Family, The: De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer

The Family (also known as Malavita), is based on a novel by Tonino Benacquista and directed by Luc Besson, featuring an all-star cast, headed by Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer,  and Tommy Lee Jones.

The film follows a family under the witness protection programwhich wants to change its lifestyle against all odds.

De Niro plays Mafia boss Giovanni Manzoni, who had offended Don Luchese (Stan Carp), a rival mafia boss. Having survived an attempted hit on his family, he snitches on Luchese, sending him to prison.

Manzoni and his family enter an FBI witness protection program under the supervision of Agent Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones). When their location is disclosed, they are relocated to a small town in Normandy, France.

However, in trying to readjust to a new life, each family member runs into trouble. Giovanni is observed by FBI agents across the street in a safe-house to ensure he doesn’t leave his house. Giovanni claims to be an author writing a historical novel on the Normandy landings, though many citizens are more familiar with the event.  Slipping, he discovers why the water in his house is brown, but no one takes responsibility. .

Meanwhile, daughter Belle (Dianna Agron) falls in love with a college student working as a substitute math teacher. She pretends to need math lessons in order to start a relationship with him, and eventually seduces him.

Wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) blows up a grocery store when its owner states anti-American comments. She spends a lot of time at a church, befriending the priest, but it all changes when she confesses the numerous crimes her family has committed.

On the first day at the local school, son Warren (John D’Leo) is beaten up by a gang. He decides ti collect information, which he shares with the most influential students, creating a mini-mafia within the school. Later he inadvertently alerts Don Luchese to their location when he quotes one of the kingpin’s sayings in a school paper.

Giovanni is asked to attend an American film event due to his historical expertise; he brings Agent Stansfield along, as an alibi for an explosive designed to destroy the structure causing his brown water.  In a funny moment, instead of  watching the scheduled Minnelli’s melodrama, Some Came Running, they watch Goodfellas, directed by Scorsese and co-starring De Niro himself.

Motivated to talk about his life, Throughout tGiovanni expresses a desire to talk about his life as a mobster (seemingly expressing some guilt, though he always claims this is untrue), and the debate after the film prompts him to tell his story to the audience. Feeling his cover has been compromised, Agent Stansfield gives an order to relocate the family again.

Warren decides to leave town with fake passports after the school detects his activities, afraid that the FBI will drop the family’s protection, but he returns to his family’s house after he sees a team of seven hitmen arriving on the train he was about to board. Belle decides to commit suicide after the college student rejects her due to her subious family. issues, but stops when she sees the hitmen entering the police station, where they kill several officers. As Giovanni returns home, Maggie arrives outside and notices the team of hitmen, who have already killed firemen and who proceed to kill their neighbors. She takes cover in the FBI safe-house across the street.

The hitmen blow up the family’s house, and in gunfight all  family members get involved. Giovanni and Maggie stab a hitman after he raids the safe-house, killing the two FBI agents, who tried to abuse Maggie.  Belle kills a hitman who went to look for new weapons in his car’s trunk. Warren shoots two hitmen, one hitman is killed by the family dog, which he intended to shoot. While chasing Belle, the lead hitman is killed by Stansfield’s car.

Relocating his clain again, Giovanni feels good that telling his story has reunited the members of his family.

The sscenario, co-written by Luc Besson and Michael Caleo, is based on the 2004 novel Malavita by Tonino Benacquista, who chose not to get involved in the film’s production.  The author wanted the cast to be “American actors that have their own myth and legend. He was the one to propose De Niro for the patriarchal gangster.

Filming took place in the locations of Gacé and Le Sap in Normandy, and in New York. Some of the filming also took place L’Aigle and at Cité du Cinéma in Saint-Denis.


Robert De Niro as Fred Blake/Giovanni Manzoni

Michelle Pfeiffer as Maggie Blake/Maggie Manzoni, the mother.

Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Stansfield, the FBI agent.

Dianna Agron as Belle Blake/Belle Manzoni, the daughter.

John D’Leo as Warren Blake/Warren Manzoni, the son.

Jimmy Palumbo as Di Cicco

Domenick Lombardozzi[6] as Caputo

  • Stan Carp as Don Luchese
  • Vincent Pastore as Fat Willy
  • Jon Freda as Rocco
  • Michael J. Panichelli Jr. as Billy the Bug
  • Paul Borghese as Albert
  • Anthony Desio as Bernie
  • Ted Arcidi as Tommy
  • David Belle as Mezzo