Gotti (1996 film)

Gotti: The Rise and Fall of a Real Life Mafia Don is a 1996 HBO original crime drama film made for television directed by Robert Harmon. The film stars Armand Assante in the title role as infamous Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, along with William Forsythe, and Anthony Quinn. Assante won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special for his performance. Assante also received a Golden Globe nomination the same year.

Promotional poster
Written bySteve Shagan
Directed byRobert Harmon
Music byMark Isham
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)David Coatsworth
CinematographyAlar Kivilo
Editor(s)Zach Staenberg
Running time116 minutes
Production company(s)HBO Pictures
Original release
  • August 17, 1996 (1996-08-17)


The film starts In 1973 in New York, and ends in 1992, with Gotti's imprisonment. Gotti's association with three mobsters is also highlighted in the film: a father-son like relationship with family underboss Aniello "Mr. Neil" Dellacroce, his deep but rocky friendship with Gotti crew member and longtime friend Angelo Ruggiero, and the respect and ultimate frustration that he felt for the man who became his underboss, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano. The film details Gotti's rise within the Gambino crime family and his ranks from soldier, then captain (or capo), and finally, boss. The final title was achieved through the dramatic murder in public of Gambino family boss Paul Castellano in 1985. Following the murder of Castellano, the film concentrates on the legal trials of John Gotti: one for assault and two for racketeering under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes. Gotti's famous personality, trial acquittals, and media attention are all dramatized. The film ends with Gotti's conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment at Marion Federal Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, because Gravano turns state's evidence and agrees to testify against Gotti. The film is primarily based on the columns of reporter Jerry Capeci, who also wrote the novel that documented Gotti's rise and fall inside the Gambino crime family, and served as executive producer of the film which was based on his novel.

Main cast


Shooting took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1] Assante put on 35 pounds to play Gotti.[2]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 60% of five surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.2/10.[3] Jeremy Girard of Variety called it "a fairly standard-issue gangster flick" that is problematic for its matter-of-fact presentation.[4] Caryn James of The New York Times criticized its "docudrama syndrome", in which biographical dramas adhere closely to the historical record to prevent lawsuits despite the need for more characterization.[5] Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times called it "one of the better mob movies of the decade, and surely the best gangster portrait ever made primarily for television".[6] TV Guide rated it 2/5 stars and described it as too detailed for casual viewers and too inaccurate for enthusiasts.[7]


Directors Guild of America AwardOutstanding Directing – Television FilmRobert HarmonNominated[8]
Golden GlobesBest Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmArmand AssanteNominated[9]
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television FilmAnthony Quinn
Best Miniseries or Television FilmGotti
Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or MovieAlar KiviloNominated[10]
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic SpecialRobert Harmon
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic SpecialSteve Shagan
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Miniseries or a SpecialEzra Dweck, Robert W. Glass, David Lee, Dan Wallin
Outstanding Television MovieDavid Coatsworth, Garry Lucchesi, Robert McMinn
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a SpecialArmand AssanteWon
Outstanding Editing for a Miniseries or a Special - Single Camera ProductionZach StaenbergNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieArmand AssanteNominated[11]

See also


  1. Blumenthal, Ralph (1996-08-11). "Best-Dressed Don Inspires a Drama". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  2. Randle, Nancy Jalasca (1996-08-16). "The Muscle Behind 'Gotti'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  3. "Gotti (1996)". Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  4. Gerard, Jeremy (1996-08-12). "Review: 'Gotti'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  5. James, Caryn (1996-08-17). "Making and Unmaking Of a Made Man: Gotti". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  6. Rosenberg, Howard (1996-08-17). "Sincerely Sinister". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  7. "Gotti". TV Guide. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  8. Snow, Shauna (1997-02-06). "Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  9. "Gotti | Golden Globe". Golden Globe Award. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  10. "Gotti". Primetime Emmy Award. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
  11. "The 3rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
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