Martin Scorsese's 'Goncharov' Is His Best Film—But It Never Existed

Martin Scorsese on set of 'Mean Streets'Credit: Taplin-Pe/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
The internet will do what it does best, and we can't help but love it. 

The internet is a bizarre place that has fandoms for all types of films, filmmakers, TV, animation, and… well, everything. Sometimes, bizarre projects created by these fandoms years ago can re-emerge and create a buzz online. 

The most recent sensation is a Tumblr post that showed an image of a knock-off brand of shoes with a stitched inscription about a fake Martin Scorsese-directed film, Goncharov. The tagline read, “The greatest mafia movie ever made.” 

Goncharov Tumblr meme
'Goncharov' Tumblr meme

While Scorsese is a director known for his mafia movies, there is no tangible evidence that “the greatest Mafia movie ever made” exists. 

But just because Goncharov doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that the internet doesn’t have a fabricated story that might inspire Scorsese in one way or another. Let's break down the history and legacy of Goncharov. 

Martin Scorsese on the set of 'The Age of Innocence' (1993)Credit: Alamy

What Is Goncharov About?

In the meme, Goncharov (1973) is a historical epic, a post-war era mafia film directed by Scorsese and starring his usual suspects, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Gene Hackman. With the production scale of The Godfather, the film follows the titular Goncharov (De Niro), a Russian mafia boss in Naples with a strained relationship with his fiancée, Katya (Cybill Shepherd), and his incredibly complicated relationship with Andrey (Harvey Keitel). 

The fake movie has a colorful list of side characters, a clock motif that represents time running out, and dozens of traditional markers of a Scorsese movie. 

The film has generated hundreds of fan fiction entries on Archive of Our Own, dozens of meta analyses, and pieces of fan art, including a stellar fan-made poster made by user beelzeebub.

'Goncharov'Credit: @beelzeebub

Where Did Goncharov Come From? 

Unfortunately, Goncharov is not a real film. 

In 1973, Scorsese was only a rising name in Hollywood with Mean Streets debuting in 1973. It contained some of the same cast in a small-scale crime drama set in Little Italy. 

Scorsese wouldn’t be making historical epics until 1980 with Raging Bull. (Another bit of the meme claims that Raging Bull was directed by either Scorsese or Matteo JWHJ 0715.)

Goncharov is simply an internet joke. Tumblr user zootycoon bought a pair of knock-off boots online in 2020. The film didn’t come from anything but a botched spelling of a 2008 Italian mafia film that Scorsese helped bring to the United States, Gomorrah. 

The post of the shoes resurfaced recently, and everyone has been keeping the joke alive by adding their own spins to the film’s mythos. 

Scorsese Plays Along

Although the film doesn’t exist, Variety reports that Scorsese is aware of the joke. Scorsese’s daughter Francesca, who is an actress and filmmaker of her own, says that the 80-year-old filmmaker acknowledged the fake film’s existence. 

In a TikTok response to a previous video that laid out the history of Goncharov, Francesca shared a screenshot of a text conversation between her and her father in which she asks if he has seen a New York Times article outlining the digital footprint of the Goncharov movement. 

In response, Scorsese wrote back, “Yes. I made that film years ago.” 

This speculator film simply wouldn’t exist without a simple misprint on a knockoff sneaker. The internet is a beautiful and mysterious place that can take any simple error and spin a story that becomes an urban legend. 

Let us know what you think of the mafia film in the comments!      

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