In 2018, five years after James Gandolfini’s untimely death, David Chase confirmed Warner’s Bro. (WB for short) and New Line Cinema bought the rights to produce “The Many Saints Of Newark.” A prequel film to the award winning HBO series and one of m favorite shows, “The Sopranos.” Set in The late 60s back when The Newark Riots happened in real life and The 70s, the story centers around Tony Soprano’s father Johnny Boy, his Uncle Junior and Christopher Moltisanti’s father Dickie. Meanwhile, a young Tony grows up in with dysfunctional family.
Originally slated to come out in 2020, COVID-19 forced WB to delay the film for an entire year until the ongoing epidemic is reduced. WB and New Line confirmed The Many Saints Of Newark will be released simultaneously in theaters and streaming on HBO Max as part of WB’s one year agreement releasing new films both on big and small screens.
As of October 2021, The Many Saints Of Newark is currently out in theaters and streaming on HBO Max. It received positive reviews from critics, fans and movie goers alike. Plus, it’s slowly making money at the box office.
Made & Whack Elements
Made: Alessandro Nivola, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Leslie Odom Jr. Vera Farmiga, Michael Gandolfini & Ray Liotta all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Michael Gandolfini was born in 1999 around the same time The Sopranos first aired. He’s filling in his father’s legacy. To prepare for his father’s iconic role, Michael watched many episode to match Tony’s mannerisms. Michael actually bears a strong resemblance to James.
Michael Imperioli reprises his role as Christopher narrating his family roots.
Ray Liotta plays twins brothers. One of them is Christopher’s grandfather. Ray was originally a contender to portray Tony, but dropped out because he already played a gangster with personal issues.
Series creator David Chase produced and wrote the script.
Alan Taylor did an ok job directing.
Junior is my favorite character from the show. It’s good to see him in his younger years.
Humor retains the show’s black comedy, insulting one-liners and F-Bombs.
Cinematography never had any technical issues.
Set Pieces were manually built by set decorators.
The prequel recreates both time periods of The 60s & 70s making it look like we’re going back in time.
Costume Designs reflect the aforementioned decades.
Tony is way different prior to destiny becoming a ruthless gangster.
Christopher’s father Dickie is an interesting character. He’s a personification of Tony’s future. I also like Tony’s father Johnny Boy.
Death Scenes are brutal. If you have a weak stomach, bring a barf bag.
If you’re a longtime fan of The Sopranos, there’s several call-forwards to future episodes.
“Woke Up This Morning” the opening theme song, is played during The End Credits. Brings back good memories.
Whack: Product Placement (Pee Pee for short) featuring brands such as Coca-Cola, Chanel & Canada Dry. I’ll let this con slide, because I couldn’t find any other brand to shove down my throat.
If you’re a newcomer to the show, a massive spoiler gives away a crucial scene from Season 6. I have to subtract this flaw for anybody new.
Continuity Errors contradict the show’s timeline. Tony was born in 1959. In 1967, he’s a little bit older. A teenage Tony meets a baby Christopher in 1973. The latter was born in 1969, he would’ve been four. Dear future writers, I have two words for you, Continuity Matters.
The film’s runtime is two hours long. Could’ve stretched to four hours or split it into two parts further exploring more about Tony, Johnny Boy & Junior.
The Final Verdict: B-
As a fan of The Sopranos, I have to give The Many Saints Of Newark tough love when it comes to its weaknesses. Not a masterpiece like “Goodfellas” nor a clunker as in John Travolta’s “Gotti.” Just an average prequel getting to know Tony, Johnny Boy & Junior during The 60s and 70s. If you’re a fan of The Sopranos, give this film a try. If you haven’t seen the show, watch it first before you get a chance to see The Many Saints Of Newark.
A sequel is possibly in development with Michael Gandolfini reprising his role as Tony Soprano. If it’s happening, I want it to clock in four hours or a full fledge series filling in the gaps of Tony’s early mob days. David Chase is interested in moving forward. There’s a possibility Terrence Winter (The Wolf Of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire) might work with David again.