Godfathers Collection: The True Story of the Mafia


Written & Edited by Peter S. Fischer, Richard Levinson, William Link
Narrated by Angela Lansbury, Tom Bosley, Michael Horton


  • Includes four Biography episodes: “Lucky Luciano: Chairman of the Mob,” “Meyer Lansky: Mob Tycoon,” “Genovese: Portrait of a Crime Family,” “Bugsy Siegel: Gambling on the Mob”

Released by: A&E Home Entertainment.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Eh, don’t bother.

We’ve all seen The Godfather series of films, Goodfellas, Casino, and the others. The Mafia has been the favorite subject for Hollywood since its inception. But how much is fact and how much is fiction. This Godfathers Collection shows us how the Mafia started as local gangs on the island of Sicily that emigrated with the rest of the huddled masses to America. With the massive boost of their income due to bootlegging alcohol and the brutal genius of men like Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky, they consolidated the various gangs into the Five Families of the Commission to truly organize crime and veil themselves in secrecy. However, the Mob became a victim of its own success and ego with flashy mobsters like Bugsy Siegel and others enjoying their wealth and power too much in the public eye. With the new generation of mobsters spoiled by easy money and their reputation, the Mafia started to show signs of falling apart. But as law enforcement will tell you, La Cosa Nostra is down but not out.

There’s not much I can say about this documentary. It’s very straight forward in its linear historical coverage of its subject. There’s plenty of film clips and the talking heads step up to fill in the gaps. One interesting aspect was the focus they gave to the connections between the mob in New York and the mob in Sicily. However, there is only a brief mention of Law Vegas, the City the Mob Built. Frankly trying to cover the century long history of the Mafia in ninety minutes shortchanges the subject matter.

The only extras the disc has to supplement the documentary is four Biography episodes featuring several big names in the Mafia. This helps a little but since Luciano, Lansky, and Siegel are contemporaries and worked together, these episodes have a lot of overlap. Why not include John Gotti or Al Capone?

Since there are no other special features, I really can’t recommend Godfathers Collection: The True History of the Mafia. If it happens to be on the History Channel, you might want to watch it, assuming a good rerun of Law & Order isn’t on.

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