Show Type: Drama

First Telecast: February 21, 1981

Last Telecast: May 8, 1981

Broadcast History:

February 1981 - March 1981, Saturday 9:00-10:00 on NBC

April 1981 - may 1981, Friday 10:00-11:00 on NBC


E. G. Marshall


Charles "Lucky" Luciano..... Michael Nouri

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel..... Joe Penny

Michael Lasker..... Brian Benben

Stella Siegel..... Kathleen Lloyd

Ruth Lasker..... Madeline Stow

Joy Osler..... Chad Redding

Chris Brennan..... Markie Post

Goodman..... Alan Arbus

Al Capone..... Louis Giambalvo

Frank Costello..... James Andronica

Vito Genovese..... Robert Davi

Salvatore Maranzano..... Joseph Mascolo

Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll..... David Wilson

Thomas E. Dewey..... Kenneth Tigar

Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria..... Richard S. Castellano

Thomas "Three Finger Brown" Lucchese..... Jon Polito

Dutch Schultz..... Jonathan Banks


Dramatizations of the constant "warfare" between criminals and law-enforcement agencies are almost invariably shown from the perspective of the "good guys." However, the success of the three Godfather movies, both theatrically and on TV, inspired NBC to dramatize the Mafia from the inside, showing the relationships of gangland figures with each other and their families. The Gangster Chronicles, though based on historical fact, was a dramatization of the lives of three crime figures who had grown up together in New York and worked together as bootleggers and racketeers during the Prohibition era. Lucky Luciano was the suave, cultured organizer; Bugsy Siegel, the violent, amoral enforcer; and Michael Lasker (a composite of several real people), the soft-spoken family man who was the brains of the operation. As with the Godfather movies, their personal lives were also explored. Unlike The Untouchables of 20 years before, which had drawn two-dimensional caricatures of Prohibition's gangsters, The Gangster Chronicles combined slam-bang action with a portrait of the hoods as real - though not necessarily very pleasant - people, and as products of their environment.