More than 30 years ago, Married to the Mob was a bona fide hit, well before making its mark as a TikTok trend.
Jonathan Demme’s comedy stars Michelle Pfeiffer as Angela de Marco, who is fed up with her Long Island Mafia-adjacent lifestyle and eyes a new path after her husband, Frank (Alec Baldwin), is killed by his crime boss (Dean Stockwell).
Edward Saxon, a producer on the film, tells THR that Demme encouraged the crew — including costume designer Colleen Atwood, who has since won four Oscars — to embrace the outlandish nature of the project. “Jonathan didn’t say to anybody, ‘Tamp it down,’ ” Saxon recalls. “It was, ‘Let’s have fun with this.’ And that describes the mob wife costumes.”
Before its release from Orion Pictures on Aug. 19, 1988, the distributor’s president, Joel H. Resnick, was feeling bullish, telling THR at the time that there was “good audience response to the film, and exhibitors responded very strongly to it.” Married to the Mob collected $21 million ($55 million today), along with an Oscar nomination for Stockwell. THR’s review praised the movie as “both smart and silly, a fractured look into modern-day suburbia.”
This year, Married to the Mob has returned to the zeitgeist — as did The Sopranos and Goodfellas — when TikTok users started sharing videos of themselves done up in the mob wife aesthetic, which includes fur coats, animal prints and gaudy jewelry. The trend even caught the notice of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, who posted to social media last month about the fashion style making a comeback. As for what might have spurred the trend, Saxon sees a link to former President Donald Trump, who is running again for the Oval Office despite facing federal charges.
“Trump’s first big moment was the ’80s, and we’ve never had somebody who seems so much like a Mafia boss, along with his wife, Melania,” Saxon says. “If you look at pictures from the Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve celebration, they’re right out of Married to the Mob.”
This story first appeared in the Feb. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.