|This article is about the criminal organisation. You may be looking for the bloodline.|
The Corleone crime family (pronounced Cor-lee-OH-nee) is one of the Five Families operating in New York and in other parts of the United States. The family was founded by Vito Corleone, who fronted his operations by starting the Genco Olive Oil Company.
- 1 History
- 2 Vito Corleone's family structure (1920s-1955)
- 3 Michael Corleone's family structure (1955-1959)
- 4 Corleone family structure (1979-1980)
- 5 Historical leadership
- 6 Caporegimes
- 7 Clemenza's organization
- 8 In the video game
- 9 Behind the scenes
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Gallery
- 12 Notes and references
The family traces its roots to 1920, when Vito Corleone assassinated Hell's Kitchen's "Black Hand" padrone, Don Fanucci, and took over Fanucci's territory along with fellow hoodlums Genco Abbandando, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio. Shortly afterward, he founded the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company as a front for his criminal activities. Around 1925, Vito formally organized the family, with Genco as his consigliere and Peter and Sal as caporegimes. They became the most powerful crime family in New York after defeating Salvatore Maranzano, a friend and ally of the late Fanucci, during the Olive Oil War in the early 1930s. It was during this time that Vito's eldest son, Sonny, made his reputation and eventually became a capo himself. The family were instrumental in establishing the Commission in 1934.
The Sollozzo Plot
In 1945, a business proposition from narcotics kingpin Virgil Sollozzo nearly destroyed the family, hospitalising Don Vito and forcing his eldest son Sonny in action. The family were dealt another crippling blow with their biggest asset Luca Brasi getting taken by surprise and murdered by Sollozzo and Bruno Tattaglia. The situation escalated when the youngest Corleone brother Michael assinated Sollozzo and his bodyguard, Captain McCluskey, forcing him to flee to Sicily. This event triggered the Five Families War. The war claimed the life of acting don Sonny, and the still weak Don Vito sued for peace with the other families, realising that his true enemy was Emilio Barzini, who was attempting to crush the Corleones and become the most powerful don in New York.
After Don Vito's retirement, followed by his death from a heart attack in 1955, the family business was taken over by Michael, who exacted vengeance on the rival family's dons along with Moe Greene, Carlo Rizzi and Tessio for conspiring with the rival heads. After this, Michael moved the family to Las Vegas, Nevada. Michael was attempting to make his business legitimate, but was drawn back into crime after a failed attempt on his life by Miami gangster and old friend and business partner of the Corleone family, Hyman Roth, who was attempting to stop the takeover of Las Vegas. This action resulted in Roth's death as well as the death of Michael's older brother Fredo, who had unwittingly conspired against the Corleones.
After Michael made the move to Nevada, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio were allowed to form their own families. However, when Tessio's plot with Barzini to assasinate Michael was uncovered, he was killed. As a result of this, Clemenza took over the Corleone family in New York. When Clemenza died of a supposed heart attack in 1958 he was succeeded by Frank Pentangeli. At this time, the Rosato Brothers formed a rogue faction, secretely backed by Hyman Roth in an attempt to stop Michael's take-over in Las Vegas. This conflict would eventually lead to the demise of both Pentangeli and Roth.
By 1979, the Corleone family was almost completely legitimate. Michael sold his interests in all casinos and hotels and was trying to purchase a controlling interest in Immobiliare from the Vatican. However, Joey Zasa, who was awarded the Corleone family business in New York, conspired with aging Don Altobello, and together orchestrated an assassination attempt on Michael in Atlantic City. Shortly after, Joey Zasa was killed by Michael's nephew Vincent Mancini. In 1980, Michael appointed Vincent to be his successor as the Don and head of the Corleone family, allowing him to change his name to Vincent Corleone.
Vito Corleone's family structure (1920s-1955)
|Don Vito Corleone||
Michael Corleone's family structure (1955-1959)
|Don Michael Corleone||
Corleone family structure (1979-1980)
|Don Michael Corleone||
|Don Vincent Mancini||
- 1920-1954 — Vito Corleone — stepped down in 1954 and became consigliere.
- Acting 1945-1948 — Sonny Corleone — murdered in 1948.
- 1954-197? — Michael Corleone — semi-retired at some point in the 1970s, stepped down in 1980.
- Acting 1958-1959 — Tom Hagen
- 1980-1990s — Vincent Corleone
The street boss was a title created by Michael Corleone to insulate himself from criminal activities. The street boss controlled the NYC activities as a real boss, but under the orders of Michael.
- 1955-1958 — Peter "Fat Pete" Clemenza — died of natural causes in 1958.
- 1958-1959 — Frank "Frankie Five Angels" Pentangeli — turned informant in 1959, committed suicide.
- 1959-1961 — Fausto D. "Nick" Geraci Jr. — demoted, murdered in 1964.
- 197?-1979 — Joey Zasa — murdered in 1979.
- 1940-1948 — Santino "Sonny" Corleone — murdered in 1948.
- 1948-1950 — Peter "Fat Pete" Clemenza
- 1950-1954 — Michael Corleone
- 1955-1959 — Fredo Corleone — murdered in 1959.
- 1959-unknown — Al Neri
- 1920-1945 — Genco Abbandando — died of cancer in 1945.
