The Sopranos

The 20 Best Episodes of ‘The Sopranos

The best of the best!

The Sopranos hardly needs an introduction at this point. Debuting over two decades ago and finishing its six-season run over 15 years ago, it’s widely considered among the greatest TV shows of all time. It was the first big hit for HBO, and elevated the medium of television as a whole, helping to kickstart a golden age of TV by influencing many of the biggest and best dramas of the early 21st century.

It centers on a middle-aged mobster/family man named Tony Soprano and the various difficulties he has balancing his family and “business” duties. Just about all of its 86 episodes are great, but the following Sopranos episodes represent the cream of the crop, being the show’s highest-rated hours, according to IMDb user ratings.

Updated August 19, 2023, by Jeremy Urquhart:

The Sopranos is a show that will likely never go out of style, remaining one of the greatest of all time, even though it’s been off the air for a great deal of time at this point. As an all-time great show, the best episodes of The Sopranos rank as some of the greatest TV episodes of all time in general. Some of the best Sopranos episodes are listed below, according to IMDb ratings, starting with the great and ending with what the site’s users consider to be the best Sopranos episode of all time.


Season 1, Episode 5 (1999)

Sopranos - College

IMDB Rating: 8.9/10

There’s a case to be made that season 1’s “College” is among the most shocking episodes of The Sopranos, despite it not containing any plot twists or major character deaths. It’s a surprising episode for its time, as it broke ground by showing its protagonist, Tony Soprano, murder another man in cold blood, which wasn’t something most so-called protagonists on television ever really did.

The episode revolves around Tony taking his daughter, Meadow, around to see various colleges she might attend one day, only for him to spot an ex-associate who went into hiding after snitching on Tony and his crew. Due to the mafia’s no-tolerance policy of such people, Tony has to find the time to kill this man, all the while doing so without his daughter noticing. It’s tense, brutal, and engrossing, perfectly meshing the family drama and crime-drama sides of the show into one excellent episode.

19“Soprano Home Movies”

Season 6, Episode 13 (2007)

The Sopranos - Soprano Home Movies - 2007

IMDB Rating: 9.0/10

Like another great TV show from the 21st century, The Sopranos split its final season into two halves to great effect. Its sixth and final season was technically seasons 6A and 6B, with the former airing in 2006, and the latter airing in 2007. Season 6B – the stronger of the two halves – kicked off brilliantly with the quietly devastating “Soprano Home Movies.”

Its central plot sees Tony and Carmela joining Tony’s sister, Janice, and her husband, Bobby Baccalieri, at a cabin for a retreat, only for conflict to explode between Tony and Bobby. It uses its unique (and confined) setting to great effect, being one of the most visually compelling episodes of the show, and featuring a memorably haunting and emotional ending.

18“Army of One”

Season 3, Episode 13 (2001)

The Sopranos - Army of One - 2001
Image via HBO

IMDB Rating: 9.0/10

The Sopranos always knew how to end a season well, with this being true for season 3, exemplified by the episode “Army of One.” Things built up over the past 12 episodes all come crashing down, particularly regarding the fate of the endlessly troubled Jackie Jr., all the while the FBI step up their game when it comes to targeting Adriana, which will have consequences throughout seasons 4 and 5.

All that being said, it doesn’t nearly rank as one of the show’s best season finales, but that more speaks to the quality of The Sopranos overall, rather than being any slight on the quality of “Army of One.” It’s a strong closer that does what it needs to: wrapping up plenty of season 3 threads while also setting up a few things for subsequent seasons to tackle.

17“Kennedy and Heidi”

Season 6, Episode 18 (2007)

The Sopranos - Kennedy and Heidi - 2007
Image via HBO

IMDB Rating: 9.1/10

The final stretch of episodes within the final season of The Sopranos makes for an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, for anyone watching the series for the first time. “Kennedy and Heidi” is the fourth-last episode of the show, and serves to establish that it’s well and truly in the endgame stages, having Christopher get killed off right near the start of the episode, being suffocated by Tony after getting in a serious car accident.

