20 Most Essential Jonathan Demme Movies

From serial-killer thrillers to 'Stop Making Sense,' mob comedies to a feature-length monologue – the Demme films you need to see ASAP

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'Married to the Mob' (1988)

Mention the Mafia, and most folks immediately pictured the impeccably dressed capos and killers from The Godfather; when it came time for Demme to make a mobster movie, he pulled a complete 180-degree turn and made his gangsters the most gloriously tacky criminals you'd ever seen. Mob wife Angela de Marco (a pitch-perfect Michelle Pfeiffer) is a gum-smacking widow being pursued by a bumbling FBI agent (Matthew Modine) and New York big syndicate boss (Oscar-nominated Dean Stockwell); she's also incurred the wrath of the Don's wife (Mercedes Ruehl), whose grocery store showdown is like something lifted from a screwball comedy. Only Demme could turn a mob movie a symphony of kitsch and a kindly rom-com blessed with a deeply warped sense of sympathy. It's an underrated gem. DF

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