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5 Best James Gandolfini Movie Roles

James Gandolfini died far too soon in his career, but he left behind wonderful creations to celebrate his work for many more years.

James Gandolfini was a talented actor who was taken far too soon. Known best for his role as Tony Soprano, Gandolfini had a fruitful career in movies and television. Here are five of his best roles to ever hit the big screen. 

5. The Man Who Wasn’t There

If you’re watching a Coen Brothers movie, you know it’s going to be good. This movie just has the added bonus of featuring Gandolfini. His character is department store owner Big Dave Brewster whose involved in a blackmail scheme and adultery. There is a scene where he is talking about the affair he’s having with Billy Bob Thornton, who is, in fact, the husband of said wife. That scene alone is so tense, but both Thornton and Gandolfini play it beautifully.

4. Romance and Cigarettes 

This movie is filled with stars to accompany Gandolfini. It had Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, and Christopher Walken. Plus it’s a musical, and yes, Gandolfini sings. His character is named Nick Murder, a New York ironworker who falls for another woman and starts cheating on his wife. Not a very likable decision, yet you commit to Gandolfini’s journey throughout the film. Also, he and Sarandon have such great chemistry, and the way they played off each other in their scenes is fantastic. 

3. Killing Them Softly

This was the third movie that Gandolfini worked with Brad Pitt, the first two being the Mexican and True Romance. The pair star as hitmen who are sent in to take care of some crocks that stole from gambling operation run by the Mob. It’s a somewhat stereotypical role, but when his character talks about a sex worker getting carved up and how he prefers to kill his victims ‘softly’, it will give you chills.

2. The Mexican 

In this movie, Gandolfini plays a hitman who kidnaps Julie Roberts to get Brad Pitt to hand over a priceless gun. Though he isn’t the main character, Gandolfini takes his cold-blooded killer type and turns him into a human being that the audience cares about, maybe even roots for at times. The best part of the movie is when he starts to bond with Roberts and opens up about being gay. 

1. Welcome to the Rileys

This movie is one of my favorite Gandolfini films. He plays a father whose daughter died, and he’s trying to help his wife keep it together while slowly falling apart himself. The movie is a heart-wrenching tale, and Gandolfini’s anguish is real in every scene. He’s a broken man who’s trying to find something to live for again. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie, please go out and watch it. Bonus points to Gandolfini for attempting a southern accent. It’s not great, but that’s about the only complaint I have about his performance. 

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