- Acting 1945 — Tom Hagen
- 1945-1954 — Tom Hagen — demoted in 1954.
- 1954-1955 — Vito Corleone — died of natural causes in 1955.
- 1959-197? — Tom Hagen — died in the 1970s.
- 1980-unknown — Michael Corleone — retired at some point and moved to Sicily, died of natural causes in 1997.
The Bronx faction
- 1920-1955 — Peter "Fat Pete" Clemenza — became street boss in 1955.
- 1955-1958 — Frank "Frankie Five Angels" Pentangeli — turned informant in 1959, commited suicide.
- Acting 1958-1959 — William "Willie" Cicci— turned informant in 1959.
- 1959-unknown — Richard "Ritchie Two Guns" Nobilio — status unknown.
- 1920-1955 — Salvatore Tessio — murdered in 1955.
- 1955 — Al Neri — moved to Nevada in 1955.
- 1955-1961 — Fausto D. "Nick" Geraci Jr. — demoted in 1961, murdered in 1964.
- 1961-unknown — Eddie Paradise — status unknown.
- 1934-1948 — Santino "Sonny" Corleone — also underboss, murdered in 1948.
- 197?-197? — Joey Zasa — murdered in 1979.
- Acting 197?-1979 Anthony Squigliaro — murdered in 1979.
- 1946-1955 — Fredo Corleone — became underboss in 1955.
- 1955-1960 — Rocco Lampone — killed in 1960.
- 1960-unknown — Albert "Al" Neri — moved back to New York with Michael at some point.
Peter Clemenza's regime, in subsequent years, seemed to pursue criminal ventures that they wouldn't have approached when the old guard was still there. The Rosato Brothers, soldiers in Clemenza's crew who eventually formed a rogue faction, were heavily involved in narcotics and prostitution, hardly getting involved with their gambling rackets. They also had extensive dealings with black and Hispanic criminals, presumably employing them for their narcotics operations, and garnered reputations for acts of violence in Italian neighbourhoods. Joey Zasa, who took over Clemenza's old crew at some point, also brought black and Hispanic criminals into his organisation and turned a blind eye to their dealing narcotics in his territory.
In the video game
In The Godfather: The Game, the the main character, Aldo Trapani, belongs to the Corleone Family. All of the major Corleone characters also appear in the game and play significant roles, although the main focus is the player's character. There are differences from the film, most noticeably that it is Trapani, rather than Rocco Lampone, who murders Paulie Gatto. Trapani also plays a role in events that only occurred off-screen in the film, such as helping Rocco Lampone kill Khartoum and plant his head in Jack Woltz's bed, and planting the gun Michael is to use to murder Virgil Sollozzo and Captain Mark McCluskey at Louis Restaurant.
At the start of the game, the Corleones—once the most powerful family, a distinction now held by the Barzinis—are weak. The Corleone Family is the only family to lack a territory from the beginning. As the game progresses, however, Trapani will take more and more territories and establish the Corleones as the most powerful family once again.
At the start, the Corleones can only rival the Tattaglias in terms of combat and can barely defend themselves against other families. At first, a Corleone Capo can hold out against a Tattaglia Underboss in fisticuffs for a while before got overwhelmed, but they cannot last long against Stracci Capo and are even outmatched by Cuneo and Barzini Soldiers. The uniqueness of the Corleone Family, however, is they are the only family with a chance to grow. At the near end of the game (once the player reaches Underboss or Don), the tide will turn: Corleone Soldiers become strong enough to hold out against Tattaglia Underbosses and the Underbosses will be incredibly strong, defeating Barzini Underbosses with little difficulty.
The Corleone family's crest is a white lion standing on one of its hind legs, with the rest of its limbs and its tail raised ("rampant", in heraldic terms), on a black field; this is similar to the coat-of-arms of the real Sicilian town of Corleone, which bears a golden lion rampant holding a heart on a red field. In the first game and its expansion, the Corleone main color is black, but in the second game it is red, along with the Trapani crime family.
Behind the scenes
- It is said that the Corleone family is inspired by the real-life Borgia family from Renaissance Italy in the late 15th century.
- Compared to the real Five Families the Corleone family draws comparisons to the Bonanno family. The Brooklyn based Bonanno family inherited a large part of the Maranzano organization and expanded their interests to other parts of the United States, notably Arizona. The internal conflict within the Bonanno family dubbed the Banana war in the 1960s inspired events in The Godfather novel. In addition, Connie Corleone's wedding is based on the wedding of Salvatore Bonanno to Rosalie Profaci.
- Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo envisioned The Godfather IV, which would be about the downfall of Vincenzo Corleone, as he lead the family into drug dealing and bringing about his demise in a similar fashion as the death of Pablo Escobar.
- The real life Corleonesi became the most powerful Sicilian crime group after fighting a bloody mafia war against their rivals in the early 1980s.
Notes and references
- The Godfather Part III commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
- In the storyline of The Godfather Returns.
- The Sicilian by Mario Puzo
- The Godfather Part III
- The Godfather novel by Mario Puzo
- The Borgias - The Original Crime Family. Showtime, seen on TV.com.
- Bonanno Crime Family Finds Wealth, Turmoil. Los Angeles Times.
- Capeci, Jerry (2005). The Complete Idiots Guide to the Mafia. Alpha, p. 213. ISBN 1592573053.