‘The Sopranos’ Best Episodes & Lines For Every Diehard Fan

Tony Soprano, Some Pulp, The Sopranos Family
Courtesy Everett Collection/HBO

The gripping crime-drama series The Sopranos that centers around troubled Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his often-tumultuous relationships with a colorful array of family members — both personal and professional – who surround him as he struggles to balance his home life with his dealings in organized crime is not classic TV. The Sopranos celebrated its 25th anniversary on Jan. 10, 2024. and is still a classic to diehards.


Opening Credits: The sequence that opens each episode is always enjoyable to watch, thanks in part to the theme song (Woke Up This Morning) that accompanies Tony Soprano’s car ride out of New York City’s Lincoln Tunnel, then through a toll booth on the New Jersey Turnpike and onward to his sprawling suburban New Jersey home. There is a brief shot that features a glimpse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in the car’s side-view mirror. The shot appears only during the first three seasons, however: it was removed from the credits starting in the fourth season, after the attacks of 9/11.

As for must-see episodes, check these out:

Pilot/The Sopranos (Season 1, Episode 1): The pilot episode sets the stage for a lot of the background for the entire series, including Tony’s first session with Dr. Melfi and his infatuation with a family of wild ducks that have taken a shining to his backyard swimming pool. The episode is one of only two episodes that were both written and directed by David Chase. The other one was ….

Made In America (Season 6, Episode 21): Also written and directed by Chase, it is the series finale – and it brings The Sopranos to a close with one of the most surprising and controversial enders in TV history. With Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ playing in the background, the final scene has Tony, Carmela, Meadow and A.J. gathering for a meal at Holsten’s Ice Cream Parlor. Suffice it to say that, by the end of the scene, the future of Tony and his family is suddenly left to everyone’s imagination.

Commendatori (Season 2, Episode 4): Tony, Paulie and Christopher head off to Italy to strike up some new business dealings. It’s a trip that inspires Paulie and almost destroys Christopher, thanks to a drug binge. The episode is also notable for a cameo appearance by David Chase, in a scene where Paulie calls out “Commendatori” to someone while sitting in a café.

Two Tonys (Season 5, Episode 1) and Stage 5 (Season 6, Episode 14): Both episodes feature a character named Manny Safier, an author and expert on the Mafia. The character is played by Matthew Weiner, who was an actual writer and, later, an executive producer on The Sopranos. He was much better known more recently, though, as the executive producer and creative mind behind Mad Men.

THE SOPRANOS, (Top, L-R) Steve R. Schirripa, George Loros, Jerry Adler, Arthur J. Nascarella, Dan Grimaldi, James Gandolfini, Tony Darrow, Robert Funaro. (Bottom, L-R) Joseph Gannascoli, Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt. Season 5, Ep.65, 'All Due Respect' aired June 06, 2004. 1999-2007.

HBO/Courtesy: Everett Collection.

(Top, L-R) Steve R. Schirripa, George Loros, Jerry Adler, Arthur J. Nascarella, Dan Grimaldi, James Gandolfini, Tony Darrow, Robert Funaro. (Bottom, L-R) Joseph Gannascoli, Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt.


Wow! The Dialogue! Do you remember any of these lines? …

“Waste-management consultant.”

From Pilot/The Sopranos (Season 1, Episode 1): Tony Soprano, during his first visit with Dr. Jennifer Melfi, responds to the psychiatrist’s query about what line of work he is in.

“You can’t put all your problems on me. This is the most expensive retirement community in New Jersey. And, if you wanted to, you could be happy here. But you’re just pissin’ it all down the drain.”

From Denial, Anger, Acceptance (Season 1, Episode 3): Tony visits his mom at her retirement home. Her response: “Such beautiful language for your mother.”

“Not this much. I like the one that says ‘some pulp.’ ”

From Second Opinion (Season 3, Episode 7): Tony confronts Carmela about her choice of orange juice, leading to one of the most darkly hilarious (and quotable) moments of the show.

“Why? Because they think if you suck pussy, you’ll suck anything … It’s a sign of weakness – and possibly a sign that you’re a fanook.”

From Boca (Season 1, Episode 9): Uncle Junior explains to his girlfriend, Roberta (Robyn Peterson), why she needs to keep quiet about his talents when it comes to oral sex.

“She’s so fat, her blood type is Ragu.”

From Employee Of The Month (Season 3, Episode 4): Silvio engaging in banter about the obese wife of a rival mob boss named Johnny Sacrimoni (Vincent Curatola). Although Silvio gets away with his wisecrack, others in future episodes aren’t as fortunate.

“It’s so far removed by now, Tonto is a closer cousin to you.”

From Commendatori (Season 3, Episode 4): Uncle Junior explaining to Tony the distant family relationship between the Sopranos and the mob boss Tony will be meeting up with in Italy.

“It’s not toxic. The owners were, what, 90 years old? It’s piss!”

From Made In America (Season 6, Episode 21): Tony reassures Carmela that the odor that is lingering in their beachfront cottage/hideout is not something to be feared.

“You’ve made a fool of me for years with these whores.”

From Whitecaps (Season 4, Episode 13): Carmela unleashes years of rage that has been building up over Tony’s many infidelities.

“Hey, I don’t even let anyone wag their finger in my face.”

From Pax Soprana (Season 1, Episode 6): Tony responds to Dr. Melfi after she asks him when he last had a prostate exam.

“Ma. I know what you did. Your only son. Your middle child.”

From I Dream Of Jeannie Cusamano (Season 1, Episode 13): Tony confronting his mother after the failed hit on him.

THE SOPRANOS, from left: Nancy Marchand, James Gandolfini, 1999-2007. ph: Anthony Neste /©HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

Everett Collection

“You know, Tony, it’s a multiple-choice thing with you. ‘Cause I can’t tell if you’re old-fashioned, you’re paranoid – or just a fuckin’ asshole.”

From A Hit Is A Hit (Season 1, Episode 10): A smiling Carmela gently asking Tony what it means that she would “be taken care of” if something should happen to him.

“It’s not the worst thing I ever heard. I was seeing a therapist myself about a year ago. I had some issues. Enough said. I learned some coping skills.”

From I’m Dreaming Of Jeannie Cusamano (Season 1, Episode 13): Paulie reacts to Tony finally revealing that he has been seeing a psychiatrist.

“I’d like to propose a toast. To my family. Some day soon, you’re going to have families of your own. And if you’re lucky, you’ll remember the little moments – like this – that were good. Cheers.”

It’s the final line from I’m Dreaming Of Jeannie Cusamano (Season 1, Episode 13): With a power failure and vicious storm raging outside, Tony and his family wrap up the show’s first season by settling in for dinner at the new restaurant owned by Tony’s friend, Artie Bucco (John Vantimiglia). It’s a scene that is similar to the series ender, but Tony’s words in this first-season finale pretty well sum up the point of the entire series.


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The Mob Issue

February 2020

Best Movie & TV gangland classics of all time, and also explores the true stories behind some of history’s most famous mobsters.

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