Goncharov: The greatest mafia movie to (n)ever exist


Matthew Centner, Chief Editor

The Russian mafia conspires to establish a foothold in the Italian mafia based in Naples in the film Goncharov: The greatest mafia movie to ever exist. 

Written by Martin Scorsese and Matteo JWHJ0715, Goncharov was released in 1973. The film features an astonishing cast that includes acting prodigies such as Robert de Niro as Goncharov/Lo Strainero, Cybill Shepherd as Katya Goncharova, and Harvey Keitel as Andrey Daddano. 

Goncharov heavily focuses on its characters, the relationships between them, and their futile attempts to escape the endless cycles of violence that are their lives. Lo Strainero —also known as Goncharov— is entranced by the ticking of time and a burning desire for revenge and attempts to garner influence within the Naples mafia alongside his partner-in-crime and rival, Andrey Daddano. While their relationship is complex at best, the relationship between Goncharov’s wife, Katya, and another woman named Sofia stands out even more, both relationships containing clear undertones of homoeroticism.

Goncharov stands out from other mafia films, touching on themes such as infidelity, identity, homosexuality, and mental illness, all of which were considered extremely taboo at the time of the film’s release. 

There are hitmen! Assassins! Relationships riddled with homoerotic sexual tension! Ice-pick-wielding madmen! Murder! What is there not to love about Goncharov?

What an interesting film, you must be thinking. How have I never heard of this? Where can I watch it? 

The problem is, you can’t, because Goncharov doesn’t exist. The only place it truly exists is on the label of a knockoff pair of boots, posted to Tumblr in 2020 by the since-deactivated user @zootycoon.

This Idiot Hasn't Seen Goncharov | Goncharov | Know Your Meme

“I got these knockoff boots online and instead of the brand name on the tag they have the name of an apparently nonexistent martin scorsese movie???” reads the post, followed by a “what the [expletive.]” 

It is widely believed that the advertisement was a misspelling of the 2008 movie Gomorrah, directed by Matteo Garrone and critically acclaimed by Martin Scorsese. However, Tumblr user @abandonedambition saw the opportunity to crack a joke: “This idiot hasn’t seen goncharov,” they replied in the comments.

The post remained buried for another two years until it resurfaced in November 2022, when Tumblr users decided to play on @abandonedambition’s comment. It didn’t take long for the comment to explode into a website-wide inside joke. Not even days later, fanfiction writers and authors were on the scene, crafting hundreds of pieces of content of Goncharov’s characters which often portrayed the relationships between Goncharov and Andrey Daddano and/or Sofia and Katya. Artist Alex Korotchuk created Goncharov’s unofficial premiere poster. Some people that were in on the joke even managed to create a musical score for the nonexistent Scorsese movie. While the plot for Goncharov varies from person to person, detailed descriptions of the film’s characters, scene, and trivia tidbits remain on display on this Google Document, crafted with love by Goncharov’s many fans.

Goncharov movie poster – created by artist Alex Korotchuk.

Once rumors of the film managed to leak from Tumblr, several news publications quickly wrote their own perspectives about the film, often mocking it and its dedicated fanbase. Many do not understand how Goncharov has attracted a large fandom, considering that the film does not really exist. 

The Goncharov fandom started from a simple joke, but has since spiraled into a large community of artists, fanfiction writers, musicians, screenwriters, and more. Thousands of people have developed a sense of belonging by being “in” on the joke, which begs the question: why does it matter that Goncharov is not an actual film? 

Does its lack of material existence make it any less real? 

Countless creative talents have bonded over the nonexistent film, developing characters, creating screen caps and a musical score, and even cultivating the lore and plot of the movie. Sure, the film isn’t streamable; but in every other aspect, Goncharov exists. 

The Goncharov meme originated from a misspelled advertisement on a pair of knockoff boots, but thanks to human creativity and the desire to belong, the desire to be a part of a community, Goncharov has become a film that exists in the hearts of thousands – even though the Scorsese film was never produced.