For Mafia Wives Like Mrs. Corleone (Diane Keaton) and Mrs. Montana (Michelle Pfeiffer), It’s All About Looking Good and Hitting Hard
You’d think a mobster’s biggest worries would be the cops and the competition. No way. The real dangers lie closer to home — their wives. They might be beautiful, they might be the mother of their children, they might even love their husbands, but that doesn’t mean they won’t destroy them. These women really know how to hurt the family. So which Mafia wife is just a queen bitch, and who makes wise guys shake in their leather jackets?
10. Eva (Lymari Nadal), American Gangster
Eva may be guilty of poor taste when she gives her husband, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a gaudy fur coat and hat, but she’s not trying to hurt him. Unfortunately, her sense of style gets him noticed by the cops, and it’s the beginning of the end. Frank burns the coat on their wedding night, but it’s too late — the damage is done. Does it matter that she meant well? A little. She’s the least mean. But remember: the road to jail is paved with good intentions.
9. Maggie Pistone (Anne Heche), Donnie Brasco
You can kind of understand why Maggie’s not the nicest woman in the world. She thought she married Joe (Johnny Depp), but he’s been undercover so long he’s become the wise guy Donnie. And being an undercover Mafia wife is even worse than being a real one. She doesn’t get the money that comes with really being a part of the family. So she changes the phone lines and tells him she wants a divorce. That’s tough love but nothing compared with the mob wives who rank ahead of her.
8. Linda (Deborah Rush), My Blue Heaven
Compared with other Mafia wives, Linda has little screen time, though she makes the most of it in terms of hurting her husband. She and her man, Vinnie (Steve Martin), are relocated by the witness-protection program to a nice suburban neighborhood and a very nice house. You’d think she’d be happy. “It’s better than the slammer,” as Vinnie argues. But minutes after moving in, she’s headed back to New York City, the real love of her life. She must have missed the part in the vows about the good times and the bad.
7. Deanna Corleone (Marianna Hill), The Godfather: Part II
Poor Fredo (John Cazale). When his wife isn’t falling all over the dance floor while flirting with another man at a family party, she’s yelling “You’re just jealous cause he’s a real man” at him. Could that be why Fredo tries to get some respect by betraying his brother Michael (Al Pacino), a decision that gets him shot in the head. Damn you, Deanna. While being forcibly carried away from the party, she also gets in this unforgettable dig: “Never marry a wop. They treat their wives like shit.” So she’s a bigot, to boot.
6. Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton), The Godfather: Part II
To be fair, Kay never wanted a mob life. She just met a young man and fell in love. So by the time they’re halfway through their lives — around the midpoint of The Godfather: Part II — she’s had enough. When Michael says he won’t let her leave, she makes a cruel confession: that her miscarriage was actually an abortion. “It was a son, Michael! A son! And I had it killed!” Ouch.
5. Maerose Prizzi (Anjelica Huston), Prizzi’s Honor
You might expect to see Irene (Kathleen Turner) here for shooting at her husband, Charley (Jack Nicholson), but Maerose, the don’s daughter and Charley’s future woman, does him worse, pulling strings and manipulating the family so that Charley has to whack his own wife, thus making him available. Murder is a horrible way to win a man’s heart, but give her credit: it works.
4. Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco), Goodfellas
At her wedding reception to Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), Karen derisively notices she’s not like all the other mob wives. But soon enough she’s asking for money by holding up fingers to indicate the size of the stack, standing in a fur coat with tears running down her face, screaming at her husband’s mistress through an intercom system, holding a gun to his face, and flushing cocaine down the toilet. Basically, making serious trouble for the family. She’s a real drama queen and nothing but a problem for Hill — who’s got issues enough.
3. Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer), Scarface
Elvira’s husband — Tony Montana (Al Pacino) — gives her the world, and she’s just bored. Hard to please? The only thing she seems to enjoy is cocaine and being frigid. But, man, can she be mean. When Tony calls her a junkie, she puts him in his place. “What do you do? You deal drugs, and you kill people,” she says. “We’re losers.” The truth hurts. He thought they were living the American Dream.
2. Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), Casino
Lots of Mafia wives lie, cheat, and steal, but few take it as far as Ginger, the gold-digging wife of Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro). Among her many sins, she calls her pimp to tell him she still loves him on their wedding day. Later she snorts coke in front of her daughter and, when the babysitter is a no-show, ties her to the bed. Then there’s her affair with Rothstein’s pal Nicky (Joe Pesci) and, for her most demented trick, kidnapping her daughter with the aforementioned pimp.
1. Connie Russo (Mercedes Ruehl), Married to the Mob
Angela de Marco (Michelle Pfeiffer) might not want to be married to the mob, but Connie does, and she’ll do anything to keep it that way. “I fight for what’s mine,” she tells Angela, warning her to stay away from her libidinous husband. Connie does what any insanely jealous ball-busting Mafia wife would do: she hunts him down and shoots him the balls. If she can’t have him, no one can. Without a doubt she’s the meanest (and possibly funniest) Mafia wife out there.
Check out the mob wives in The Godfather: Part II tonight, Thu., Feb. 24, at 8PM | 7C.