Follow TV Tropes


Characters / The Godfather - Other Crime Bosses

Go To

Main Character Index
Corleone Family | Corleone Family Associates | Other Crime Bosses

Other mob bosses and criminals.
    open/close all folders 

     Virgil Sollozzo
"What guarantees can I give you?"
"I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense."

Portrayed By: Al Lettieri

A freelance criminal allied with the Tattaglia family, who urges Vito and the other dons to expand into narcotics. He engineers the attempt on Vito's life, setting the plot in motion.

  • Big Bad Duumvirate: He seems to be this with Tattaglia.
  • Blatant Lies: When Michael meets with him at the restaurant, Michael insists that any deal requires Sollozzo stopping his attempts to kill Vito. Sollozzo doesn't answer that request, deflecting it trying to claim "I'm the hunted one... You think too much of me kid." It's clear to Michael (and the audience) that Sollozzo won't stop making it easier to sympathize with Michael when he kills Sollozzo.
  • Co-Dragons: He and Tattaglia serve as this to the real Big Bad, Emilio Barzini.
  • Boom, Headshot!: This is how he dies, courtesy of Michael Corleone.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Shot halfway through by Michael.
  • Faux Affably Evil: A ruthless businessman who behaves in a polite and personable manner when he's not murdering people.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Speaks it fluently like a native despite being known as "The Turk."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sollozzo ordered the hit on Vito Corleone after Sonny expressed interest in the drug deal, expecting Sonny to take him up on the offer after Vito turned him down. Instead Sonny initiates a war among the Five Families and helps plot Michael's assassination of Sollozzo.
  • Knife Nut: Sollozzo is said to be very good with a knife, but being a businessman he avoids fighting if he can help it. This shows up briefly in the film when Luca Brasi meets with him in Bruno Tattaglia's nightclub.
  • Knight of Cerebus: His arrival marks the steady erosion of the unassailable position held by the Corleone Family at the beginning of the beginning. He stabs Luca Brasi's right hand, pinning it to the bar while one of Bruno's men garrotes Luca Brasi.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Had some elements of Joe Colombo, in that he and Joe Magliocco were used as fronts by Joe Bonanno in his bid to take over the Mafia.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He proclaims he doesn't like violence because he is a businessman. "Blood is a big expense." Tom Hagen agrees with this view, while Sonny puts revenge before the business.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: He had a very elaborate plan with Tattaglia to take down the Corleones. Judging from Brasi's death, it's a very violent plan too.
  • Sinister Schnoz: One of the reasons why he was called "The Turk" was because he had a nose like a Turkish scimitar.

     Philip Tattaglia
"But I must have strict assurance from Corleone. As time goes by and his position becomes stronger, will he attempt any individual vendetta?"
"He [Vito] had all the judges and politicians in his pocket. He refused to share them."

Portrayed By: Victor Rendina

Heads one of New York's Five Families, allies with Sollozzo (and Barzini) against Vito to advance his standing.

  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Virgil Sollozzo as a front.
  • Co-Dragons: He and Sollozzo serve as this to the real Big Bad, Emilio Barzini.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Appears to be the main villain in the early stages. It's actually Barzini.
  • Dirty Coward: He's still a dirty pimp that barely lifts a finger for Barzini's plans. He tends to avoid facing danger if the opportunity arises.
  • Dirty Old Man: He's old enough to have a middle-aged son and he still consorts with prostitutes.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: More evident in the novel; he specializes in prostitution and is subsequently treated with thinly-veiled contempt by most of the other Families.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Loosely based on Tommy Lucchese, who was short in height. Other than that, Lucchese did not specialize in prostitution, but in other areas such as Manhattan's Garment District, union racketeering, narcotics trafficking and also had control over rackets at Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport). Also has some elements of Joe Magliocco, in that he and Joe Colombo were used as fronts by Joe Bonanno in his bid to take over the Mafia.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Unlike the other Family heads, he still speaks with a pronounced Italian accent.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Two of Michael's henchmen, armed with automatic weapons, attack him while he is in bed with a prostitute. They pump him, the bed, and the unfortunate prostitute full of lead in the process.

     Emilio Barzini
"A refusal is not the act of a friend."
"If Don Corleone had all the judges and politicians in New York, then he must share them or let others use them. He must let us draw the water from the well."'