Some might be surprised Christopher lasted as long as he did, given the various mistakes he made throughout the show, but the death is surprising nonetheless. Much of the episode ends up revolving around how everyone reacts to it, particularly Tony, who seems more relieved than anything, and goes on an unusual and thought-provoking journey of self-discovery in Las Vegas. It’s a bold episode both narratively and thematically, and a highlight of season 6B.


Season 1, Episode 12 (1999)

IMDB Rating: 9.1/10

Tony Soprano had always been someone who grappled with anger and stress, and James Gandolfini was an actor who always rose to the occasion, when it came to acting out such emotions. “Isabella” is an episode that pushes Tony further into such negative states, with it being the penultimate episode of the first season, and marking a point where things get truly dangerous for Tony and his crew.

His uncle wants him dead, as might his terrible mother, and that coupled with the general stress of his life makes “Isabella” a high-intensity episode of television. It sets the stage well for a great finale to wrap everything up, too, and is another piece of The Sopranos’ first season which helped make it an instant classic of a TV show within its first year on air.

15“Employee of the Month”

Season 3, Episode 4 (2001)

IMDB Rating: 9.1/10

Tony Soprano is well-known for being a protagonist who had a darker side, to the point where it’s hard to call him a heroic main character in the show, or even something of an anti-hero much of the time. However, he’s far from the most despicable character in the series, with various underlings and minor characters who are far more villainous than he is.

One such character only appears in this infamous and difficult-to-watch third-season episode. He brutally attacks Tony’s therapist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, and when she finds out the identity of her attacker, she has the opportunity to tell Tony and get justice that way (the police had failed to properly punish him). She comes close, with her ultimate refusal to get tangled with that side of the mob making for one of the series’ most impactful episode endings.

14“Members Only”

Season 6, Episode 1 (2006)

IMDb Rating: 9.2/10

“Members Only” kicks off the sixth and final season of The Sopranos, which was split into two – 6A and 6B – with each half being aired in two different years, 2006 and 2007, respectively. It’s a haunting and downbeat episode that establishes the tone and frequent tragedy of the show’s last season.

It gives a surprising spotlight to the show’s minor character Eugene Pontecorvo, whose attempts to retire from mob life prove tragically impossible. Elsewhere, Tony is also shot by his uncle with dementia, plunging him into a coma dream he takes two episodes to wake from. It’s a dramatic and startling season premiere, likely the main reason for its high rating.

13“I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano”

Season 1, Episode 13 (1999)

IMDb Rating: 9.2/10

The Sopranos always knew how to conclude a season, which is demonstrated within its first year on the air, in the unforgettable season 1 finale “I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano.” The conflict between Tony and Uncle Junior reaches a boiling point, complete with casualties, the aftermath of an assassination attempt on Tony, and Uncle Junior ultimately getting arrested, putting Tony officially in charge of the New Jersey crew.

Season 1 is somewhat quaint compared to the other seasons, as it has a slightly more comedic tone and doesn’t have the kinds of main character deaths that are found in all the other seasons. This episode is not only essential for concluding the first season, but also nudging the story in a direction that would lead to more high-stakes drama in later seasons, being a vital episode for the show’s overall 86-episode run.

12“Amour Fou”

Season 3, Episode 12 (2001)

Sopranos - Amour Fou - 2001
Image via HBO

IMDb Rating: 9.2/10

“Amour Fou” is the penultimate episode of the show’s third season, and it sees the conclusions for two of the season’s main storylines begin to play out. One revolves around Tony and Gloria (a woman Tony was having an affair with) falling out, and the other sees the always-volatile Jackie Jr. finally pushing things beyond the point of repair with Tony’s crew.

These two characters only really appear in the show’s third season, but are overall pivotal to it, and the consequences that come from things spiraling out of control in this episode have lasting consequences. It’s also an episode that immediately follows the show’s highest-rated hour (more on that later), so the fact it still stands out as its own episode is impressive.

