— No, not all successful Italian-Americans are in the mob nor have connections to it. And no, not all Italian-Americans “know someone” who is “connected.” Unfortunately, there are millions of Americans who believe these things to be true.
These facts inspired award-winning filmmaker Marino Amoruso to create his critically-acclaimed film PRIDE & PASSION: THE ITALIANS IN AMERICA. “I just got so tired of all the negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans in movies and on TV,” said Amoruso. “There are more than 20 million Americans in this country who can trace their heritage back to Italy, and according to the FBI, there are about 3000 members of organized crime. Still, any successful Italian-American is somehow always suspected to be ‘connected.’ It’s crazy.”
PRIDE & PASSION premiered on PBS last fall to excellent reviews and ratings, and is again being broadcast on PBS stations throughout the nation this fall, winter and into the spring. The opening prologue to Amoruso’s film, entitled GROWING UP ITALIAN, has become hugely popular on the internet. Narrated by popular actor and Oscar-nominee Robert Loggia, GROWING UP ITALIAN has close to one-million hits on YouTube. “It’s really amazing,” said Amoruso of how the film’s prologue has spread on the internet. “Italian-Americans are just so hungry for something positive. Growing Up Italian is what the Italian-American experience is for most of us. It’s about family, respect, loyalty, pride, all those things that are so important. It seems these days we are losing many of these values, and for Italian-Americans, watching Growing Up Italian, brings back memories of a time when family meant everything.”
Utilizing home movies and vintage photos, GROWING UP ITALIAN is a warm, moving emotional piece that recalls the joys and uniqueness of growing up in an Italian household with grandma and grandpa around. “In addition to the views on YouTube, we get thousands and thousands of hits on our website as well to see the piece,” said Amoruso.
“The enormous popularity of GROWING UP ITALIAN on the internet just illustrates to me how very proud Italian-Americans are of their history and heritage, as we should be,” said Amoruso. The reaction has been so great with the outpouring of letters and emails that Marino has launched a website www.beingitalian.net just to offer what was once the prologue – as a separate DVD.
Amoruso makes films about Italian-American history, heritage and culture that project a positive image of a people who have given so much to this nation. His other films in this genre include ROCKY MARCIANO: A LIFE STORY; FRANK SINATRA: THE MAN & THE MYTH; YOGI BERRA: IN HIS OWN WORDS; JOE DiMAGGIO: THE FINAL CHAPTER and DEAN MARTIN: THE ONE AND ONLY.