The Valachi Papers

1972

Crime / Drama

5
IMDb Rating 6.6

Synopsis


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2.39G
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23.976 (23976/1000) fps /
125 min
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1.51G
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125 min
P/S 2 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by planktonrules 9/10

I truly think if this film had come out earlier it would today bethought of as a better film. After all, it&#x27;s FAR better than itscurrent rating of 6.8. That&#x27;s because 1972 was the same year that &#x22;TheGodfather&#x22; debuted and the utter greatness of &#x22;The Godfather&#x22; probablyoverwhelmed &#x22;The Valachi Papers&#x22;---as both touch on very similarsubject matter. The main difference is that &#x22;The Godfather&#x22; was basedfictionalized characters and had a true elegance about the film. &#x22;TheValachi Papers&#x22; in contrast was a much more straight forward storybased on real mob figures--and it&#x27;s a dandy film.<br><br>The film begins in the early 1960s. Mobster Joseph Valachi is in prisonand multiple attempts are made on his life. It seems that someone inthe organization has talked--and the mob of bosses, Genovese (LinoVentura) believes it was Valachi. And, not surprisingly, a contract hasbeen placed on Valachi&#x27;s head. This has the unintended consequence offorcing Valachi to to authorities. Almost all the rest of the filmconsists Valachi giving his story to the government agent. What followsis a very long story about Valachi&#x27;s earliest days in the mob (about1930) up to the arrest that brought him to prison--and a bit beyond.<br><br>The story is helped a lot by the films&#x27;s length--a little over twohours. You&#x27;d need at least this much to tell such a long andcomplicated story. It also helps that Charles Bronson is given someexcellent support. Among the many wonderful actors, one reallysurprised me--Lino Ventura. I&#x27;ve seen him in many French films (mostlyPierre Melville productions) and have LOVED his acting--he plays agreat mobster--cold and tough. I never realized that he spoke Englishso well--everything I&#x27;ve seen him in up until now has been in French.Here, he very credibly plays an Italian-American! The script also wasquite good. While not quite as human and interesting as &#x22;TheGodfather&#x22;, it sure was good...very, very good.<br><br>There&#x27;s almost nothing negative I could say about the film other thanvery minor things. Bronson was too old for this role. When the filmbegan he was supposed to be 27--but looked about twice that. Also, afew times anachronistic elements somehow made their way in--such ascars that were from the wrong time period. But, as I said, this is allvery minor.Aside from this, a top quality production that deserves morerecognition. Gritty, exciting and fascinating as well.<br><br>By the way, although IMDb lists the movie as being rated PG, theversion I saw was way too bloody and filled with nudity to have beenrated PG. The lesbian scene along would have merited a rating of R.Perhaps this was a director&#x27;s cut or perhaps it was not rated PG orperhaps there were just multiple versions.

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Reviewed by birck 7/10

I give this a 7 stars because it was made the same year as Godfather I,so it didn&#39;t benefit from all the film-industry wisdom that followedthat production. Rather, this is a character study of one mafioso,which is a separate issue from the operatic, all-systems-GOno-holds-barred approach Coppola was able to employ in The Godfather.it&#39;s a smaller film, and should be compared to, say, Mobsters (1991),which deals with the same period and some of the same characters asV.P. Charles Bronson&#39;s Valachi is adequate. He&#39;s a workaday,uneducated, down- home mob guy, and Bronson plays him as if he werePolish, with a job that he goes to every day, where everyone talksItalian. Because it is through his eyes that we see his world, some ofthe other characters become more vivid, e.g., Joseph Wiseman asSalvatore Maranzano. When I compare the casting of the incomparableJoseph Wiseman in this role as opposed to, say, Michael Gambon in thesame role in Mobsters, or Anthony Quinn as an equally old-school rivalin the same film, I wonder: None of these actors are Italian -Americanor even simply Italian; why do some of them work, and the others don&#39;t?Granted that Wiseman, Quinn and Gambon are all consummate professionalsand true craftsmen as actors, if anyone mentions Salvatore Maranzanoand the Castellammarese gang war of 1929, the face that will come to mymind is that of Joseph Wiseman. He and Charles Bronson make this filmworth seeing.

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Reviewed by thinker1691 9/10

America has always been a land of opportunity. For the Italians, nonemore so than giving rise to an American icon, the Gangster. For manyyears, the U.S. government denied the existence of Organized crime.Even the top U.S. law enforcement officer and head of the famed FederalBureau of Investigation, J.Edgar Hoover, denied such an organizationexisted. His apathy was due in part to his own shadowy complicity withthe Giancana crime family. That&#39;s pretty much how it stayed until theadvent of the McClellen commission. The movie &quot; The Valachi Papers &quot; isthe direct result of that investigation and brought to the forefront ofpublic awareness the vast network of the underworld&#39;s crime bosses andtheir families. The wellspring of that knowledge was none other thanthe most famous gangster since Al Capone, one, Joseph Valachi. Histestimony, created a healthy respect and awe for the Mafia or asValachi termed it, La Cosa Nostra. (Our thing) This movie is acompilation of his criminal life, dastardly deeds and the revelation ofsome of the nation&#39;s most notable names. Men like Vito Genovese,Anastasia, &#39;Lucky Luciano&#39; Don Masseria and Marazano. The film ishonest when it deals with its legendary brutality and bodies are leftthroughout the story including its most graphic moments. The end resultis perhaps the best Mafia movie since the Godfather. ****

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