9 Best Actors From ‘The Sopranos’ Who Also Appeared in ‘The Godfather’ Trilogy


David Chase‘s critically acclaimed drama, The Sopranos, is universally recognized as one of the greatest shows of all time and features some of the most memorable performances and iconic moments in television history. Even decades after its controversial finale, The Sopranos reigns as a superior series and continues to recruit dozens of new fans around the world today.

While most fans recognize an array of Soprano stars from other popular gangster movies like Goodfellas and Casino, there are several actors who also appeared in Francis Ford Coppola‘s, The Godfather trilogy. Some such as Dominic Chianese as Johnny Ola in The Godfather II are well known, but other minor actors from The Sopranos like Richard Bright and John Aprea had significant roles in the iconic film franchise.

The Sopranos

Release Date
January 10, 1999

James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Steve Van Zandt, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa

Main Genre



9 Richard Maldone – Albert Barese

Played Bodyguard in ‘The Godfather III’

Richard Maldone talking to David Proval in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

DiMeo soldier, Albert “Ally Boy” Barese made his first appearance in season two, episode two, ‘Knight in White Satin Armor,’ when he meets with Richie Aprile (David Proval). After his cousin, Lorenzo “Larry Boy” Barese (Tony Darrow), is indicted for racketeering with the other major players, Barese becomes the acting capo of his crew and appears in several episodes throughout the show.

In The Godfather III, a young Maldone plays one of Joey Zasa’s (Joe Mantegna) bodyguards, but unfortunately, he doesn’t receive credit for the role. According to The New York Post, Maldone earned his role on The Sopranos after he bypassed security during filming and boldly approached James Gandolfini saying, “Someday, I’m going to play on this show.”

8 John Aprea – Gene Conigilaro

Played Salvatore Tessio in ‘The Godfather II’

John Aprea_The Sopranos
Image via HBO

In season one, episode 13, ‘I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano,’ Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) and several others are arrested by the FBI on racketeering charges. When Junior is behind bars, he’s brought into an interrogation room where he is offered immunity by U.S. Attorney, Gene Conigilaro, but despite the current conflict between Junior and his nephew, he refuses to take the deal.

While Aprea’s part in The Sopranos may be brief, he had a larger role in The Godfather II as a young Salvatore Tessio who didn’t speak a word of English. In 1988, Aprea told The Shreveport Journal that playing a younger version of Abe Vigoda‘s character and sharing scenes with Robert De Niro was a “high point” in his career, and is forever grateful to have worked with a legend like Coppola.

7 Vito Antuofermo – Bobby Zanone

Played Anthony Squgilaro in ‘The Godfather III’

Vito Antuofermo on the phone in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

In the opening scene in season 2, episode 11, ‘House Arrest,’ a front for the Aprile crew, Zanone Bros. Private Carting, sends one of their trucks to dump a massive amount of trash in front of a business owned by a customer who complained about the pricing and service. When the gentleman calls in a rage, a DiMeo associate and owner, Bobby Zanone answers the phone and is amused by the man’s ranting and raving.

Antuofermo’s appearance in The Sopranos is small, but some may recognize him from The Godfather III as Joey Zasa’s enforcer, Anthony “The Ant” Squigilaro. Antuofermo and his family moved from Italy to the United States when he was 17 years old and established himself as a World Middleweight Boxing Champion, but when his career slowed down in the 1980s, he started studying acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute.

6 Frank Albanese – Uncle Pat Blundetto

Played Hitman in ‘The Godfather,’ and Grand Marshal in ‘The Godfather III’

Frank Albanese sitting at a table in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

In season 5, episode 10, ‘Cold Cuts,’ fans meet Uncle Pat Blundetto who resides on a picturesque farm in upstate New York, which has recently been sold. Before the new owners can move in, Tony decides to send Christopher and Tony B (Steve Buschemi) to visit their uncle and also remove three bodies from his property without drawing attention to themselves.

Albanese was an American actor who was known for his mobster characters and appeared in both The Godfather and The Godfather III in minor roles. In The Godfather, Albanese plays the hitman who takes out the man and woman in bed during the film’s final scene, which is considered to be one of the most iconic finales in cinema history. Albanese returned to Coppola’s franchise in The Godfather III as the Grand Marshal who leads the parade during the St. Gennaro feast.

