Married to the Mob

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Married to the Mob
Married to the mob movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Demme
Produced by
Written by
Music byDavid Byrne
CinematographyTak Fujimoto
Edited byCraig McKay
Mysterious Arts
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
  • August 19, 1988 (1988-08-19) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$21.4 million

Married to the Mob is a 1988 American crime comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine.[1]

Pfeiffer plays Angela de Marco, a gangster's widow from Brooklyn, opposite Modine as the undercover FBI agent assigned the task of investigating her mafia connections. As a sneaky mob boss romantically pursuing Angela, Dean Stockwell was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


Angela de Marco is the wife of mafia up-and-comer Frank "The Cucumber" de Marco, who gets violently dispatched by Mob boss Tony "The Tiger" Russo when he is discovered in a compromising situation with the latter's mistress Karen. Angela wants to escape the mafia scene with her son, but is harassed by Tony who puts the moves on her at Frank's funeral. This clinch earns her the suspicion of FBI agents Mike Downey and Ed Benitez, who are conducting surveillance, and also of Tony's wife Connie, who repeatedly confronts Angela with accusations of stealing her husband. To further complicate things, Mike Downey is assigned to monitor all of Angela's movements as part of an undercover surveillance operation, but cannot resist becoming romantically involved with Angela himself. Angela's attempts to break away from the Mob result in comic mayhem and a climactic showdown in a honeymoon suite in Miami Beach.


In addition, short cameo appearances include the film's director, Jonathan Demme, as a man getting off an elevator in Miami, and the film's music supervisor, Gary Goetzman, as the guy playing piano when the mobsters gather at the "King's Roost" restaurant.


Critical response[edit]

Married to the Mob received a largely positive response from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89% based on 47 reviews, with an average rating of 7.30/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Buoyed by Jonathan Demme's intuitive direction and Michelle Pfeiffer's irresistible charisma, Married to the Mob is a saucy mix of broad comedy and gangster drama."[2] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[3]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that "Married to the Mob works best as a wildly overdecorated screwball farce... it also plays as a gentle romance, and as the story of a woman trying to re-invent her life."[4] The Washington Post described the film as "all decked out in Godfather kitsch, but underneath its loud exterior, a complex heroine struggles for freedom."[5] Variety called the film "fresh, colorful and inventive."[6] Time Out wrote that although the film was "relentlessly shallow, the performances, music and gaudy visuals provide a fizzy vitality for which many other directors would give their right arm."[7] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave a more lukewarm review, but ended positively: "Still, Married to the Mob is loaded with wonderful offbeat touches... [and] most assuredly doesn't lack soul."[8]

Jonathan Demme's direction was praised for its idiosyncrasy. The New York Times called him "American cinema's king of amusing artifacts: blinding bric-a-brac, the junkiest of jewelry, costumes so frightening they take your breath away."[4] The Washington Post wrote that Demme "has nailed one with this playful, but dangerous, gangster farce."[5]

The acting performances were widely acclaimed, especially that of Michelle Pfeiffer in a star-making turn, "her best performance to date."[8] Richard Corliss of Time wrote that Pfeiffer was the "emotional anchor to his [Demme's] vertiginous sight gags."[9] Variety claimed the "enormous cast is a total delight, starting with Pfeiffer."[6] The Washington Post called Pfeiffer a "deft comedian... It's her movie, and she graces it."[5] Matthew Modine was "winning", according to Variety.[6]

Supporting players Dean Stockwell and Mercedes Ruehl also received praise for their performances. The Washington Post described Ruehl's character as "majestic in her jealousy, stealing scenes but never the show from the sweetly determined Pfeiffer."[5] Maslin of The New York Times found that Pfeiffer and Modine were "readily upstaged by Miss Ruehl and, especially, by Mr. Stockwell. His shoulder-rolling caricature of this suave, foppish and thoroughly henpecked kingpin is the film's biggest treat."[4] Variety described Stockwell as "a hoot."[6]


Michelle Pfeiffer was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.[10]

Dean Stockwell was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and won awards in the same category from the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle, both of which were also in honor of his work in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988). He also shared the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor in a three-way tie with Martin Landau for Tucker: The Man and His Dream and Tom Cruise for Rain Man (1988).[10]

Mercedes Ruehl won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.[10]

Awarding Body Award Nominee Result
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Michelle Pfeiffer nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell winner
(tied with Martin Landau and Tom Cruise)
National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell winner
Best Supporting Actress Mercedes Ruehl winner
New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell winner



  1. ^ "Married to the Mob". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "Married to the Mob (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  3. ^ "Married to the Mob Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 8, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Maslin, Janet (August 19, 1988). "Movie Review – Married to the Mob – The Mob, to Have and to Hold". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c d Kempley, Rita (August 19, 1988). "'Married to the Mob' (R)". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ a b c d "Married to the Mob Review". Variety. January 1, 1988.
  7. ^ "Married to the Mob Review – Film". Time Out. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (August 19, 1988). "Married to the Mob :: :: Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times.
  9. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 22, 1988). "Cinema: Mafia Princess, Dream Queen, MARRIED TO THE MOB". Time.
  10. ^ a b c "Married to the Mob (1988) – Awards". Retrieved 2009-09-17.

External links[edit]