Top 10 James Gandolfini Films

Neal Damiano pays tribute to late actor James Gandolfini. Widely remembered as Tony Soprano in HBO’s award-winning television drama The Sopranos, he also appeared in many great films.

10. Crimson Tide (Scott, 1995)

James Gandolfini Films
When a volatile Russian nationalist and Soviet Union Army seize control of a nuclear missile base, it starts the biggest global emergency since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world on the edge of disaster, the USS Alabama sets sail, patrolling Russian waters with enough firepower to start another World War. As the crisis continues, the unthinkable occurs: the Alabama is given an order to launch its nuclear missles. In the resulting Captain Frank Ramsey, and his executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Ron Hunter clash over orders and fight for control of the sub. With an all star cast it’s hard to stand out here, but Gandolfini shines bright in his small role as Lt Bobby Dougherty trying to help save the US from seige.

9. The Juror (Gibson, 1996)

James Gandolfini Films
Annie Laird ( Demi Moore) is selected as a juror in a Mafia trial, she is forced by someone known as “The Teacher” to persuade the other jurors to vote “not guilty”. He threatens to kill her son if she doesn’t commit. When the trial is over, he can’t let her go. James Gandolfini plays a viscious hitman named Eddie, this particular film really shows his acting ability, he is so convincing one would think he is actually in the mafia.

8. Get Shorty (Sonnenfeld, 1995)

James Gandolfini Films
Chili Palmer (Travolta) is a loanshark from Miami sent to Los Angeles to collect a debt from a famous film producer Harry Zimm ( Devito) Unknown to Zimm, Chili happens to be a big movie fan especially of B movies. So they hit it off due to their quirky personalitites. James Gandolfini plays a larger than life Hollywood stuntman, who moonlights as a body guard for the mob. His characters name is Bear if thats not cool enough alone. He is so likable in this character, clashing with Chili at first, but Chili finds a soft spot and offers him a job. Great chemistry between Gandolfini and Travolta some really funny moments.

7. The Mexican (Verbinski, 2001)

James Gandolfini Films
Jerry Welbach (Pitt) has two choices. His mob boss wants him to travel to Mexico to find an antique Pistol called The Mexican or he will die. The other choice is from his grilfriend Samantha (Roberts), who wants him to end his relationship with the mob. Leroy is a gay hit man (Gandolfini) sent to kidnap Sam in return of the priceless pistol safely. The film doesn’t get moving until Gandolfini picks up Roberts. The exchange between the two in this road trip romp is so entertaining and Gandolfini’s charisma really shines through here, whether he is telling Sam about a hit he did or the men in and out of his life. He has the ability to play characters normally you would hate, but he does it with such endearing charm you can’t help but like him. He does that very well in this film.

6. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012)

James Gandolfini Films
It’s been more than a decade since the attacks of 2001, but terrorist Osama Bin Laden is still out there, somewhere. A CIA operative travels down a long dark path that ends in the killing of the most notorious terrorist in history. Although a very small role, James Gandolfini is such a dominating force as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, with such a presence in the boardroom.

5. 8MM (Schumacher, 1999)

James Gandolfini Films
Starring Nic Cage as a survelliance expert hired to investigate a snuff film murder. Gandolfini plays Eddie Poole and quite possibly one of the sleaziest characters in film history. A low down and money hungry porno producer, who lures girls in only to exploit them. He plays this role so well and convincing that you actually hope and can’t wait until he gets his due. This happens to be one of my favorites performances from him because he is that good.

4. In The Loop (Iannucci, 2009)

James Gandolfini Films
A parody of the inner workings of U.S. and British government agencies and their international relations. General Miller is played by Gandolfini, and he puts his own humorous spin on it.

3. The Man Who Wasn’t There (Coen/Coen, 2001)

James Gandolfini Films
As the philandering store manager who finds himself suddenly blackmailed, Gandolfini injects Big Dave Brewster with a combination of fragility and rage that makes us sympathize with him despite being terrified.

2. The Last Castle (Lurie, 2001)

James Gandolfini Films
A battle of morals between inmates and the warden of a military prison, based on the US Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. Gandolfini plays Colonel Winter, a sadistic prison warden with military background. He is the perfect villain to Robert Redford with mental and physical warfare against each other. He is just so engaging with power in this film.

1. True Romance (Scott, 1993)

James Gandolfini Films
Gandolfini is so convincing as a sociopathic cold blooded killer in True Romance. I don’t believe they could of gotten anyone else to play this role better. The fight scene in the hotel room between him and Alabama, is one of the best fights in film history, in my opinion. James Gandolfini is one of the reasons why True romance is one of my favorite films. His dialogue in the hotel scene is both frightening and alluring, thats what makes James so great.

Written and compiled by Neal Damiano.
Follow Neal (@Nealreviews1) on Twitter by clicking here and read more of his reviews at FilmWad

More top 10 lists by Neal Damiano: Top 10 Christian Slater Films | Top 10 Cult Films | Top 10 Films You’ve Never Seen But Should Have | Top 10 Quintessential 1980s Films | Top 10 Slasher Films

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About the Author
Neal Damiano calls himself “an unhip film geek” who mixes his passion for movies with an enthusiasm for travel, music and journalism.

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  1. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    The above pretty much speaks for itself. I’m no Sopranos fan, but the man will certainly be missed.

  2. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    Thanks Rodney

    Have you seen my Top 10 American Indie Film list, yet?

  3. Avatar
    Pete Turner (@ilovethatfilm) Reply

    Great to see The Last Castle on here and so high! That’s probably my favourite! Never got round to The Sopranos though. RIP.

  4. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @Pete, interesting you say that, The Last Castle got horrible reviews, but I did include on the list, because of how amazing James Gandolfini’s performance is.

    Thanks for reading.

  5. Avatar
    Evan Crean Reply

    A bit embarrassed that I haven’t seen the majority of the movies on this list. I couldn’t stand Zero Dark Thirty, but I definitely can’t dispute that Gandolfini was great in it. His role in True Romance also happens to be my favorite. It’s a bit part that he totally owns and turns into a truly memorable character/scene. And while I wasn’t a huge fan of Burt Wonderstone, that was another recent film with Gandolfini where I enjoyed his presence. Sad that he’s gone.

  6. Avatar
    Alex Withrow Reply

    Nice dedication here. True Romance has to be tops, no doubt. Good call on 8mm… he is such a damn creep in that film.

  7. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @Evan, thanks for the read…….definitely check out 8MM & Get Shorty if you have not seen, those are two really good films as well as his performances. Also The Mexican he is really endearing in.

  8. Avatar
    Neal Damiano Reply

    @Alex, thanks – I would have to say, those two movies are my favorite of his work in film.

  9. Avatar
    Michael Scoates Reply

    I think the last film I saw James Gandolfini in was The Taking of Pelham 123 where he played the Mayor, so that makes a Top 11 for me 🙂

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