11“The Second Coming”

Season 6, Episode 19 (2007)

Sopranos - The Second Coming

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

The third last episode of The Sopranos, “The Second Coming” focuses on the tension between Tony and the increasingly angry and unstable Phil. It also shines a light on Tony’s son, AJ, and his intense battle with depression, which itself something Tony has been dealing with for all six seasons of the show.

Things unravel for Tony and most of the show’s characters in the dark and impactful final season of The Sopranos. Though the war between the New Jersey and New York crew is dominant in the final episodes, AJ’s story ends up being the most memorable part of “The Second Coming.” AJ himself is a somewhat divisive character, but he’s at his most sympathetic here. Seeing Tony do all he can to protect his son from the very thing that’s dominated his life makes for heartbreaking television.

10“Whoever Did This”

Season 4, Episode 9 (2002)

Ralph arguing with Tony

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Ralph Cifaretto was one of the most despicable characters in The Sopranos. And with a cast full of people who are bitter, petty, greedy, criminal, or all of the above, that’s saying something. “Whoever Did This” is where Ralph finally meets his violent end, after two seasons of being a terribly behaved thorn in Tony’s side.

His death can be cathartic, sure, and the surreal, disturbing, and darkly funny misadventure Tony and Christopher go on to dispose of his body is a great sequence. But in classic Sopranos fashion, “Whoever Did This” also gives Ralph his first chance to be sympathetic when one of his kids suffers a life-threatening injury… yet as soon as viewers have a chance to feel sorry for him, he’s violently whacked. One thing’s for sure: The Sopranos was great at keeping viewers on their toes.


Season 4, Episode 13 (2002)

Sopranos - Whitecaps

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Season 4 comes to a close with “Whitecaps,” which is perhaps the least (traditionally) explosive and violent season finale The Sopranos ever did. But what it lacks (or doesn’t focus on) when it comes to crime-related violence, it makes up for with tense, hard-hitting, and harrowing family/relationship drama.

“Whitecaps” is the episode where Tony and Carmela separate – not for good, but certainly for a while. Things seem to be on the up before Tony’s misdeeds catch up with him, pushing Carmela to her breaking point. James Gandolfini and Edie Falco were always stellar actors, but their performances shine even brighter here. Their heated arguments in this episode showcase some of the best acting in the entire show.

8“The Knight in White Satin Armor”

Season 2, Episode 12 (2000)

The Sopranos - Knight in White Satin Armor

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

The penultimate episode of season 2, “The Knight in White Satin Armor,” certainly isn’t the first time in The Sopranos a supporting character got “whacked.” But Richie’s violent and sudden demise is the first time a death felt totally unexpected, and also the first time someone credited in the main cast got written out of the show.

Richie clashed far too much with Tony for him to ever exist for the show’s whole duration, but no one was expecting Tony’s sister, Janice, to be the one to do it (and shortly after she got engaged to Richie, to boot). It sets a precedent for how no character’s safe in The Sopranos, and more than justifies the episode’s 9.3/10 rating.

7“Irregular Around the Margins”

Season 5, Episode 5 (2004)

Sopranos - Irregular Around the Margins - 2004
Image via HBO

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

Season 5 of The Sopranos is one of the most eventful seasons in the show’s entire run, though its most devastating moments are saved for the final two episodes of the season. Still, it gets the ball rolling towards its dramatic climax with an episode like “Irregular Around the Margins,” which is the season’s fifth episode.

Tony gets into a car accident with Adrianna, the partner of his nephew, Christopher, with tensions arising among the three as a result. Things don’t explode into violence and death, but it notably shakes the foundations between several key characters, and is a pivotal episode in getting the plot towards the final two episodes of the season, and the shocking developments they contain.

