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The Five Families are the five major Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in New York Citymarker since the 1930s. Prior to this was the Maranzano Family and the Masseria Family which ultimately ended up with the two families fighting each other during a period known as the Castellammarese War. The Five Families, under the suggestion of Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, were responsible for the establishment of The Commission, a council which demarcated territory between the previously warring factions and governs Mafia activities in the United States. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Sicilian Mafia in the US.

The five families and their bosses are (currently):

The DeCavalcante crime family, based in nearby Elizabeth, NJ, also has ties to the five New York families.


In pop culture

  • In the 1972 mafia-centered novel and movie The Godfather, five crime families dominate the Mafia of New York, but the families have different names from their real life counterparts above. The Corleone, from their compound on Long Island, go to war with the other members of the Five Families, the Tattaglias, the Barzini, the Cuneo, and the Stracci. (See also Five Families )

  • In the HBO series The Sopranos, the DiMeo crime family of New Jersey have close business connections with the Lupertazzi crime family of Brooklyn, one of the five families in New York. Members of the DeCavalcante family believed themselves to be the inspiration for the DiMeo family. Due to its large size, the Lupertazzi crime family likely represents the Gambino crime family. Also, there have been references to four other families in the show: the Paglieri Family, the Mangano Family (the former name of the Gambino Crime Family), the Tarese Family and the DeBenedetto family. Although in episode 8 of the first season, “The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti”, Meadow refers to Charles “Lucky” Luciano as the founder of the Mafia and in that context cites the names of the original Five Families.

  • The Grand Theft Auto video game series represents many of the Five Families in the game with the Leone, Sindacco, and Forelli families. In addition, Grand Theft Auto IV features a parody of the Five Families ruling body called "The Commission", consisting of the Ancelotti, Pavano, Messina, Gambetti and Lupisella families, with the smaller New Jersey (Alderney) Pegorino family trying to become a sixth entity.

  • In the episode Chair Model from The Office, Kevin mentions the "Five Families" of the Scranton Business Park, referring to the heads of the five companies which operate out of the business park.


See also

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