Portrayed By: Richard Conte

Heads the second-most powerful New York family, regarded as a power broker among the feuding families. He's revealed to be the one pulling the strings behind Sollozzo and Tattaglia.

  • Big Bad: The true antagonist of Part I.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In a seemingly friendly gesture, he accepts Don Vito's request to help set up peace summit called to bring an end to the Five Families War. This is ultimately revealed to be a cynical ploy when Barzini uses the summit as an opportunity to subject Vito to a shakedown resulting in the forceful appropriation of much of the latter's power and influence.
  • The Chessmaster: Had his plan to take down the Corleone's set up very well. However, Michael managed to out-gambit him.
  • The Don: Of the Barzini Family.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Appears at Connie's wedding long before his importance to the plot is established.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He exhibits a very diplomatic and pleasant demeanor in his dealings with business partners and other associates. However, in reality, he is a very cold-hearted and calculated man who has no scruples about employing brutal and underhanded tactics to increase his power.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He is ultimately revealed to be the mastermind behind a conspiracy to usurp power from the Corleone originally believed to be led by Philip Tattaglia.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He secretly conspires with Carlo Rizzi to have Connie viciously beaten in order to provoke her hot-headed brother, Santino, and lure him to his death.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: His character is loosely based on Vito Genovese and Joe Bonanno, two ruthless mob bosses who sought to become the "Boss of all Bosses" by cornering the narcotics market and eliminating all potential rivals within the criminal underworld via fronts.
  • Out-Gambitted: Both Vito and Michael Corleone have outsmarted Barzini by deliberately letting him and the other bosses whittle away the Corleone interests in order to lull them into a false sense of security. Before his death, Vito warns his son that Barzini will try to have Michael eliminated under the guise of a peace meeting, and that whoever approaches Michael about the meeting will be exposed as the traitor within the family. Michael uses this info to his advantage, and silently eliminates the the other Mafia heads (including Barzini). Sal Tessio (who reveals himself to be the traitor at Vito's funeral, albeit unknowingly) and Carlo Rizzi (for conspiring with Barzini to abuse Connie) were later executed for betraying the Corleones.

     Moe Greene
"You goddamn guineas you really make me laugh."
Portrayed By: Alex Rocco

Hotheaded Las Vegas crime boss who runs afoul of Michael's plans to relocate the Corleone Family to Nevada. In Part II, he's revealed to have been a protégé of Hyman Roth, providing Roth motivation for revenge against Michael.

  • Hot-Blooded: Very quickly goes from affable host to angry, blustering defiance when meeting with Michael.
  • Kick the Dog: His treatment of Fredo.
  • Kosher Nostra: Of Jewish background.
  • Moe Greene Special: The Trope Namer.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Based on Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, a friend and partner of Meyer Lansky who played a key role in developing the Las Vegas Strip and died in a manner similar to Greene. His name is a portmanteau of two other Las Vegas gangsters, Moe Dalitz and Gus Greenbaum, who were Siegel's contemporaries.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Calls Michael a "guinea".
  • Small Role, Big Impact: His actual screen time is rather brief, but his death plays a major role in Part II.
  • Smug Snake: He's not nearly as powerful (or secure) as he thinks he is. Somewhat justified, as he's aware of the turmoil within the Corleone Family and doesn't see Michael as a serious threat.
  • Stupid Evil: Not only does he aggressively refuse Michael's offer of a buyout, he blurts out that Barzini has already contacted him. Thus confirming for Michael who the real Big Bad is, and marking Greene himself for execution.
  • Visionary Villain: According to Hyman Roth, he created Las Vegas's gambling and vice rackets virtually from scratch.
  • While You Were in Diapers: He proclaims as such to Michael, when he is angered by his dismissive attitude towards him.

     Hyman Roth
"Good health is the most important thing. More than success, more than money, more than power."
"Michael, we're bigger than U.S. Steel."

Portrayed By: Lee Strasberg

Born Hyman Suchowsky, the Jewish-American Roth befriended Vito during Prohibition, but later set up his own organization in Miami. Aging and perhaps terminally ill, Roth invites Michael to join his operations in Cuba, but he's soon revealed to be plotting against Michael.

