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Film / Gotti

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"Lemme tell you somethin': New York is the greatest fuckin' city in the world. My city. I was a kid in these streets, I started in a fuckin' gutter and I made my way to the top. This life ends in one of two ways. Dead, or in jail. I did both."

Gotti is a 2018 biographical crime movie telling the story of prominent organized crime figure John Gotti, known as the "Dapper Don" and "Teflon Don", and detailing his bloody rise to power as head of the Gambino Crime Family. As shown in the film, he became famous for his flamboyant lifestyle and for repeatedly escaping prosecution until 1992, when he was finally convicted and given a lengthy sentence. Additionally, the movie depicts John Gotti Jr. initially following his father's footsteps but later breaking away from the criminal life.

The movie was directed by Kevin Connolly and stars John Travolta, Stacy Keach, Spencer Rocco Lofranco, and Kelly Preston. Travolta plays the title character. Lofranco plays Gotti Jr.

It's not to be confused with the 1996 HBO movie of the same title, which starred Armand Assante as Gotti and focused on the partnership between Gotti and Sammy "The Bull" Gravano.

Tropes related to Gotti include:

  • Anachronic Order: The movie jumps back and forth in time, with little rhyme or reason as to order.
  • As You Know: One memorable scene has a New York mobster telling Gotti (also a New York Mobster) what the five boroughs of New York are.
  • Based on a True Story: The films chronicles the real-life story of mob boss John Gotti.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The regular story-line of Gotti and Gotti Jr.'s lives gets interrupted by Gotti appearing in a meta-character sense, in which he even comments on his own death.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The dialogue has all the profanity that you would expect from a stereotypical mob movie.
  • Defiant to the End: Gotti states that every bit of time he lives through his cancer is a moment that he keeps pissing off the U.S. government by staying around.
  • Framing Device: Two of them! In addition to the Posthumous Narration described above and below, the story is also framed by a conversation between Gotti and his son shortly before his death of cancer in 2002.
  • Lighter and Softer: The scene where "Gaspipe" tortures a guy did happen. However, they really downplayed what he did. In fact, Casso shot the guy six times, where in the film he shoots him once.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: Gotti, chronicling the life of mob boss John Gotti.
  • Posthumous Narration: The movie is bookended by shots of Gotti talking directly to the audience from beyond the grave.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The movie has been criticized for its oddly pro-Gotti stance, praising him for never cutting a deal with the FBI and heavily implying the government was unfairly targeting him and (especially) his son.
  • Random Events Plot: A lot of scenes tend to happen with very little to connect them.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story:
    • Gotti was inducted by Paul Castellano in the late '70s, not by Carlo Gambino.
    • On the shooting of the kidnapper: They did pretend to be cops, but it wasn't Gotti who did the actual shooting. Another guy named Ralph Calougne (approximate spelling) did the shooting. Also, Angelo Ruggiero was present.
    • Ruggiero is portrayed as an older gangster, average build, talks very little. In fact, Ruggiero was fat (his nickname was "Fat Ange"), a smoker, and was incredibly talkative (which earned him the derisive nickname "Quack Quack"). He was also around the same age as Gotti and would've been in his late 30s/early 40s when he first appears in 1979.
    • When they showed the graphic of the bosses, all are accurate except Langella. Gerry Langella was a member of the Columbo family; however, he wasn't the boss. The boss of the family at the time was Carmine "The Snake" Persico.
    • On the RICO case: While it is true that Prosecutor Diane Giacalone wore a red dress and outed Willy Johnson as an informant, this happened during the trial, not the bail hearing.
    • Also, it wasn't just Gotti and Johnson on trial; several other members of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club were part of it, too, including Gotti's brother Gene and Ruggiero.
    • The Trial took place after the Castellano hit.
    • For some strange reason, they don't specify why Ruggiero was busted. It was drug trafficking. Also, Gotti's brother Gene was arrested as well and it was Ruggiero's inability to keep his mouth shut and tendency to gloat that sunk him.
    • The part about him using his daughter's phone is true.
    • Gotti's lawyer Bruce Cutler only appears briefly in the montage (he's the guy in fedora), even though he should've been present at Gotti's first few trials. Also, Gotti's last lawyer Albert Krieger also only appears in the montage (he's the old bald guy).
    • Castellano was sitting in the back of the Lincoln when he was shot.
    • The hit that ended up killing Frank Decicco was ordered by Vincent "The Chin" Gigante due to him and Castellano being tight. Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso supported the hit on Castellano and (along with Vic Amuso) only carried out the car bombing because they were ordered to by their boss Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corrallo.
    • Decicco was killed during the first RICO trial.
    • Ruggiero was excommunicated due to the tapes, not because he tried to have Casso killed.
    • The scene where Casso tortures a guy is really downplayed. Casso actually shot the guy six times.
    • Gotti being charged with assaulting a guy in the streets (along with the awesome headline "I forgotti") and the shooting of the carpenter union boss is not mentioned.
    • The movie shows Gotti telling an underling that Gravanno was going to be acting boss. Gotti actually told Gravanno himself (he was recorded doing so).
    • The movie implies that Gravanno flipped due to Gotti identifying him as acting boss. In fact, it was Gotti implicating Gravanno in several murders (including his brother-in-law) that led to Gravanno becoming an informant.
    • Gotti is shown as the only defendant. In fact, his consigliere Frank "Loc" Locassio was also a defendant.
    • Gravanno is shown to be thin. In reality, the former boxer was stocky.
    • Gravanno is shown inducting John Jr. into the mafia. Usually it's the boss of the family (and this would be especially true in this case, since it's the boss's son being inducted). Also, the burning image is shown in a tray; in reality, an inductee holds the image in their hand and passes it between their hands, swearing to burn in hell if he broke Omerta (code of silence).

"Listen to me, and listen to me good: you're never going to see another guy like me if you live to be five thousand."