6“All Due Respect”

Season 5, Episode 13 (2004)

Sopranos - All Due Respect - 2004
Image via HBO

IMDb Rating: 9.3/10

The final episode of the show’s fifth season, “All Due Respect” has the shadow of the season’s penultimate episode hanging over it while also managing to provide audiences with another upsetting death on the HBO show. With the Adrianna and Christopher storyline resolved, “All Due Respect” focuses on Tony resolving the conflict between his cousin and Phil Leotardo, a high-ranking member of the New York crew.

Tony B. might have only been in one season’s worth of episodes, but it’s always hard to say goodbye to a character played by the great Steve Buscemi. Tony taking matters into his own hands prevents immediate catastrophes between crews from happening, but the tension remains, and ends up continuing to boil all throughout the show’s dramatic sixth and final season.

5“Made in America”

Season 6, Episode 21 (2007)

Image via HBO

IMDb Rating: 9.4/10

A series finale that endures as a classic – though some would say it lives on in infamy – “Made in America” was the 86th and final episode of The Sopranos. It ties up many loose ends, sending off various supporting characters before getting to the legendary (and still passionately discussed) final scene.

Just what happens after that cut to black has inspired much debate, and the show’s creator, David Chase, is still asked about it to this day. Perhaps Tony literally died. Perhaps he didn’t. Maybe he’ll never feel happy or safe again, and that’s the real “death” implied by the show’s final shot. It’s a bold and challenging ending, making the audience come to their own conclusions.


Season 2, Episode 13 (2000)

The Sopranos - Funhouse

IMDb Rating: 9.4/10

“Funhouse” shows Tony suffering from intense food poisoning while also grappling with what to do about Salvatore ‘Big Pussy’ Bonpensiero, one of his closest friends and work associates, who Tony discovers has been an informant for the FBI.

It’s a surreal and shocking episode, filled with fantastically dark imagery, both in Tony’s fever dreams and in the “real life” scenes. For the show’s characters, informing is seen as the ultimate betrayal and is punishable by death. Big Pussy isn’t exempt from this rule, as the audience finds out in a nauseating and powerful scene that takes place on a constantly rocking boat that’s one of The Sopranos’ high points.

3“The Blue Comet”

Season 6, Episode 20 (2007)

The Sopranos - The Blue Comet

IMDb Rating: 9.6/10

Undeniably among the best Sopranos episodes, in “The Blue Comet,” the long-building conflict between the New Jersey and New York crew explodes into an all-out war. It’s perhaps The Sopranos‘ most frenzied and deadly episode, with numerous casualties; Tony’s crew is permanently devastated by Bobby’s death and Silvio being plunged into a coma he may not wake up from.

As the penultimate episode of The Sopranos, it makes sense that “The Blue Comet” is as earth-shattering as it is. There’s a heaviness and sense of finality to it all, and it deserves to be included among The Sopranos‘ best episodes.

2“Pine Barrens” (2001)

Sopranos - Pine Barrens

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

While The Sopranos was a crime drama series, first and foremost, it could also be incredibly funny. And it’s perhaps The Sopranos‘ funniest episode – “Pine Barrens,” from season 3 – that also happens one of the best Sopranos episodes, and the second highest-rated on IMDb, with a score of 9.7/10.

The dynamic between Paulie and Christopher was always one of the show’s best, so seeing them get stranded in the woods – almost freezing to death – after a botched hit job makes for great TV. It’s hilarious and expertly made, and while it might not represent the primary tone or feel of the show, it’s one of its best individual episodes.

1“Long Term Parking”

Season 5, Episode 12 (2004)

The Sopranos - Long Term Parking (1)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

“Long Term Parking” is the penultimate episode of the show’s penultimate season. It’s unsurprising why it’s earned a 9.6/10 rating on IMDb, as it delivers perhaps the most shocking and emotionally devastating death of a main character for the show as a whole.

Even if it shouldn’t be surprising that Adrianna – who the FBI forced to become an informant – is to meet a violent end for informing, the audience still holds out hope she’ll make a break from the mob life. The episode teases it before thrusting Adriana and the viewers back into reality and the tragic inevitability that comes with it.

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