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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.



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.

Family divides

Vito and his caporegimes

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.

Joey Zasa

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.

In the years that followed, Joey Zasa was eventually given the former Corleone family territories in New York by the Commission, with Michael Corleone's approval.


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 

 Underboss Sonny Corleone

 Underboss Michael Corleone

 Consigliere Genco Abbandando

 Consigliere Tom Hagen

 Caporegime Peter Clemenza

 Soldato Frank Pentangeli

 Soldato Paulie Gatto

 Soldato Luca Brasi

 Soldato Francis Forducci

 Soldato Angelo Granelli

 Soldato Gino Fredonna

 Soldato Frank Darra

 Soldato Bobby Altieri

 Soldato Jimmy Mancini

 Soldato Johnny LaSala

 Soldato Richie Gatto

 Soldato Carmine Rosato

 Soldato Tony Rosato

 Soldato Carmine Fucillo

 Soldato Tony DeRosa

 Soldato Willie Cicci

 Soldato Rocco Lampone

 Soldato Fredo Corleone

 Soldato Johnny Trapani

 Soldato Aldo Trapani

 Associate Carlo Rizzi

 Associate Sally Rags

 Associate Coach

 Caporegime Salvatore Tessio

 Soldato Chris Penarri

 Soldato Nino Arneldi

 Soldato Ricardo Siminni

 Soldato Gino Corsetta

 Soldato Sabastino Sabella

 Soldato Alphonse Evolloni

 Soldato Donato Tolentinicci

 Soldato Victor Vinatonni

 Soldato Frank Corteale

 Soldato Bartolo Neni

 Soldato Lawrence Tippirri

 Soldato Peter Leone

 Soldato Al Hats

 Soldato Eddie Veltri

 Soldato Ken Cuisimano

 Enforcer Charlie Green

 Enforcer Luca Brasi

 Enforcer Al Neri

Michael Corleone's family structure (1955-1959)

 Don Michael Corleone 

 Underboss Fredo Corleone

 Street boss Peter Clemenza

 Consigliere Tom Hagen

 Caporegime Frank Pentangeli

 Soldato Willie Cicci

 Soldato Carmine Coronda

 Soldato Samuel Corocco

 Soldato Alphonse Barino

 Soldato Carmen Della

 Soldato Christoforo D'Binna

 Soldato Carmine Rosato

 Soldato Tony Rosato

 Soldato Carmine Fucillo

 Soldato Tony DeRosa

 Caporegime Al Neri

 Soldato Gaetano De Luna

 Soldato Calogero Radeni

 Soldato Ettore Radeni

 Soldato Gaetano Sirillo

 Soldato Cassandros Fracca

 Soldato Thomas Neri

 Caporegime Rocco Lampone

 Soldato Roberto Nelenza

 Soldato Rafilo Gernzo

 Soldato Salvatore Plumari

 Soldato Natale Parri

 Soldato Tony Dinegio

 Soldato Charles Locirno

 Enforcer Bussetta

 Associate Patrick Geary

Corleone family structure (1979-1980)


 Don Michael Corleone 

 Underboss Al Neri

 Street boss Joey Zasa

 Caporegime Anthony Squigliaro

 Enforcer Big Mike

 Enforcer Frankie

 Enforcer Anthony

 Enforcer Unnamed bodyguard

 Enforcer Vincent Mancini

 Associate Lou Pennino

 Bodyguard Joe

 Bodyguard Armand

 Bodyguard Francesco

 Associate Nicky

 Associate Gilday


 Don Vincent Mancini 

 Underboss Al Neri

 Consigliere Michael Corleone

 Caporegime Lou Pennino

 Soldato Anthony

 Soldato Frankie

 Bodyguard Joe

Historical leadership


Street boss

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.



  • 1920-1945 — Genco Abbandando — died of cancer in 1945.
  • 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.[4]
  • 1980-unknown — Michael Corleone — retired at some point and moved to Sicily, died of natural causes in 1997.


The Bronx faction

Brooklyn faction

Manhattan faction

Nevada faction

Clemenza's organization

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.[6]
  • Compared to the real Five Families the Corleone family draws comparisons to the Bonanno family.[7] 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.[8]
  • 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.[1]
  • The real life Corleonesi became the most powerful Sicilian crime group after fighting a bloody mafia war against their rivals in the early 1980s.


In the game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven there is hotel that has the Corleone name in it, the Corleone Hotel. It is named after Corleone family.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Godfather Part III commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 In the storyline of The Godfather Returns.
  3. The Sicilian by Mario Puzo
  4. The Godfather Part III
  5. The Godfather novel by Mario Puzo
  6. The Borgias - The Original Crime Family. Showtime, seen on
  7. Bonanno Crime Family Finds Wealth, Turmoil. Los Angeles Times.
  8. Capeci, Jerry (2005). The Complete Idiots Guide to the Mafia. Alpha, p. 213. ISBN 1592573053.