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The Mafia DVD Set
The Mafia DVD Set
Actor: Mafia
Director: History
Genres: Television, Documentary
NR     2009     10hr 50min

Dive deep into the dark heart of the mob with this definitive 4-disc set from HISTORY. A sweeping saga of bloodshed, betrayal and big business, The Mafia offers a cold-blooded examination of organized crime in the 20th cen...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Mafia
Director: History
Genres: Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Television, Documentary
Studio: A&E Home Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/28/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 10hr 50min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Thorough, historical, meticulous in telling the XXth century
Pork Chop | Lisbon, Portugal | 12/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Mafia - The History Of The Mob In America (1993) is essential for
anyone wanting to get a historical grasp of gangsterism in the
USA, without turning to a book. This series aired originally on
the HISTORY channel (digital TV), with Bill Kurtis as host.

The first DVD comprises 3 episodes, running over 45 minutes each,
with professors and book authors commenting on various historical
turning points. There's a modest amount of rare, vintage footage,
mostly assisted by Hollywood movies of the past.

The film is sympathetic to gangsters Jewish, Italian or Irish, for
the simple reason that historically, each group had an axe to
grind, whether it were Gentiles, the Italian central government on
the mainland or the British Orangemen.

It also suggests viewers accept the phenomenon, or at least, be
neutral to it, the argument being that all those gangs did was
meet a demand of the general public for entertainment, alcohol,
narcotics, showgirls, prostitution and gambling. Those are the
ends that the public demanded, and justified the means used to
achieve them (contraband, mayhem, murder, corruption, payoffs,

Booze operations are explained, centering around the independent
but nearby island St Pierre Miquelon, with numerous swift boats
importing goods into the USA under various circumstances. The
Canadian arm of those operations is also mentioned, with a
higher quality of merchandise. The Bahamas and Cuba were
further supply hubs.

There was transportation of goods from the marshes in Delaware to Philadelphia, mainly by truck, although sustaining losses from ambushes to cargo, etc.

A long stretch of film centers around that city - the
manufacturing center of the USA, machinery, assembly lines,
products, with a long tradition of a wealthy social class and
influential Republican party- that partied as hard as it worked.
Some originally involved in boxing competitions and
the bookie business - diversified into liquor distribution, from
his pre-existing influence in saloons, political circles,
prostitution, eventually completing the vertical integration
between producer and consumer.

The bullying sustained by renowned performers, dancers, comedians
and musicians was the case in playing for specific nightclubs as
opposed to others in that, the most famous, notorious and
prestigious clubs were all mob operated and owned and fought for the best attractions.

Task forces created to deal with the problem often ended in
failure. This stemmed from the overall indifference of
the population to Prohibition, despite a few successes, such as
the arrest of dozens of high-ranking law administrators taking
money, or 138 officers fired, the destruction of barrels of booze
or raiding hideouts. Perhaps 8% of agents turned to the other
side, joining gangs for more pay.

Originally intended by Protestants to control other ethnic
groups' behavior, it failed despite increasing liquor prices by a
factor of 15.

The birth of modern-day gangsterism centered around the 60
unloading docks in Brooklyn in 1920-25, controlled originally by
Irish ethnic workers that extorted money for cargo and ships to
operate safely, without interference or destruction.

The lack of entitlements from the State by the population,
allowed those groups to earn the gratitude of the destitute and
poor from soup kitchens, vigilantism, and a helpdesk for various
injustices. Al Capone earned his chops at this time, with Yale,
later moving to Chicago.

An analysis of Sicily is made, in terms of many well known
criminals on that Island. At the same time, the Island had
its own masterminds and head honchos, deciding on rules,
justice, marriages, judges, law officers, loans, enforcing
contracts, independently of mainland Italy or the central
government's delegates, who not rarely were taken out. The poverty
of the land was an issue, with a sulfur mine one of the few local
job creators.

The New Orleans story is briefly touched upon, as well of arrivees
hired on the docks and fruit and vegetable open markets."