The Family comes out in theaters this Friday, September 13, and it stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones. The story centers around Giovanni Manzoni, a mafia boss who has a falling out in the business, and when you fall out with the mafia, you don’t just walk away and live happily ever after. So, he and his family get relocated under the witness protection program.
What piques my interested about The Family is that Michelle Pfeiffer and Dianna Agron’s characters are portrayed as tough women… or at least the trailer paints them that way. It looks like they will not be damsels in distress, but forces to be reckoned with, which is a refreshing take on mafia/gangster films. There are few tough women portrayed in this genre so I asked Twitter about which female characters really made an impression on them in the genre. Here are the few badass characters I could think of: Janine “Smurf” Cody (Jacki Weaver) in Animal Kingdom, Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction, Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) in Goodfellas, Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Scarface, and Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) in The Sopranos.
@MattStone12: Angelica Huston in Prizzis Honor.
@emhig: Salma Hayek in Savages.
@ocularnervosa: Big Bad Mama
@PeterGatt: Married to the Mob, Shelley Winters Bloody Mama
@Hokuboku: Mama from Dredd pops into mind. Most others I think of (which aren’t many) are more gangsters like Bonnie from Bonnie & Clyde
@Unoshato: Lucy Liu in kill bill is a badass
@jakebozek: not a mobster but Salma Hayek in Savages.
@K_McChristian: Mama Fratelli- Goonies.
@eVil_sQuirrelus: not sure if she counts but Madonna in Dick Tracy?
@ed_space: does Sin City count? Plenty of tough organised crime women there – or kill bill, female assassins..?
@earthtostephen: Off the top of my head “Ma-ma” from the movie Dredd was a drug-lord/gangster leader. Also Lucy Liu’s character from Kill Bill.
@pablo100: O-Ren Ishi in Kill Bill?
@TheMarkASimmons: O’Ren Ishii.
@Burns909: Not a film but still have nightmares about the mother from Sleeping Dogs
@_Jackalope_: O-Ren from Kill Bill, who by far was the best character in that film.
@Mistress_Reedus: Bonnie from Bonnie and Clyde!
@NerdAppropriate: Mama Fratelli from the Goonies!
@TigersMS78: jacki weaver – animal kingdom, Rosario Dawson in Sin City.
@wyrddrgn: Does Violet, from Bound, count? Mobster’s g/f who turns against him, takes the money and runs?
@damianjh: I only know Michelle Pfieffer in that one where she yell “I wanna divorce!”
@misterx313: in film not so much, on tv u have georgia rae mahoney from #Homicide
@ddogfilm: Bonnie Parker and Mia Wallace first come to mind
@notmikestark: Does Bonnie from “Bonnie and Clyde” count? That’s the only one remotely close that I could think of.
@NickSilly: I mean you could say Tony Soprano’s wife and Pacino’s wife in GF and what’s his name’s wife in Goodfellas
@DouglasCP: the Ladies of the Night in Sin City
@AzwarRico: Mama in 2012 Dredd
@steo76: Geena Rowlands in Gloria?!
@Shadowbat: Only one. Bonnie
@Daneresti20: Keira Knightley on Domino
@BrowncoatAnge: lucy liu’s character in Kill Bill.
@darklordoftheIT: the wife of Jimmy the Gent in Goodfellas was a bad ass bitch…not sure if she qualifies
@Tweek_Robles: Did you see Savages? All I can say is Salma Hayek…Damn
@SAssassian: Connie Corleone Godfather 3 not the best of the triology
@JakeChatty: There are female mobsters in Bloody Mama, The Goonies, Ma Barkers Killer Brood, Big Bad Mama, Cleopatra Jones, Savages, Traffic
@Ryeguy695: Big Bad Mama with Angie Dickenson
@oshidori: Mercedes Ruehl’s character in Married to the Mob and Ornella Muti’s in Oscar (though they are both comedies), Tommy Cotter (Pam Ferris) from Death to Smoochy!!
@boatloadsbaley: From the looks of it, Michelle Pfeiffer and the daughter in The Family. Have to wait and see for that.
@brandonjcarr: Mama Fratelli from Goonies.
@JohnHenderson73: Griselda Blanco in Cocaine Cowboys. It’s a doc but wholly hell does she put every fictional mob boss to shame.
@wyldride: Livia Saint from Punisher might qualify, depending on your point of view.
@mr_popcorn: O-Ren Ishii. Kristin Scott Thomas in Only God Forgives, most recently.
@tom0557: As for organized crime badass women, why not O-Ren from “Kill Bill”?
@jordan_is_ok: Lucy Liu in Kill Bill.
@mattsouthworth: Kristin Scott Thomas in ONLY GOD FORGIVES is chilling. Scary as hell.
@CooperChristina: basically no. @josswhedon shall we change that?
@Ms_Melee: Connie Corleone in Godfather 3 (only redeeming part of that movie).
@hennemong: Connie Corleone if you count the Godfather III as a mob movie.
@AndyAlvarez: I’d say Laura Linney in Mystic River. She had the whole Lady MacBeth thing going on.
@btsmgl: Would “Set It Off” count? Or Mamma Fratelli from “Goonies”?
@kpierce624: I have to go with the crowd saying Bonnie.
@occarter120: little miss sunshine!
@kennhoekstra: Bonnie and Clyde?
@mangetout: Sonia Braga in the Rookie?
@Jtwofresh: boss tanaka in the 1989 Punisher movie. O-ren Ishii from kill bill.
@unamatrxj: Check out the show Orange is the new Black. The chick that runs the kitchen is Russian Mafia
@IBM3081D: Anjelica Houston in “Prizzi’s Honour”
@CrimespreeJon: Helen Mirren in Red?
@cornellartworks: It’s TV as opposed to film, but I remember they had a woman mob boss in Caprica.
@C_Forrest: Momma in “Throw Momma From The Train”. She’s badass.
@BarkMarley: not quite film, but Margo Martindale’s “Mags” character in S2 of JUSTIFIED is very badass.
@badwebsites: that’s a good question. i can’t think of any. except for Shelly Winters as Bloody Mama
@NocturneTomDeja: Shelly Winters in BLOODY MAMA?
@LGwenn: Ma-ma from Dredd?
@rage_A ……… Dredd? (also: MA FRATELLI)
@Kazumone: cat halbery woman
@Mathieas: Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde
Thanks for the answers! Who would you say are badass mafia women?
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