As Seen In: A Civil Action (1998)
In order to prove corporate misbehavior on a grand scale, there's got to be an insider willing to brave the consequences to come forward and tell the truth. In Steven Zaillian's A Civil Action, Gandolfini is that man. In the movie, based on a true story that was adapted from Jonathan Harr's book of the same name, Gandolfini plays Al Love, a native of Woburn, Massachusetts and employee of a local tannery that has been contaminating the town's water supply for years, resulting in several cases of cancer and leukemia. Love is the guy responsible for receiving and tracking all of the company's chemical deliveries. And when he realizes that many of his co-workers have lied in their depositions, he realizes that he's part of a cover-up and comes forward to share everything he knows.
Though Gandolfini's role in the film is integral, it's not a huge part. Yet he steals the movie-yes, even from over-the-top co-star John Travolta-as a blue-collar guy with a heart of gold. —JW