Movie Rule: #112456: People will do anything to get away from the Mob.
Examples: Sister Act, True Identity
Most common in: Comedies
In movies, the Mafia is invincible. There's nowhere they can't go, there's no one they can't get to. If you owe them money or cross them, they will pursue you to the ends of the Earth for the rest of your natural life until they kill you. There's only one way to get away from them, and that's to give yourself a foolproof disguise as a nun. Or as a white man. Or as a woman. And even then, the Mafia will still be sniffing around your convent or sorority, eyeing you with suspicion.
Of course, in the real world, people hide from the Mob all the time. As powerful and crazy as they are, it's not like the Mafia has infinite resources and determination. For example, the Witness Protection program usually just gives people new names and puts them in a different state, and they get along fine. Even in extreme cases, they just do a little plastic surgery. Imagine the real-world WPP going, "Okay, Sammy 'The Thunder' Gravanno is really after you guys, so here's what we'll do for you. From now on, you'll be posing as Bobo and Bongo, two kangaroos at the San Diego Zoo. Here are your costumes." The real people would be like, "Are you insane? I'm not spending the rest of my life as a kangaroo. I'm going to Mexico."
The reason running from the Mob happens so often in movies is that it's an easy way to get someone to do something totally ridiculous. Here's the conversation:
WRITER: "You know, I've got a great idea for a movie; a guy has to disguise himself as a tree in a suburban family's yard. And here's the hook: the family has five dogs!"
PRODUCER: "Sounds funny. But why would a guy dress up like a tree?"
WRITER: "Oh, I don't know. Uh, let's say…he's trying to hide from the Mob."
PRODUCER: "Makes perfect sense to me. Write it up and let's shoot it."
Imagine a movie where somebody owes money to the Mafia and they say "Go whack him," and the hitman goes to the victim's house, then comes back and says "Can't find him. He must have skipped town," and the mobster goes, "Okay, fine. Forget about it. It was only a couple thousand bucks. Just tell everybody to keep an eye out for him. If we don't find him, we'll make it up at the casinos." I'd like to see that.