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‘My Cousin Vinny’ Became an Instant Success After Its Release! See Joe Pesci and the Cast Then and Now

In March 2022, the stars of My Cousin Vinny celebrated the iconic comedy film’s 30th anniversary! Released in 1992, the movie explored the arrest of two teens Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein, played by Ralph Macchio and Mitchell Whitfield. Years later, both actors have continued their Hollywood careers and appeared in other popular films and television series. 

Also a part of the cast of the box office smash hit were Marisa Tomei, Fred Gwynne and Joe Pesci, the latter of whom portrayed Bill’s cousin Vinny Gambini. His role in the courtroom comedy helped the film find commercial success, grossing more than $64 million worldwide after its release, per IMDb.

Several heavy hitters were up for the role of Vinny before Joe was officially chosen. In consideration were Peter Falk, Robert De Niro and Jim Belushi. My Cousin Vinny screenwriter Dale Launer, casting director David Rubin and director Jonathan Lynn sat down with Rolling Stone in March 2022 to discuss the secrets behind the film three decades after its successful release, including the reasoning behind ultimately choosing the Hollywood legend for the part. 

“Vinny is an underdog who triumphs in spite of his limitations,” David said. “He does expose his insecurities in those early scenes, but he covers it in a bravado. So, you’re rooting for him to tap into that bravado in the climactic scene. The natural confidence that Joe Pesci has was perfectly suited to that arc.”

Though Joe was snubbed during awards show season after his role in the film, his costar Marisa ended up winning an Oscar for her role of Mona Lisa Vito. The former soap opera star has long credited Joe for helping her earn the part that led her to critical acclaim.

“It’s such a funny movie and it really holds up. I was fresh to the business and didn’t know how movies worked but Joe chose me for the part, then took me by the hand and guided me immensely, so I got very lucky,” she told The Guardian in June 2017 after the film’s 25th anniversary. “I keep my Oscar in my little library here. Maybe I should throw a Vinny reunion party and bring it out to show everyone? Just kidding.”

Keep scrolling to learn more about where the cast of My Cousin Vinny is today!