The Sopranos

The Sopranos: All The Family Bosses, Ranked By Intelligence

The Sopranos saw several bosses of each crime family during its run. Some were great at the position because they used their brains but others didn't.

There are a number of street soldiers, capos, and consiglieres in The Sopranos but only ten characters manage to obtain the rank of “Boss” during the series run. Heads of families have all the powers as they can order numerous hits, issue promotions, and decide who among the younger gangsters will become a “Made Man.”

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Since The Sopranos mostly focuses on two families, most of the bosses seen on the show come from the DiMeo and Lupertazzo crime families, with only two bosses from other families being featured. Being a boss requires one to be intelligent enough to make correct decisions all the time. Sadly, this isn’t the case with each family head.

Faustino “Doc” Santoro

Doc Santoro gets whacked outside a massage parlor

Doc serves as the boss of the Lupertazzi Crime Family for about two minutes and this can be blamed on his lack of foresight. After Johnny Sack succumbs to cancer and Phil Leotardo gets hospitalized, Doc takes over but the family becomes very disorganized during his reign.

After his recovery, Phil rallies for his protégé Gerry Torciano to become boss. In a reckless act, Doc orders a hit on Torciano, thus angering Phil. Tony also feels disrespected because Silvio almost gets killed too during the restaurant hit. As expected, Doc pays the price by being shot outside a massage parlor. One cant help but feel that he’d have lived longer if it wasn’t for his lust for power.

Johnny Sack

Johnny sack learns that his consigliere Jimmy Petrille betrayed him

As ruthless as Johnny Sack is, he makes plenty of questionable decisions. For one, he orders a hit on Ralph for making a joke about his wife Ginny. This causes friction with Tony because Ralph is the family’s highest earner. He then lies to Paulie that Carmine holds him in high regard, only for Paulie to discover that Carmine doesn’t know him. This puts a dent in Sack’s friendship with Paulie.

There’s the time Sack nearly whacks Carmine, something that could have triggered a war between him and Little Carmine. And after getting arrested, Sack makes a deal with the government for a reduced sentence. His allocation angers his former associates who ban any future association with him.

Phil Leotardo

Lupertazzi boss Phil Leotardo shoots a man in The Sopranos Season 5

Phil is all aggression and no brains. Having served 20 years behind bars after being nabbed in the Mafia Crackdown of the ’80s, he considers himself the ultimate mobster. Instead of forging good relationships, Phil keeps going after Tony and his men.

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He hunts down Blundetto, forcing Tony to take action himself. He also displays a high degree of homophobia by hunting down Vito, even though he is not a member of his family. In the end, his high-handedness causes his own men to turn on him and approve a planned hit by the New Jersey crew. His death ends up being the most gruesome in the series.

Carmine Lupertazzi

Carmine Lupertazzi plays golf in The Sopranos

Carmine’s coronation happens in 1957. This means that by the time the series begins, he has been boss for close to four decades. During this time, he mostly avoids getting in trouble by keeping a low profile. This includes staying away from bars and restaurants, something his fellow mobsters enjoy doing.

After Carmine’s death, Bobby shares memories of the man, claiming that he was the person who invented the type of match-fixing known as “point shaving.” This enabled his associates to earn plenty of money from betting. His only flaw is that he tends to make his junior feel less appreciated. For this reason, Sack wanted to whack him.

Jackie Aprile Sr.

Jackie Aprile Sr holds a meeting outside a diner

Jackie” Aprile, Sr. is the acting boss of the DiMeo Crime Family when the series begins. He is reported to have taken over when family founder Ercole ‘Eckley’ DiMeo was handed a prison sentence in 1995.

According to Tony, Jackie was known for his ability to avoid jail time by working the system. This little detail gives him bonus points when it comes to intelligence. His reign is the most peaceful too. In the violent mob world, it takes a lot of extraordinary decisions to achieve that. And since Jackie knows better, he keeps his children out of the world of crime.

Annalisa Zucca

Zucca Family boss Annalisa Zucca speaking to Tony in The Sopranos

The only female boss in the show, Annalisa is the head of the Zucca Family in Naples. She is introduced in Season 2 when Tony and some of his crew members visit Italy to set up a business trading stolen cars. Tony learns that Zucca has been appointed the new boss since the patriarch, Vittorio is senile.

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Though Annalisa and Tony flirt briefly, they mostly stick to business. Unlike other bosses, Zucca is very respectful towards her soldiers, making her very likable. To sweeten the deal with Tony, she even allows him to take one of her soldiers, Furio Giunta, to America with him. The Zucca Family and the DiMeo Family thus maintain a stable relationship for a long time.

George Paglieri

Paglieri Crime Family boss George Paglieri during a meeting in The Sopranos

The boss of the Paglieri Crime Family appears briefly in the final season to broker a peace treaty between the New York and New Jersey mobsters. As an elderly man who has been in the mafia for ages, he is aware that the ongoing war between the two families isn’t good for business.

Paglieri is also said to have taken a back seat in his family to avoid scrutiny by the authorities. He now only operates behind the shadows which is why he is rarely seen.

Corrado aka Uncle Junior

The Sopranos Junior Soprano

While under house arrest, Junior is cunning enough to request to attend funerals of people he hardly knows so that he can briefly get out of his home. And despite the fact that he and Tony don’t see eye to eye on most things, he mostly resists the temptation of trying to whack him.

When Richie brings up the idea of killing Tony and take over as boss, Junior tells Tony about the plan. This shows wisdom on his side because it’s him who would have ended up dead if Tony found out about the plan.


DIMeo family consigliere Silvio Dante in The Sopranos

The consigliere briefly serves as the acting boss in Season 6 when Junior accidentally shoots Tony in the abdomen. Prior to that, he serves as Tony’s advisor. During meetings to discuss sensitive matters, Tony has been shown to let Silvio stay while everyone else was asked to leave the room.

Throughout the series, Silvio gives Tony sound advice, such as how to deal with the stubborn and impulsively violent Richie Aprile and Ralph. He is also one of the few people who can make Tony change his mind. Silvio also knows better than to be disloyal. While Paulie, Richie, and Ralph have all considered turning against Tony, the thought has never crossed Silvio’s mind.

Tony Soprano

Tony and his daughter Meadow look for colleges in The Sopranos episode "College" visiting colleges

In the first season, Tony’s wisdom leads him to dilute his beef with Junior by allowing him to become the new boss. In truth, Tony is using Junior to distract the FBI while he conducts his operations behind-the-scenes as a street boss.

Tony is always careful when talking to his subordinates, especially when they are asking too many questions. This way, he has avoided giving out incriminating information to FBI informants. Thanks to his quick-thinking and general caution, he survives the entire series without ever getting killed or being handed a jail sentence.

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