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The Real Life Story of a Contract Killer, Richard Leonard Kuklinski in "The Iceman"

Updated on August 14, 2013
from the movie "The Iceman", Kuklinski is played by Michael Shannon
from the movie "The Iceman", Kuklinski is played by Michael Shannon


Proceed with caution. May contain spoilers.

Watch 'The Iceman'

My rating for The Iceman

5 stars for The Iceman

The Iceman...

About the movie...

The Iceman is a movie released in May, 2013 and I must say I stumbled onto the the movie without any knowledge whatsoever about what the movie was about or how it will turn up. In fact I am not a really big fan of 'documentary + drama' genre. But now that I have finished watching The Iceman, I must say I absolutely loved it.

The movie spans roughly through 105 minutes and had been able to capture the significant aspects of Kuklinski's life. It is a bearable 105 minutes filled with many character defining moments of Richard Kuklinski. Certain flashbacks show us how and what made Kuklinski the man is turned out to be.

Richard Kuklinski may have had killed around 250 people (according to his confessions), but when you really get an insight into his life, one may even develop a certain empathy towards him. When you really look into Richard Kuklinski's life, we really can't blame his crimes on him. It's the society that made him that way, and so is in many stories of killers.

The character of Richard Kuklinski is played by Michael Shannon, and does a brilliant job at that. Shannon is made for the character-tall, rough face and stone-cold deadly gaze in his eyes. Roy Liotta is a giant in the pornography business, selling and distributing, and let's face it, he is a veteran at acting-he could act anything. This year James Franco seems to be in everything. First on Sprig Breakers, then on Oz the Great and Powerful and now The Iceman. However he plays a relatively minor role.

Michael Shannon and Roy Liotta in The Iceman
Michael Shannon and Roy Liotta in The Iceman
Ray Liotta in The Iceman
Ray Liotta in The Iceman
Richard Leonard "The Iceman" Kuklinski
Richard Leonard "The Iceman" Kuklinski

Richard Leonard "The Iceman" Kuklinski...

About Kuklinski...

Richard Leonard Kuklinski was an American born in April 11, 1935 in New Jersey.

"We come from the same father."

Kuklinski said when asked about his brother, who raped and murdered a 12 year old girl. There's just so much meaning behind this statement.

Richard Kuklinski with his two daughters
Richard Kuklinski with his two daughters
Richard and Barbara Kuklinski on wedding day
Richard and Barbara Kuklinski on wedding day

According to the movie Kuklinski made a living through creating pornographic movies before his life of crime. But then he gets forced into the Mafia and soon becomes a contract killer, taking out members of his rival gangs. Kuklinski was ruthless in his killings. He did not hesitate, back down. Although, he had one rule. He never killed children and women-even those who witnessed his crimes. This is even shown in the movie.

Nicknamed 'The Iceman'...

Richard Kuklinski was nicknamed The Iceman soon after becoming a contract killer for Mafia. This nickname could be due to two reasons. One, because of the stone-cold nature that he took out his victims, without hesitation, without question and without mistakes. But the real reason for the nickname the Iceman is because of his attempts to mislead the investigators on the time of death by freezing the corpses in an industrial freezer.

Early Life...

Richard Kuklinski was constantly and severely abused by both his parents. He often got beat by his father and his mother was no exception. Both of his parents believed in strict upbringing of children with punishment and the influence of the church.

Richard had three siblings. His elder brother died of severe injuries from the beatings of his parents. He had a younger sister and a brother. His younger brother was sentenced to life in prison due to rape and murder of a 12 year-old girl.

Family Life...

Richard Kuklinski was married to Barbara Kuklinski and had two daughters and a son. But they got divorced later on. For a major part of their married life, Kuklinski was able to hide his real occupation from his family. He convinced them he worked as an exchange broker.


Richard Kuklinski was charged with murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment and died of natural causes on March 05, 2006.

-Source: Wikipedia

Documentaries and Books Based on Kuklinski's Life...

The real life story of Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski has inspired documentaries, books and now a movie. All these books consist of factual information based on the real life and life events of Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski. Kuklinski later on did many confessions about his murders and took part in interviews. These were made into documentaries about his life. The books and documentaries are given below.

Documentaries based on The Iceman...

An Interview with Richard Kuklinski by HBO...

Help others decide...

What is your opinion on The Iceman movie?

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    • Nimesh De Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Nimesh De Silva 

      4 years ago

      Very true. Even Kuklinski was kind of forced into the killing. Later on he got very good at what he did, but that's a different story. It's good to see such movies about real life characters.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      There are many stories about killers who were simply forced to get into the business or didn't have any other choice. Great article about The Iceman Kuklinski. He was one of the most notorious killers of the game.


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