Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) didn’t have an easy relationship with anyone on The Sopranos (which is available to stream anytime on HBO Now). Even his friend and associate Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola) said that “he’s always got someone to demonize.” But while some of Tony’s many disputes were little more than petty dust ups, others proved to be nothing short of lethal. With that in mind, here’s a ranking of Tony Soprano’s most dangerous feuds.
10. Carmela Soprano
Despite their tumultuous relationship, Tony and Carmela (Edie Falco) were genuinely in love with one another. But when their far-from-storybook marriage hit a particular rough spot at the end of the show’s fourth season, Carmela found her breaking point. After a drawn-out fight that goes on for days, the two decide to separate and remain that way throughout the show’s fifth season. With things at their most strained, however, Tony and Carmela do their best to remain (mostly) civil toward one-another with their son, A.J., stuck in the middle.
9. Paulie Gualtieri
A loyal, long-serving member of Tony’s crew, Paulie was always someone who managed to get under his boss’s skin pretty consistently. While Tony’s able to grin and bear it, writing him off as simply being “quirky,” their relationship starts to go south after Paulie lets a routine collection get out of hand, which leaves him and Christopher (Michael Imperioli) stranded in the Pine Barrens. Frustrated, Paulie begins doling out family secrets to the Sopranos’ New York allies, which causes plenty of problems for Tony.
Eventually, Paulie finds a way to get back into his boss’s good graces, Tony still holds onto his suspicion and even confronts him about it on a fishing trip. Paulie adamantly denies any wrongdoing, and though Tony clearly doesn’t believe him, he begrudgingly decides to let the whole thing go.
8. Feech LaManna
As a kid, Tony held up one of Feech LaManna’s (Robert Loggia) card games as a way to prove himself. But after spending a couple decades behind bars, Feech comes back into the fold still thinking of Tony as the kid who robbed him and not as a force of nature that demands respect and obedience. Tony tries to give him the benefit of the doubt but it becomes increasingly clear that Feech’s ego can’t be avoided.
While Tony can’t bring himself to kill someone a legend, he does set Feech up for an unannounced visit by the FBI while he’s in possession of a truckload of stolen goods. It’s a move that lands Feech back behind bars, and out of Tony’s hair for the rest of his life.
7. Richie Aprile
Another old school mobster who got released from prison with a sense of entitlement and chip on his shoulder, Richie Aprile (David Proval) was an almost immediate thorn in the Tony’s side. In one of his first acts as a free man, he visits an old family associate, ‘Beansie’ Gaeta (Paul Herman) and beats him severely. Ignoring Tony’s order to back off, Richie, of course, doubles down and runs ‘Beansie’ over, crippling him from the waist down.
Richie’s inability or lack of want to learn what it is to be a mobster in the new world order bugs Tony to no end, and the fact that he was engaged to his sister, Janice (Aida Turturro), doesn’t seem help matters at all. As Tony continues to box Richie in, Richie tries to rally forces to move against him, even believing he has an ally in Tony’s uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese). Unfortunately for Richie, however, Junior plays him and reveals Richie’s plans to Tony. Though, he wasn’t the member of the Sopranos to eliminate that threat.
6. Christopher Moltisanti
Once groomed to be Tony’s number one confidant, Christopher’s hot-headedness, recurring drug problems and Hollywood ambitions always seemed to get in the way. Eventually, the two start to drift apart, never able to reconcile their once tight-knit relationship before Christopher wrecks his car while driving he and Tony back to New Jersey. Badly wounded and wheezing for breath, Christopher tells Tony that he’ll “never pass a drug test,” a remark that stands as the final disappointment for Tony, cementing Christopher’s fate. As Tony starts dialing 911, he stops just long enough to squeeze the remaining life out of his nephew, putting a cold end to their long and storied history together.
5. Ralph Cifaretto
Smug, reckless, defiant, and a coke addict, Ralph embodied everything Tony despised and things grew especially heated between the two after Ralph beat a young woman to death behind the Bada Bing nightclub. For the sake of the business — Ralphie was a top earner, after all — Tony finds a way to achieve some semblance of peace for appearance sake.
As Tony continues to profit from Ralph’s work, the two even purchase a racehorse together, though Tony’s always quick to remind everyone of his true feelings for the guy as soon as he’s out of earshot. Ultimately, it’s their mutual investment that proves to be their final undoing. Once Tony learns that Ralph had their horse killed for the insurance money, Tony decides to end their contentious relationship for good. It’s a quick decision.
4. Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano
Junior’s disdain towards his nephew stems from Tony being the clear frontrunner for boss of the family after the death of acting boss Jackie Aprile (Michael Rispoli). Throughout the show’s first season, the two are increasingly at odds with one another, a situation that’s made worse when Tony decides to make Junior boss of the family, but in name only.
While this arrangement allows Tony to call the shots behind his back, Junior’s none-too-happy when he realizes the truth, and what results is a full-on war between the two. While Junior ends up making it out alive (due to an arrest for unrelated crimes), he and Tony eventually settle things.
3. Janice Soprano
Brothers and sisters not getting along isn’t all that unusual, but a mob family with a history of dysfunction is bound to make circumstances more volatile. When Janice first comes back into Tony’s life, she implies that she’s there to take care of their mother, Livia (Nancy Marchand). Tony, already resentful of her ability to get away from life in New Jersey, knows she only comes back “to pick the friggin’ bones.” Of course, she also cons her way into living rent-free, develops relationships with two of Tony’s biggest work rivals, and manages to siphon money from her brother whenever she needs to be bailed out.
Even though they’re able to settle into a functional brother/sister relationship over time — by Soprano standards, anyway — the years of tension between the two is always just under the surface ready to boil over.
2. Phil Leotardo
Out of all the problems Tony had with members of both of his families, none caused more disruption than his feud with Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent). After becoming the acting boss of the New York family following the imprisonment of Johnny Sack, Phil does his best to make nice with the Soprano family. But once Johnny Sack disgraces himself, all bets are off, and Phil sets his sights on North Jersey and Tony.
Despite Tony’s best efforts to placate New York in the name of peace and prosperity, though, Phil eventually reaches his breaking point, bringing about a war and decimating his family while backing Tony into a corner.
1. Livia Soprano
It would make sense that the person who’s had the most influence on his life would be the one that he has the longest feud with. As an impossible-to-please mother, Livia raised Tony in a world where love and approval were next to impossible to achieve. Years later, Livia quietly orchestrates the war between Tony and Junior, only to conveniently act forgetful when their attempt on Tony’s life backfires.
Though Tony writes his mother out of his life for the better part of a year, telling everyone that “she’s dead to me,” Livia dies unexpectedly of a stroke shortly after he starts trying to mend fences. While most of Tony’s feuds resolve themselves when the other person ends up in the grave, his issues with his mother linger for years after she’s gone.