not have the characters in it who are in the mini-series. Me and my family loved this series we couldn't wait for the next Monday to come. I bought the Gangster Chronicles DVD on the ebay just before Christmas 2006 but its like a documentary thing not what I want, I wondered if there was anybody out there who has this series so i can watch it along with the rest of my family. This miniseries was great, you did not want to get up and make a cup of tea as I did not want to miss any of it. I like the Godfather but I preferred this because it showed you how they were when they were kids. thanks hopefully Terri.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
the best yet and i have seen many
starchile578 January 2004
superbly written and acted. easy to follow and engaging. i am a fan of the godfather trilogy but i like this better!!!! the only miniseries that i stopped what i was doing or rushed home to watch. michael nouri and brian benben were outstanding. basically you are drawn to the charators.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
The Best
HALUK KILIC2 July 2009
I watched this series when I was 13. I remembered I watched them all in one weekend and it was beta video tape format and guess around 12 tapes. As I have personal interest in Mafia movies and series I can easily say this is one of the best mafia series I have ever watched. Micheal Nouri , Joe Panny and Brian Benben was great and espeacially Johnathan Banks as Dutch Shultz was extraordinary. It was a true story of orginise crime in New York from 1900 to 1930's and foundation of orginise crime in USA. The hit of Joe Masseria in Coney Island restaurant and hit of Dutch Shultz in a phonebox was unforgettable scenes. You can not compare this series with now a days phenomenon Sopranos because yes Sopranos is really great however it is fiction but Gangster Chronichles based on a true story and events. I would be really happy to watch it again but there is no DVD or VHS format of the series is available anywhere.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
I want to obtain The Gangsetr Chronicles (1981) mini-series
r-dury16 July 2007
I notice a comment from Terri in the UK. I have the same problem. I want a copy of the original Gangster Chronicles - not the documentary sent to me from Amazon. This was still very good but, as Terri found, it was virtually 'news' clips and was NOT the original mini-series, as I remember it. As others have said - it was a proper history performed as portrayed by proper actors - such as Michael Nouri as Luck Luciano, Robert Davi as Vito Genovese and in particular Richard Castellano as Joe 'The Boss' Masseria. Can anybody out there tell me where I can get a copy? I cannot get, also, in the UK The Borgia Stick (1967) TV. and Timestalkers (1987) TV. Where do I go to get these please? RON DURY
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Superb series, but did it finish without a proper ending??
frank-ravlen4 March 2009
Whether it was the TV company scheduling (or mis-scheduling!) but it seemed to me to stop in mid- action. Did you feel this? Just like 'Amazon' did! This was my first sight of both Joe Penny and Michael Nouri and I have followed with interest their careers from then to date. As an avid reader of all things Mafia styled this was the most authentic portrayal of that lifestyle until the more recent Sopranos and Goodfellas.Why have the TV companies never repeated this series? It would be a welcome change from some of the current dross that is being shown. The epithet 'Lucky' was given to Luciano after he survived a severe beating and left for dead in a wooded area, not as some say due to his gambling luck.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
This is just my opinion ,I love this movie, it's right up there w/ Godfather, casino, Goodfellows etc.
bes-7535721 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Someone asked who was Vito Corleone from the Godfather, because they like this movie much better because it used real people. First of all Vito was a combination of Frank Costello, and Joe Profaci with a hint of Willie Moretti who found "Johnny Fontaine" in a club (Frank Sinatra in New Jersey and sponsored him . With Moe green (Benny Siege) name is derived from the two men that took over the Flamingo with his untimely demise Moe Sedway and Gus Greenbaum hence the name Moe Green . Now as for the other events in the Godfather even down to Frank Pantangely getting almost choke to death by the Resotto brothers that was actually one of the Gallo brothers Larry and he had another brother Albert and then there was Crazy Joe Gallo use it has been cited that he had Jerome Brown shot Joe Columbo in Columbus square and went into a coma for several years afterwards. However in Gangster Chronicles (Wars) seemed to be a little more like a biographical depiction . Of how things basically went down from the Castellamarese War between the Joe Masseri faction and Salvortore Maranzano . as depicted by Joe Valachi in 1963 testifying against Vito Genovese Frank Pantangely , and Michael Corleone. You just have to know what happened in reality to know who these guys are . Well enough for now as I'm not even going to spell check this . Just trying to help out fellow enthusiast, I hope that helps a little. drop me a line if . you have more question. I love this stuff.. BS, 426@gmail.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Gangster Chronicles
Jay Sherman7 May 2008
I own a VHS of the Gangster Chronicles from the mini series but I think I may be missing some episodes. I have about 5 hrs without commercials.

I just bought the Gangster Wars on DVD but its condensed to about 2 hrs.

The Godfather was great( at least 1 & 2) but The Gangster Chronicles is better in my opinion as they were real characters. I mean who really is Vito Corleone? Is it Luciano or Genovese or Anastasia?

My father got me interested in Gangster movies when I was a young kid as my father was born and raised in Brownsville,NY. My Grandfather was even involved in a shootout with Murder Inc.

I wish I could go back to the 20s and I would have ran sh*t
3 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews