More than Tony Soprano… 5 of James Gandolfini’s finest performances
James Gandolfini

He may have been best-known for the way he cast an Italian-American mafia boss in a whole new light throughout six seasons of The Sopranos, but James Gandolfini also delivered scene-stealing turns in a wide range of films.

Following the actor’s sad and untimely death, WOW247 looks back at five of his greatest movie performances.

James Gandolfini
[James Gandolfini as a US general in Armando Ianucci’s In the Loop]

True Romance (1993)

Gandolfini made an unforgettable early impression as brutal mob enforcer Virgil in this Tony Scott-directed, Tarantino-penned thriller.

Veering terrifyingly from silent, smiling stalker to sadistic, relentless thug, his violent confrontation with Patricia Arquette is one of the film’s most intense scenes.

Get Shorty (1995)

Showing off his comic versatility in this brilliantly funny crime caper, Gandolfini stepped into the imposing shoes of ‘Bear’ – an imposing but soft-hearted muscle-man alternating between taking care of his young daughter and carrying out jobs for a ruthless drug dealer.

From slapstick pratfalls to a key role in the ending’s twisty-turny shenanigans, his performance lent a sympathetic edge to what could have been ‘just another henchman’.

The Last Castle (2001)

Channeling a more odious, insecure kind of vulnerability than his role in Get Shorty, the actor’s portrayal of a bitter, controlling and vindictive military prison commandant in this underrated drama is absolutely astonishing.

Undermined by the arrival of Robert Redford’s hero convict, and a subsequent revolt against his oppressive regime, the character’s weak, petty nature and mounting sense of desperation is conveyed with utter brilliance.

In The Loop (2009)

Armando Ianucci’s Oscar-nominated satire is a thing of hilarious, foul-mouthed beauty – and Gandolfini’s peace-loving General is a vital part of the biting political chaos that unfolds.

Parodying the events leading up to the Iraq war, the movie’s finest moments see Gandolfini clashing with Peter Capaldi’s obscenity-spewing spin-doctor in a series of jaw-droppingly funny scenes. It’s verbal, theatrical fireworks of the highest order.

Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

Spike Jonze’s tender, complex and captivating adaptation of the famous children’s book is a beautiful creation – and Gandolfini’s tormented creature Carol is its emotional heart.

Shifting between rage-filled tantrums, excitable joy and heartbreaking sorrow, his monumentally powerful performance provides the film’s most moving highlights. You’d have to be made of stone not to cry at one crucial juncture.

What’s your favourite James Gandolfini character?

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