‘The Many Saints of Newark’: Michael Imperioli Feels Dickie’s Story Shows ‘How F*cked Up the Sopranos Are’

One undeniable fact about Tony Soprano is that he didn’t always tell the truth. Fans of The Sopranos witnessed him lie to his wife Carmela, Dr. Melfi, Artie, and of course, to Christopher Moltisanti. That became evident in The Many Saints of Newark as Michael Imperioli reprised his role to narrate the movie as Chris. Learning about Dickie Moltisanti’s story put certain things into perspective for Imperioli and his character. To him, Chrissy never had much of a chance.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for The Many Saints of Newark]

'The Sopranos' stars Michael Imperioli and Drea De Matteo
Michael Imperioli and Drea De Matteo of ‘The Sopranos’ | Getty Images

‘The Many Saints of Newark’ exposed Tony Soprano’s lie about Dickie’s death

Young Tony Soprano’s bond with “Uncle Dickie” in Many Saints was a huge deal. However, Dickie’s relationships with his own father, Junior Soprano, Johnny Soprano, and his “goomar” are just as important. Though he’s charming and business-oriented, he was also prone to fits of rage.

Dickie lashed out at his father and wound up killing him, and Giuseppina went out the same way. But his wisecracks about Junior falling on some stairs angered the elder Soprano to the point that he ordered a hit on him. Poor Dickie died because he laughed, pissing off Junior. When Imperioli learned that’s how Chris’s father really died, it was a revelation.

“It shows how f*cked up the Sopranos are,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It made me think that Christopher was doomed from the start, from birth. It is almost like it is imprinted in his genetics.”

For context, Dickie and his wife had trouble conceiving before Christopher was born. There was a moment when baby Chrissy cried at the sight of Tony, signifying their rocky future. And though Johnny (Tony’s father) loved and respected Dickie, Junior resented him. Working with the Sopranos was not always ideal for the Moltisantis.

Christopher Moltisanti shared a fate similar to his father’s

Christopher had his own share of issues, particularly with addiction. His own journey up the mafia ladder irritated Paulie and Silvio, and he frequently abused Adriana. Because of his familial relationship to Carmela and Tony, he attained a high position in the organization quickly in spite of his problematic behavior. However, his antics jeopardized not only his own safety, but also others such as Meadow, Kelli, and the crime family’s operation.

To top it off, Chris always accepted the stories about his dad, Dickie. Tony told him that a cop killed his father as part of a vicious cycle of retribution that began when Dickie was in prison.

Tony tracked the officer down, pointed him out, and Chris tortured and killed him. Despite the cop denying any knowledge of Dickie’s murder, Chris unknowingly believed Tony’s lie. The Many Saints of Newark exposed the truth and showed the parallels between Chris and Dickie’s deaths. Those darn Sopranos.

After watching the film, Imperioli reflected on his character’s bad habits, noting that his father’s absence contributed to his problems.

“I imagined him before the movie as more like Christopher, more hot-headed, but he wasn’t. He was a more composed character, which made me think that a lot of Christopher’s defects and addictive-compulsive nature actually came from not having a father,” he said.

Watch The Many Saints of Newark in the theater or on HBO Max.