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What Did The Mob Family Who Allegedly Inspired The Sopranos Really Think About The Show?

"The Sopranos" might be the most important show in the history of HBO (via BBC). The trailblazing crime drama turned the cable channel into a television powerhouse that could rival, or even best, the most exemplary efforts of mainstream network television. However, across the medium in general, "The Sopranos" had an even broader effect, helping to usher in the age of the anti-hero that has defined dramatic television for over a decade.

Following the trials and tribulations of a New Jersey crime family, "The Sopranos" features a massive cast of troubled, morally grey characters that viewers couldn't get enough of. As the series went on, it surged in popularity, regularly finding itself among the most watched and talked about shows on television (via The Guardian).

While "The Sopranos" creator David Chase has spoken in the past about how his upbringing influenced his storytelling (via Deadline), even the most ardent fans of "The Sopranos" might not be aware that the titular family at the heart of the series is allegedly inspired by a real-life crime syndicate.

The DeCavalcantes seemed like they were fans

There's a lot of evidence to suggest that "The Sopranos" is inspired by the real-life exploits of the DeCavalcante crime family (via The Daily Beast). From the arrests and afflictions that took big-time mafiosos out of the game to the scandals and overreaches that got them killed, the similarities between the two crime families are a bit too close to be considered entirely coincidental. This has led viewers to take notice of the real-life gangsters who may have inspired the character of Tony Soprano.

Even more intriguing is the fact that not only did members of the DeCavalcante crime family watch "The Sopranos," they also appeared to be fans of the series. "Hey, what's this f***ing thing, Sopranos?" real-life criminal Joseph Sclafani asked in a wiretapped conversation. "Is this supposed to be us?" he asked. Still, as the gangsters talked about the show, they began to praise it. "What characters," gangster Anthony Rotondo said. "Great acting."

Authenticity goes a long way, as other crime movies based on true stories like "Goodfellas" and "Casino" plainly show. Though members of the DeCavalcante family were convicted for many crimes, up to and including murder, there's nothing quite like getting the seal of approval from real-life gangsters that your show feels authentic and meaningful to its real-life inspirations.