The great lesson to take from this eagerly awaited prequel to HBO’s landmark crime drama The Sopranos? Tony Soprano never had a clear shot to avoid his brutal destiny.
The movie intertwines tales of New Jersey’s hair-trigger mobsters with the 1967 Newark race riots, focusing on the impressionable young Anthony (perfectly cast Michael Gandolfini, son of late series star James Gandolfini).
Tony is mentored by his dapper uncle Dickie Moltisanti (a subtle Alessandro Nivola), who would later have a son, the ill-fated Christopher (Michael Imperioli). Moltisanti — the name means “many saints” — “is struggling to escape his own fate,” Nivola explains, “but…can’t control his brief moments of violent rage.”
Dickie is one of few characters not seen in the series. Among those playing younger versions of Sopranos favorites, Vera Farmiga’s Livia (Tony’s judgmental mother) and Corey Stoll’s understated mob boss, Uncle Junior, stand out.
The Many Saints of Newark, Movie Premiere, Friday, October 1, In Theaters and on HBO Max
This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s 2021 Fall Preview issue. For more inside scoop on the new fall TV season, pick up the issue, on newsstands Thursday, August 26.