Paul Sorvino is one of the legendary actors of his — or any — generation. The New York native started his career in the 1970s, gained a new level of fame as one of the stars of Goodfellas, and continued working until his death on July 25, 2022. Sorvino’s legacy will live on with Goodfellas; it’s required viewing for many film fans. Here are five more Sorvino movies to watch when the credits roll on the mob classic (in chronological order).
1. ‘The Gambler’ (1974)
He had a part in the Al Pacino movie The Panic in Needle Park in 1970, but 1974’s The Gambler was one of Sorvino’s first movie roles. He plays the bookie Hips opposite James Caan’s gambler Axel Freed. Of the gritty New York-based crime movies of the 1970s (including The French Connection, Mean Streets, Serpico, and Taxi Driver), The Gambler is one of the best (and maybe the most underrated). It also might be one of the most neglected Sorvino movies of his entire career.
2. ‘Reds’ (1981)
Warren Beatty starred in and directed this movie that won three Academy Awards and racked up another nine nominations. Still, the supporting roles in this ensemble drama are almost as crucial as the lead, and Sorvino more than holds his own alongside Oscar winners Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, and Diane Keaton. Because of that, it stands as one of the Sorvino movies you can’t miss.
3. ‘Nixon’ (1995)
Sorvino’s movies included plenty of gritty dramas, and this biopic of the former U.S. president is one of them. The Goodfellas star proved he could stand out in an ensemble cast of award winners in Reds, and he did it again with Nixon.
As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger opposite Anthony Hopkins’ titular Nixon, he transformed himself to portray a well-known, real-life person. IMDb reviewers praised Sorvino’s work as Kissinger, but the professional critics weren’t as kind. The Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for best performance by a cast was one of Sorvino’s only notable award nominations.
4. ‘Romeo + Juliet’ (1996)
Sorvino’s role in Baz Luhrmann’s movie isn’t the biggest, but he makes the most of his screen time as the head of House Capulet. Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio take center stage in most of the scenes, but Sorvino leaves his mark in Luhrmann’s 20th-century reimagining of the classic Shakespeare tale.
5. ‘The Cooler’ (2003)
In one of the best films about gamblers of all time, Sorvino’s role is little more than a cameo. Still, as he did in other notable films on this list, he made his presence felt. His take on a past-his-prime barfly shines alongside Alec Baldwin’s ruthless casino boss, which earned rave reviews. Sorvino had larger parts in his career, but this remains one of his best roles and one of the best movies on his resumé.
Bonus Paul Sorvino movies to watch: ‘The Rocketeer,’ ‘A Touch of Class,’ and ‘Papa’
Sorvino has an uncredited cameo in the Tom Cruise hit The Firm, where he appeared alongside other screen legends such as Wilford Brimley, Gene Hackman, and Hal Holbrook. The role is so small it barely registers as a Sorvino movie, but we wanted to note it.
The 1991 movie The Rocketeer sees Sorvino play to type. As gang leader Eddie Valentine, he provides hired muscle to a Nazi spy trying to recover a prized rocket pack before the onset of World War II. The Disney movie is one of the best movies based on a comic book that most people don’t know about.
Sorvino is one of the top-billed stars in 1973’s A Touch of Class. George Segal and Glenda Jackson (who won an Oscar for the movie) star as a married man and divorcée, respectively, who agree to have an affair. Sorvino plays a friend to Segal’s character.
Papa is one of the little-seen Sorvino movies, and he most certainly plays against his tough-guy stereotype. The movie centers on an adopted young man searching for his birth parents who learns his mother is dead and his father lives in a home for mentally challenged individuals. Sorvino plays another resident in the home. The film slipped by the critics, but the audience scored it 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
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