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Literature / The Last Don

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"What is past is past. Never go back. Not for excuses, not for justification, not for happiness. You are what you are, the world is what it is."
"Power isn't everything. It's the only thing."

The Last Don is a 1997 novel by Italian-American author Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather and its film adaptations, as well as The Sicilian. Despite this, and despite the fact that it prominently features The Mafia, Las Vegas and Horrible Hollywood, The Godfather and The Last Don are very different novels.

The story follows aging Sicilian-American Mafia Don Domenico Clericuzio and his family, and their quest to stay in power at all costs.

The Last Don received a TV miniseries based on it the year it was written, which itself received a sequel, The Last Don II, in 1998.


The The Last Don provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Much of the novel's detailed subplots are dropped in the miniseries.
  • Affably Evil: Don Domenico. Also Pippi De Lena.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Joseph "Pippi" De Lena.
    • Croccifixio "Cross" De Lena.
    • Rose Marie Clericuzio is sometimes called "Ro".
    • Athena Aquitane was called "Thena" in her youth.
    • Lucille "Ceil" Ballazzo.
  • Alliterative Name: Athena Aquitane, Bobby Bantz, Steve Stallings and Falene Fante, although with the actors, their last names might just be stage names.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • Rose Marie's "madness" is never giving a particular diagnosis.
    • Cross and the people around him speculate that he may have a mental disorder after noticing similarities between him and Bethany, Athena Aquitane's autistic daughter.
  • Anyone Can Die: Particularly in the The Last Don II.
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  • Big Brother Instinct: All the Clericuzio brothers dote on Rose Marie.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Rose Marie...
    • Her cousin Pippi and her brothers murder her new husband right in front of her on her wedding night as vengeance for the murder of their brother Silvio. Right after Pippi promises to make peace between the families. She also realizes that they were considering offing her too, in order to Leave No Witnesses. Her father, of course, ordered the whole thing, including giving them permission to kill her if necessary. Rose Marie's mind completely breaks after this and she frequently has violent fits, a contrast to her usually sweet and gentle nature.
    • Then Cross murders her son Dante, and Don Clericuzio allows the body to never be found.
  • To ass to that, in The Last Don II she finally finds friendship and the prospect of a new start with Father Luca, but he is sent away and dies in a rebellion in Ireland.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After the Santadio war, Rose Marie frequently does this to her father.
  • The Chessmaster: Don Clericuzio. Especially considering the revelation that he had known that Dante needed to be killed to allow the family to transition away from crime and manipulated events so that Cross would have to kill Dante, allowing Don Clericuzio not to have to kill his own grandson.
  • Critical Research Failure: "Who were Romeo and Juliet? Certainly not Italians." Actually, they were. The film adaptation changes this line to "Sicilians." This may have been Comically Missing the Point however.
  • Confessional: Where Rose Marie meets Father Luca.
  • Demoted to Extra: Athena, Vincent and Petie in the sequel.
  • Domestic Abuse: Boz Skannet to his wife Athena Aquitane.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Dante Clericuzio is a sadistic bastard who enjoys torture, rape and murder, but he really loves his mother Rose Marie, and it is his love for her that leads him to murder Pippi and try to take over the empire of the Clericuzio.
  • Family Extermination: What the Clericuzios do to the Santadios.
  • Feuding Families: The Clericuzios and the Santadios, eventually breaking out into a bloody Mob War.
  • Freak Out: What happens to Rose Marie after her family murders her husband on their wedding night.
  • Hollywood Autism: Bethany Aquitane.
  • Horrible Hollywood: A large section of the novel is dedicated to this.
  • In the Blood: Don Clericuzio ultimately accepts that Dante was doomed from the start because of his Santadio and Clericuzio blood.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Pippi and Rose Marie were this in their youth, though it was never serious.
    • Dante and Cross also flirt with their cousins at family gatherings.
  • Laughing Mad: Rose Marie sometimes does this when having an episode.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Don Clericuzio, especially according to Rose Marie.
  • Nice Hat: Dante's various Italian Renaissance hats.
  • Nom de Mom: Dante Clericuzio goes by his mother's name.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Dante.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • The Other Darrin: Daryl Hannah is replaced by Mo Kelso in the sequel, whilst Alison Pill replaces Chloe Clifford.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Young Rose Marie is played by Emily Hampshire while her older self is played by Kirstie Alley.
  • White Sheep: Claudia De Lena, though she is more accepting of her status as a Clericuzio by the end.
  • Writers Suck: The opinion of everyone in Hollywood towards writers, except for the writers, of course.
  • You Killed My Father: Dante's motivation for killing Pippi.


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