Rather than ignore the fact that its genre is pretty well-trodden, David Chase decided to reference the mob drama as much as possible in The Sopranos.
It made countless references to The Godfather - which Tony's mob were big fans of - it had a gangster film within a film (Cleaver), and used mostly Italian-American actors, with Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) saying he would only feature so long as his character didn't turn out to be a "rat".
The show also gave a slightly fourth wall-breaking nod to Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, employing tons of actors from it and often in similar roles.
The actress who played Karen's mother played Carmela's mother...many actors who were part of a crew in Goodfellas were also part of one in The Sopranos...the film and the show even shared an actor who played Scorsese in the HBO series.
In total, they shared a whopping 27 actors. Though that still isn't as many as Orange is the New Black shares with Law and Order.
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