5 Richard Bright – Frank Crisci

Played Al Neri in ‘The Godfather,’ ‘The Godfather II,’ ‘The Godfather III’

Richard Bright sitting in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

When Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola) refuses to drop the issue about Ralph mocking his wife, Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. (Tony Lip) hints to Tony to sanction a hit on Johnny. To avoid drawing suspicion to either of the families, Uncle Junior recommends to Tony to hire an old school mobster from Rhode Island, Lou “DiMaggio” Galina (Joseph Castellana), and his experienced crew for the job.

In season 4, episode 4, ‘The Weight,’ actor, Richard Bright, plays a gangster and long-time member of Galina’s crew, Frank Crisci. Casting Bright as the imaginative Crisci was more than fitting for the actor who is best known for his role as Michael Corelone’s bodyguard, Al Neri, and appeared in all three of The Godfather movies. Bright’s character is remembered for being the last face Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton) sees as the door closes at the end of the first film and also for killing Fredo Corleone (John Cazale) in part II.

4 Vittorio Duse – Don Zi Vittorio

Played Don Tommasino in ‘The Godfather III’

Vittorio Duse talking to James Gandolfini in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

In season 2, episode 4, ‘Commendatori,’ Tony, Christopher, and Paulie (Tony Sirico) travel to Italy to negotiate with a local crime family in Naples about smuggling stolen high-end cars into Italy. When they join the family for dinner, Tony expects to speak to the boss, Don Vittorio but to his dismay, Vittroio is in poor health and relies on his daughter, Annalisa (Sofia Milos) who is acting boss of the family.

Italian actor and director, Duse makes a minor appearance in The Sopranos as Don Vittroio who despite his character’s confusion, provides a bit of comic relief to the rather tense scene. Duse made quite a name for himself in Italy but outside the country, he’s best known for taking on the role of Don Tommasino in The Godfather III. The character was originally played by Corrado Gaipa, but unfortunately, Gaipa passed away a year prior to the release of the third film.

3 Tony Sirico – Paulie Gualtieri

paulie-walnuts-tony-sirico feature
Image via HBO

Former wise guy, Tony Sirico, played one of the series’ most beloved characters, Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri who is best known for the wings in his hair, his velour tracksuits, and his no-nonsense attitude. Before landing the role of Paulie on The Sopranos, Sirico had appeared in several notable films including Goodfellas, Bullets Over Broadway, Gotti, and Cop Land, but before his credited roles, he was an extra in The Godfather II.

According to the podcast, Talking Sopranos, Sirico became interested in acting while serving time behind bars, and after his release, he met and studied under actor, Michael Gazzo, who is best known for his role as Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather II. Like any actor, Sirico started out in bit parts, but one of his first gigs was playing an extra alongside his mentor, Gazzo, in the second film.

2 Tony Lip – Carmine Lupertazzi Sr.

Played Barzini’s Henchman in ‘The Godfather’

Tony Lip talking to James Gandolfini in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

American actor, Tony Lip, is known for his mob boss roles in movies like Goodfellas and Donnie Brasco, but he’s widely recognized for his portrayal as New York crime boss, Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. Prior to his acting career, Lip worked as a bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub and in 1962, he was hired as a bodyguard and driver for pianist, Don Shirley, which inspired the 2018 Oscar-nominated movie, Green Book.

One night in 1972, Lip met Coppola and casting director, Louis DiGiaimo, while working at the Copacabana, which led to him making his feature film debut as a henchman for Emilio Barzini (Richard Conte) in The Godfather. Despite his brief screen time, it’s pretty impressive that Lip made his first film appearance in one of the greatest films in history and went on to appear in other box office hits including Raging Bull, Dog Day Afternoon and The Pope of Greenwich Village.

1 Dominic Chianese – Corrado “Junior” Soprano

Played Johnny Ola in ‘The Godfather II’

Dominic Chianese sitting at a table in The Sopranos
Image via HBO

American actor and singer, Dominic Chianese, stars in The Sopranos as Tony’s uncle and New Jersey boss, Corrado “Junior” Soprano. Early on in his career, Chianese appeared in a handful of off-Broadway plays and eventually studied with renowned acting coach, Walt Witcover. Chianese went on to appear on Broadway in the 1965 production of Oliver! and made his television debut in the series, East Side/West Side starring George C. Scott.

In 1974, Chianese earned his breakthrough role as Johnny Ola in The Godfather II, which led to a film career as well as working with his co-star, Al Pacino, in several plays and movies including …And Justice for All and Dog Day Afternoon. Aside from acting, Chianese is also a renowned singer and in season 3, episode 13, ‘Army of One,’ he performs the Italian love song, ‘Core ‘ngrato,’ which many consider to be one of the series’ most memorable moments.

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