Married to the Mob
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Demme
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyTak Fujimoto
Edited byCraig McKay
Music byDavid Byrne
Distributed byOrion Pictures
Release date
  • August 19, 1988 (1988-08-19)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$21.4 million

Married to the Mob is a 1988 American crime comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme, and starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine, Dean Stockwell, Mercedes Ruehl, and Alec Baldwin.[1] Pfeiffer plays Angela de Marco, a gangster's widow from Brooklyn, opposite Modine as the undercover FBI agent assigned the task of investigating her mafia connections.

The film was released on August 19, 1988, by Orion Pictures. It earned positive reviews from critics and earned several accolades; Pfeiffer was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, and Stockwell was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


Long Island mafia up-and-comer "Cucumber" Frank de Marco makes a hit on a morning commuter train. Meanwhile, his wife Angela is being gossiped about in the hairdresser’s, as she often avoids socializing with other mob families. She then backs out of an event one of them is having that night.

When Angela gets home, she catches her son Joey and another mobster's son swindling neighborhood kids, which she isn't happy about but Frank praises. He then chews her out for passing on Connie's invitation.

After Joey pulls a gun out of a silverware drawer, Angela and Frank argue. She lists the many reasons why she's unhappy with their life and declares that she wants a divorce, but Frank laughs it off.

Frank gets violently dispatched by his Don Tony "The Tiger" Russo, when he is discovered to be also seeing the latter's mistress Karen. Angela wants to escape the criminal underworld with her son, but is harassed by Tony, who puts the moves on her at Frank's funeral. This clinch earns her the suspicion of FBI agents Mike Downey and Ed Benitez, who are conducting surveillance, and also of Tony's wife Connie, who confronts Angela with accusations of stealing her husband.

After Tony lavishes Angela and Joey with gifts, they move to a small apartment in the Lower East Side. He has his people track her down there.

To complicate things, FBI operative Downey is assigned to monitor Angela's movements as part of an undercover surveillance operation. He follows her around the city as she seeks employment, until he goes to wire her apartment.

Downey, going by Mike Smith, sneaks out of Angela's before she can catch him plant a bug. Angela goes to a hairdresser’s and gets a job. Mike bumps into her in her building, and she asks him out. On Friday night, as they are on their date, Tony narrowly escapes a hit across town.

Connie barges into Angela's looking for Tony but backs off upon finding Mike there. Angela explains to him that she'd tried to break away from the mob but they won't let her. Mike subtly destroys the bugs, as he cannot resist becoming romantically involved with Angela.

In the morning, Mike's partner Ed gets him to leave, and the FBI raids the hairdresser’s. In their offices, Angela discovers that Mike is Agent Downey. After being threatened with jail, Angela agrees to help the FBI catch Tony.

Angela visits Tony, convincing him she's interested, and gets invited with him on a trip to Miami. The jealous Connie follows, while Downey and Ed get on the same flight as Tony and Angela. Tony recognizes Downey in disguise at the hotel, as he's crossed paths with him a few times. Tony's henchmen bring him up to the suite, but just before they can do away with him and Angela, Connie bursts into the Miami Beach suite.

After a climactic shootout, Angela punches out Connie and the FBI bursts in. Some time after Tony is convicted for murdering Karen and Frank, Downey convinces Angela to give him a second chance.


In addition, short cameo appearances include the film's director, Jonathan Demme, as a man getting off an elevator in Miami, and the film's music supervisor, Gary Goetzman, as the guy playing piano when the mobsters gather at the "King's Roost" restaurant.

Release and reception

Married to the Mob received a largely positive response from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 49 reviews, with an average rating of 7.30/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Buoyed by Jonathan Demme's intuitive direction and Michelle Pfeiffer's irresistible charisma, Married to the Mob is a saucy mix of broad comedy and gangster drama."[2] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[3]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that "Married to the Mob works best as a wildly overdecorated screwball farce... it also plays as a gentle romance, and as the story of a woman trying to re-invent her life."[4] The Washington Post described the film as "all decked out in Godfather kitsch, but underneath its loud exterior, a complex heroine struggles for freedom."[5] Variety called the film "fresh, colorful and inventive."[6] Time Out wrote that although the film was "relentlessly shallow, the performances, music and gaudy visuals provide a fizzy vitality for which many other directors would give their right arm."[7] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave a more lukewarm review, but ended positively: "Still, Married to the Mob is loaded with wonderful offbeat touches... [and] most assuredly doesn't lack soul."[8]

Jonathan Demme's direction was praised for its idiosyncrasy. The New York Times called him "American cinema's king of amusing artifacts: blinding bric-a-brac, the junkiest of jewelry, costumes so frightening they take your breath away."[4] The Washington Post wrote that Demme "has nailed one with this playful, but dangerous, gangster farce."[5]

The acting performances were widely acclaimed, especially that of Michelle Pfeiffer in a star-making turn, "her best performance to date."[8] Richard Corliss of Time wrote that Pfeiffer was the "emotional anchor to his [Demme's] vertiginous sight gags."[9] Variety claimed the "enormous cast is a total delight, starting with Pfeiffer."[6] The Washington Post called Pfeiffer a "deft comedian... It's her movie, and she graces it."[5] Matthew Modine was "winning", according to Variety.[6]

Supporting players Dean Stockwell and Mercedes Ruehl also received praise for their performances. The Washington Post described Ruehl's character as "majestic in her jealousy, stealing scenes but never the show from the sweetly determined Pfeiffer."[5] Maslin of The New York Times found that Pfeiffer and Modine were "readily upstaged by Miss Ruehl and, especially, by Mr. Stockwell. His shoulder-rolling caricature of this suave, foppish and thoroughly henpecked kingpin is the film's biggest treat."[4] Variety described Stockwell as "a hoot."[6]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell Nominated [10]
Artios Awards Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Casting – Comedy Howard Feuer Nominated [11]
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell (also for Tucker: The Man and His Dream) Won [12]
Best Supporting Actress Joan Cusack (also for Stars and Bars and Working Girl) Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell Nominated [13]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Michelle Pfeiffer Nominated [14]
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell Won[a] [15]
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell (also for Tucker: The Man and His Dream) Won [16]
Best Supporting Actress Mercedes Ruehl Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actor Dean Stockwell (also for Tucker: The Man and His Dream) Won [17]
Young Artist Awards Best Young Performer in a TV Movie, Pilot or Special Cory Danziger Nominated [18]




  1. ^ "Married to the Mob". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "Married to the Mob (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  3. ^ "Married to the Mob Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 8, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Maslin, Janet (August 19, 1988). "Movie Review – Married to the Mob – The Mob, to Have and to Hold". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b c d Kempley, Rita (August 19, 1988). "'Married to the Mob' (R)". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ a b c d "Married to the Mob Review". Variety. January 1, 1988.
  7. ^ "Married to the Mob Review – Film". Time Out. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (August 19, 1988). "Married to the Mob :: :: Reviews". Chicago Sun-Times.
  9. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 22, 1988). "Cinema: Mafia Princess, Dream Queen, MARRIED TO THE MOB". Time. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012.
  10. ^ "The 61st Academy Awards (1989) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  11. ^ "Nominees/Winners". Casting Society of America. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  12. ^ "BSFC Winners: 1980s". Boston Society of Film Critics. 27 July 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Chicago Film Critics Awards – 1988–97". Chicago Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Married to the Mob – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  15. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 1980-89". December 14, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  16. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. December 19, 2009. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "1988 New York Film Critics Circle Awards". Mubi. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  18. ^ "11th Annual Youth In Film Awards". Archived from the original on 2014-04-09. Retrieved 2011-03-31.