     Don Francesco Ciccio
"It's not his words I'm afraid of!"
— on Vito

Portrayed By: Giuseppe Sillato

A Sicilian Mafia chief who kills Vito's father, brother and mother, forcing him to flee to the United States. Decades later, Vito returns to Sicily, seeking revenge.

  • Asshole Victim: This is the man that killed Vito's parents and older brother... it's hard to shed a tear for him when Vito finally gets his long-sought and very well-deserved revenge.
  • Big Bad: Of Vito's story in Part II.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Evil vs. Evil example. Killing off Vito's entire family eventually led to the kid growing up to become a (very vengeful) crime lord himself.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He killed Vito's father Antonio Andolini just for insulting him. To think that if it weren't for Ciccio having such a fragile ego, the whole Godfather saga wouldn't even have happened.
  • The Don: The top crime boss of Corleone, Sicily at the beginning of the 20th century, until his assassination.
  • Fat Bastard: An overweight, child-murdering mob boss.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can can act polite and friendly during business meetings, but is ruthless enough to have whole families killed if they cross him.
  • Jerkass: He was more than willing to kill Vito as a child to ensure he wouldn't return for revenge.
  • Karmic Death: He gets his stomach stabbed and sliced by Vito Andolini, the now-grown-up boy whom Ciccio had orphaned so long ago.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: He attempts to kill all of Antonio Andolini's male relatives, including his 9-year-old son Vito, knowing they would be honor-bound to avenge Antonio's murder. This forces Vito to escape to America, where he becomes a Don himself, eventually giving him the ability to return and kill Don Ciccio.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He has grown too old and almost blind by the time Vito arrives to take his revenge. It doesn't stop him from delivering it anyway.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Had Vito's older brother Paolo killed for attempting to avenge his father, and tried to have Vito killed since Vito would do the same.

     Don Fanucci
"Tell your friends I don't want a lot. Just enough to wet my beak."

Portrayed By: Gastone Moschin

A small-time extortionist terrorizing Little Italy in the 1910s, who drives Vito to a life of crime.

  • Backup Bluff: A villainous example, and his entire MO. He scares the people in the neighborhood into thinking he is a member of the Black Hand.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He is very feared and acts all ruthless, but he is a Paper Tiger: there are some paisans who don't pay him any tribute, he has no real muscle and resorts to police threats to enforce his demands. After Vito tests him by only paying half of his debt, he decides that he's no threat and kills him.
  • The Bully: He was more of a neighborhood bully in Little Italy rather than a true mobster.
  • Catchphrase: Fond of telling people he needs to "wet my beak," i.e. skim their profits.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: For Vito, killing Fanucci turns him from petty criminal to respected godfather.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He uses his power to get his nephew a job (at the cost of Vito's) and when intimidating Vito Fanucci takes a dress from Vito's store to give to one of his own daughters.
  • Karmic Death: He gets Vito fired from his job, forcing him to become a criminal. Vito killing him seems just punishment.
  • Stupid Evil: When he smugly attempts to extort money from Vito, he: a.) threatens Vito not with violence but with a visit from the cops, suggesting that he's got no actual muscle; b.) first asks for $200, then halves it to $100 when Vito doesn't immediately capitulate, suggesting that he lacks force of will; c.) doesn't offer Vito anything at all (except the implication that he won't call the cops.) All this does is show Vito that Don Fanucci is not a serious threat, and that killing him will annoy no-one.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He was willing to threaten a young lady with a knife to her neck, just to extort more money out of her father.

     Joey Zasa
"As for Don Corleone, he makes it very clear to me today, that he is my enemy. You must choose between us."

Portrayed By: Joe Mantegna

A flamboyant associate of the Corleones, trying to gain power in New York City. Michael and the other crime bosses consider him an embarrassment for his media grandstanding.

  • Man of Wealth and Taste: He likes to be known for his well dressed style and as a champion of Italian-American heritage. It doesn't exactly endear him to his fellow mafiosi.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: A thinly-veiled up-yours against Joseph Colombo, from his personality to the Italian-American heritage organization Zasa fronts, resembling Colombo's Italian-American Civil Rights League which caused Coppola headaches during the first film. His over-the-top, media-friendly persona also recalls John Gotti, Carmine Persico, Paul Castellano and "Crazy" Joe Gallo.
  • Remember the New Guy?: As with Pentangeli in Part II, a case of Real Life Writes the Plot. Originally Zasa was to be Willie Cicci, but Joe Spinell's death forced Coppola to rewrite his storyline for a new character.
  • The Starscream: He is hinted as wanting to take over Altobello's plan so he can be Don.

