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Here are 53 quotes from various real-life mobsters, both old and new school. All of your faves are included: Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and the Teflon Don himself, John Gotti.
Keep it gangster.
“Let him go. He cheated me fair & square.”-Joseph “Joe Batters” Accardo
“No bum talks about a bum.”-Carlo Gambino
“Judges, lawyers and politicians have a license to steal. We don’t need one.”-Carlo Gambino
“Me, I never had the chance to say, ‘Well, I’m going to do something I want to do.’ I always did if for my family, for my children, for my father, for my mother.”-Tommy Gambino
“Mafia is a process, not a thing. Mafia is a form of clan-cooperation to which its individual members pledge lifelong loyalty. Friendship, connections, family ties, trust, loyalty, obedience-this was the glue that held us together.”-Joe Bonanno
“This life of ours, this is a wonderful life. If you can get through life like this and get away with it, hey that’s great. But it’s very unpredictable. There’s so many ways you can screw it up.”-Paul Castellano
“You are no better or worse than anyone else in La Cosa Nostra. You are your own man. You and your father are now equals. Your father, sons and brothers have no priority. We are all as one, united in blood. Once you become part of this, there is no greater bond.” -Thomas DiBella
“We’re not children here. The law is… how should I put it? A convenience. Or a convenience for some people and an inconvenience for other people. Like, take the law that says you can’t go into someone else’s house…I have a house, so hey, I like that law. The guy without a house-what’s he think of it? Stay out in the rain, schnook. That’s what the law means to him…”-Paul Castellano
“There are certain promises you make that are more sacred than anything that happens in a court of law, I don’t care how many Bibles you put your hand on. Some of the promises, it’s true… you make too young, before you really have an understanding of what they mean. But once you’ve made those first promises, other promises are called for. And the thing is you can’t deny the new ones without betraying the old ones. The promises get bigger; there are more people to be hurt and disappointed if you don’t live up to them. Then, at some point, you’re called upon to make a promise to a dying man.”-Paul Castellano
“If the president of the United States, if he’s smart, if he needs help, he’d come. I could do a favor for the president…”- Paul Castellano
“There’s no such thing as good money or bad money. There’s just money.”-Charlie “Lucky” Luciano
“If you have a lot of what people want and can’t get, then you can supply the demand and shovel in the dough.”- Charlie “Lucky” Luciano
“The world is changing and there are new opportunities for those who are ready to join forces with those who are stronger and more experienced.”-Charlie “Lucky” Luciano
“Ever since we was kids, we always knew that people can be bought. It was only a question of who did the buyin’ and for how much.”-Charlie “Lucky” Luciano
“Behind every great fortune, there is a crime!”-Charlie “Lucky” Luciano
“My rackets are run on strictly American lines and they’re going to stay that way.”-Al Capone
“This American system of ours… call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we seize it with both hands and make the most of it.”-Al Capone
“You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone.”-Al Capone
“When I sell liquor, it’s called bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, it’s called hospitality”.- Al Capone
“I never killed a guy who didn’t deserve it.”-Mickey Cohen
“Everybody has a price.”-Jimmy Hoffa
“I like to be by myself. Misery loves company.”-Antonio “Tony Ducks” Corallo
”Let’s take a son-in-law, somebody, put them into the (union) office; they got a job. Let’s take somebody’s daughter, whatever, she’s the secretary. Let’s staff it with our people . . . And when we say go break this guy’s balls . . . they’re there, seven o’clock in the morning to break the guy’s balls.”-”Tony Ducks” Corallo
“Things change now because there’s too much conflict. People do whatever they feel like. They don’t train their people no more. There’s no more respect.”-Aniello Dellacroce
“You don’t understand Cosa Nostra. Cosa Nostra means the boss is your boss. Boss is the boss is the boss. What I’m trying to say is a boss is a boss. What does a boss mean in this f___in’ thing. You might as well make anybody off the street.” -Neil Dellacroce
“When I think of the American Indian I think of their courage, strength, pride, their respect and loyalty toward their brothers. I honor the reverence they share for tradition and life. These traits are hungered for in a society that is unfortunately plagued by those whose only values are self-centered and directed at others’ expense…”-John Gotti
“He who is deaf, blind & silent, lives a thousand years in peace.”-John Gotti
”If they don’t put us away for one year or two, that’s all we need. But if I can get a year run without being interrupted . . . put this thing together where they could never break it, never destroy it. Even if we die, it’ll be a good thing.”-John Gotti
”You will put the garbage in the cans and make certain that the cans are covered. We got to keep our own backyard clean.”-John Gotti
“I never lie to any man because I don’t fear anyone. The only time you lie is when you are afraid.”-John Gotti
“I know where my mistakes are… where I made my mistakes. They’re too late to remedy, you know what I mean?”-John Gotti
“I called your f—— house five times yesterday, now, if you’re going to disregard my m—– f—— phone calls, I’ll blow you and that f —— house up . . . This is not a f—— game. My time is valuable. If I ever hear anybody else calls you and you respond within five days, I’ll f—— kill you.”-John Gotti
“Three-to-one odds I beat this.” -John Gotti
“In Bensonhurst, that was it, becomin’ a made guy. It’s all we kid’s ever talked about… I never saw the other side of it until I was in, and then it’s too late and you just do your work…”-Sammy “The Bull” Gravano
“Never open your mouth, unless you’re in the dentist chair.”-Sammy “The Bull” Gravano
“Murders came with smiles, shooting people was no big deal for us Goodfellas.” Henry Hill
“You heard of the double cross? In this business you gotta watch for the triple cross. You gotta always be alert. There’s so much jealousy. Guys always trying to set you up, put you in traps. Trying to get ya’ killed. There was so much viciousness in this thing.”-Nick Carmamandi
“Other kids are brought up nice and sent to Harvard and Yale. Me? I was brought up like a mushroom.”-Frank Costello
“Don’t lie. Tell one lie, then you gotta tell another lie to compound on the first.”-Meyer Lansky
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. Look at the Astors and the Vanderbilts, all those big society people. They were the worst thieves-and now look at them. It’s just a matter of time.”-Meyer Lansky
“Goodfellas don’t sue goodfellas. Goodfellas kill goodfellas.”-Salvatore Profaci
“Always overpay your taxes. That way you’ll get a refund.”-Meyer Lansky
“Run from a knife and rush a gun.”-Jimmy Hoffa
“According to my best recollection, I don’t remember.”-Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo
“We only kill each other.”-Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
“I’m no saint, but I swear to you that I’m no bum either.”-Frank Cotroni
“Shoot me. But I’m not going to answer any questions.”-Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano
“Don’t let your tongue be your worst enemy.”-John “Sonny” Franzese
”If you’re clipping people, I always say, make sure you clip the people around him first. Get them together, ’cause everybody’s got a friend. He could be the dirtiest (expletive) in the world, but someone that likes this guy, that’s the guy that sneaks you.”-Ilario Zannino
“Honest people have no ethics.”-Sam DeCavalcante
“One hand washes the other…both hands wash the face.”-Sam Giancana
“Give me a man who steals a little and I can make money.”-Sam Giancana
“The United States of America versus Anthony Spilotro. Now what kind of odds are those?”-Anthony “Tough Tony” Spilotro
In November 2007 Sicilian police reported to have found a list of “Ten Commandments” in the hideout of mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo. They are thought to be guidelines on how to be a good, respectful and honourable mafioso.
- No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.
- Never look at the wives of friends.
- Never be seen with cops.
- Don’t go to pubs and clubs.
- Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty – even if your wife is about to give birth.
- Appointments must absolutely be respected.
- Wives must be treated with respect.
- When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
- Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.
- People who can’t be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn’t hold to moral values.