The Valachi Papers DVD Digitally remastered. 1972. Color. Charles Bronson, Lino Ventura, Jill Ireland.
The Valachi Papers - a crime action movie based on Peter Maas' best-selling book. The book is based on real prison conversations and the actual U.S. Senate testimony of Joseph Valachi, a high-ranking figure in the Mafia. It tells precisely who did what to whom, when and why, electrifying the nation. This film had to be made in Italy, because attempts to shoot in the U.S. were stymied by mob-arranged "accidents" and protests.
The film starts in 1962. A fifty-nine year old Joe Valachi (Charles Bronson) is convicted of drug trafficking and imprisoned. Inside, he learns his mob boss, Don Vito Genovese (Lino Ventura) is out to kill him. Genovese mistakenly believes Valachi was the snitch who put him behind bars. A federal agent named Ryan convinces Valachi to be a mob informant in return for his safety inside. Valachi tells a story that starts in 1929, when he was first imprisoned in Sing Sing and met Tony Bender, who first introduced him to the life of the mob. Through internal struggles for control of the mob, Valachi remained faithful to the mob family, including through Genovese's reign starting in the late 1930s. As Valachi nears the end of his story, he learns that what has happened in the time leading up to and during his latest incarceration was not an accident.