     Don Altobello
"The richest man is the one with the most powerful friends."

Portrayed By: Eli Wallach

Long-time friend of the Corleone family (he was even Connie's godfather), revealed to be the Big Bad manipulating events in Part III.

  • Big Bad: Of Part III, secretly being Michael's enemy.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Don Lucchesi.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He managed to fool the Corleones for a long while with a friendly, yet senile disposition; he even managed to become Connie's godfather thanks to his act.
  • The Chessmaster: He has an elaborate plan to kill Michael and his pomps so he can take over his operations. However, like the others, Michael manages to catch on to his betrayal and outsmart him.
  • Evil Old Folks: Despite his age, he's still the antagonist of Part III for a reason.
  • False Friend: To the Corleone family, secretly being the Big Bad.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Polite, friendly and a bit senile but it's all an act.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He's the one behind Joey Zasa, among other things.
  • Remember the New Guy?: He calls himself the Corleone family's "oldest friend." One wonders where he's been for the past two movies.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Connie seems to be a bit sad after poisoning him as he was her godfather.
  • Wicked Cultured: He genuinely enjoyed the opera reciting with the performers.

     Don Licio Lucchesi
"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."

Portrayed By: Enzo Robutti

An Italian politician involved in the Vatican Bank, with heavy ties to organized crime, and Michael's enemy Altobello in particular.

  • Big Bad: Of Part III, secretly being Michael's enemy.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Don Altobello.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Prominently wears a pair of glasses, which is ironically used to kill him.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Stabbed to death by his own glasses in his throat.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Lucchesi is modeled on Giulio Andreotti, who was the prime minister of Italy during III's release and was convicted (then acquitted) of his links with the Real Life mafia. The line Lucchesi's killer gives before Lucchesi's murder — "Power wears out those who don't have it" — is a direct quote from Andreotti. He also shares a lot of traits (down to his first name) with Licio Gelli a grandmaster of the Freemasons.

     Archbishop Gilday
"It seems the power to absolve debt is greater than the power of forgiveness".

Portrayed by: Donal Donnelly

High-ranking Church official, involved with the Vatican Bank. Michael enlists him as an ally in his effort to purchase Immobiliare, unaware that he's working with Altobello and Lucchesi.

  • The Chessmaster: Quite good at manipulating Michael through outward displays of friendship. It's implied that he's the one who engineers Pope John Paul's death.
  • Disney Villain Death: Shot by Neri then falls down a staircase.
  • Faux Affably Evil: A very charming and soft-spoken man in public, but a ruthless schemer behind closed doors.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Like other characters in Part III, Gilday is based on a major figure in the Vatican Bank scandals, in this case American-born Archbishop Paul Marcinkus. Unlike his film counterpart, Marcinkus remained head of the Vatican Bank through 1990 and died of natural causes in 2006.
  • Sinister Minister: If not his demeanor, then certainly his actions.

     Frederick Keinszig
"Everything will be out in the open if Corleone dies."

Portrayed by: Helmut Berger

A Swiss banker who helps negotiate the Immobiliare deal. Fearing exposure, he skips town with a Briefcase Full of Money and incriminating documents, which doesn't save him.

  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Happily sells out his co-conspirators as well as Michael. Vincent sums him up well:
    "That little Swiss banker fuck — he's been swindling everyone from the beginning. Fuck him."
  • Ironic Nickname: "God's Banker."
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: An archetypal example, especially given his ties to a Corrupt Church and The Mafia.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: For Roberto Calvi, chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, one of the key players in the Vatican Bank scandals of the '80s. Keinszig's fate is explicitly modeled off Calvi's death; the banker was found hanging from Blackfriar's Bridge in London in 1982.
  • Smug Snake: Condescending, arrogant and untrustworthy; no one much likes him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When Pope John Paul I takes power, he decides to backstab not only Michael but Altobello, Lucchesi and the Vatican, running off with a suitcase full of cash, bonds and Church documents. Really, what did he expect to happen?


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: