Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski was one of the most notorious and successful contract killers in America, having confessed to carrying out over 100 hits throughout his career for the likes of the DeCavalcante mafia crime family of Newark, New Jersey and the Five Families of New York City. In 1986, he was arrested for attempting to murder an undercover cop and convicted of five counts of murder.
Kuklinski lived a dual life – during daylight hours, he was a seemingly normal suburbanite living with his wife and three children in the quiet town of Dumont, New Jersey, yet at night he transformed into a cold-blooded killer that instilled fear in those around him. His family were apparently unaware that he was leading a double life until after his arrest.
This documentary explores Kuklinski’s background and upbringing, while giving insight into how such a calculating killer came to be. It examines his childhood experiences as well as his time spent working with organized crime families and being influenced by them. Through interviews with friends, family members, and even Kuklinski himself before his death in 2006, this film paints an intimate portrait of someone whose violent actions have become part of American criminal history.
Watching Confessions of a Mafia Hitman is essential viewing if you want to gain more understanding into Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski’s motivations as well as seeing more from the original interviews which were aired on HBO back in the 90s. The documentary also offers an interesting glimpse into what it means to lead a double life: one where violence can be hidden behind layers upon layers of deception until it suddenly comes crumbling down around them all at once when they are unmasked for who they truly are.