Dr Jonathan Munby (Lancaster University and Du Bois Institute, Harvard University)

“Kosher Nostra”: Screening the Memory of the Jewish American Gangster in: ‘The Godfather Part II’ (1974)

This lecture series is organised by the LBI London in cooperation with the Wiener Library.


 In 1974, ‘The Godfather Part II’ provided an iconic moment in Hollywood history. Italian American actor, Al Pacino, persuaded his mentor, Lee Strasberg (Jewish American guru of Method acting), to play Hyman Roth, a character based on the Jewish American gangster, Meyer Lansky. This talk examines how ‘The Godfather Part II’ negotiated the representation of Jewish American gangsters, looking back to the era of the “classic” gangster, when Jewish actors became famous playing Italian gangsters, when “tough Jews”, imagined and real, portrayed a feistily defiant self-image as violent Shtarkers who fought back against victimization.
Dr Jonathan Munby is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Lancaster University and Fellow of the Du Bois Institute, Harvard University. He is the author of ‘Public Enemies, Public Heroes: Screening the Gangster from Little Caesar to Touch of Evil’ and ‘Under a Bad Sign: Criminal Self-Representation in African American Popular Culture’.
FilmTalk lectures are held at The Wiener Library, 29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP and begin at 6.30pm.Admission is free but places must be reserved in advance by contacting the Wiener Library (email: or phone 020 7636 7247 or visit

Underground: Russell Square; Bus: 188, 168, X68, 7, 59, 68

For more information, click the link to download the leaflet.