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"But I must have strict assurance from Corleone. As time goes by and his position grows stronger, will he attempt any individual vendetta?"
―Philip Tattaglia[src]

Philip Tattaglia was the head and founder of the Tattaglia crime family. Despite being one of the Dons of the New York families, he was regarded as a "pimp".


Born around 1885, Tattaglia was the head of one of New York's Five Families. He initially gained his support from Giuseppe Mariposa, who he encouraged to enter the pornography market. But when Emilio Barzini betrayed Mariposa, Tattaglia was encouraged to join him and was present at the Don's final moments before he was murdered by Salvatore Tessio. At this time, he was still respected enough by Vito Corleone to merit an invite to the wedding of his son, Santino.

Although his primary business was prostitution, he was the first to support Virgil Sollozzo's heroin connection, and went to war with the Corleone family after they refused to lend their political and police protection to the enterprise. He was known to be somewhat of an irritation to the other Dons, and was constantly complaining about the police crackdowns, employment problems and high costs that his businesses provided.

The Five Families War

"He's too modest. He had all the judges and politicians in his pocket. He refused to share them."
―Philip Tattaglia on Vito Corleone[src]

When Virgil Sollozzo arrived in New York, the Tattaglia family backed his operations, but required the political connections of Vito Corleone for everything to run smoothly. When Vito politely turned Sollozzo down, the lines were drawn and war was inevitable.

Tattaglia's family struck first, claiming the life of notorious enforcer Luca Brasi, but their further attacks floundered, an assassination attempt on Vito Corleone serving only to hospitalize him. Tattaglia was dealt a blow when the protracted and bloody conflict claimed the life of his son, Bruno Tattaglia as well as crippling most of his businesses and eliminating his key associates, including Sollozzo.

Tattaglia's vengeance

Philip Tattaglia and Vito Corleone make peace.

"Tattaglia has lost a son, and I have lost a son. We are at quits."
Vito Corleone[src]

To this end, Tattaglia made an alliance with Emilio Barzini, which resulted in the death of Sonny Corleone, who had masterminded the attacks and was close to winning the war. Rising from his sick bed, Vito Corleone hastily called a sit-down with the members of the Commission.

However, at this meeting, Tattaglia tellingly insisted that Don Corleone guarantee not to break the peace. After conceding to his demands, Corleone realized that the lowly "pimp" had been the front for a plan masterminded by Don Emilio Barzini, to bring down the Corleones, divide the spoils amongst the Five Families, and embrace the lucrative heroin trade unopposed.


The Don is dead.

Eventually, Tattaglia suffered the same fate as his fellow conspirators; he was in bed with a prostitute in a motel room when Rocco Lampone and another man, acting on the orders of Michael Corleone, burst in and riddled Tattaglia with machine gun fire. His last words were to denounce Don Barzini as the mastermind behind the operation. He was succeeded by his younger brother Rico.

Personality and traits

Philip Tattaglia was a dandy and womanizer whose business gave him ample opportunity to indulge his weakness. His personality was unpleasant to others. He was a whiner, always complaining of the costs in his family business, so he would often rant on to audiences unsympathetic and contemptuous. He relied on the help of stronger men like Virgil Sollozzo and Emilio Barzini, as well as his own sons, to keep him afloat.

For this reason, even when he was almost victorious during the Five Families War, Tattaglia received little respect. Philip Tattaglia's perceived classlessness may have also contributed to his limited position. He was once seen combing his hair at a dinner table & Vito Corleone referred to Tattaglia as a pimp in a derogatory context.

Despite this, Tattaglia had some cunning and the foresight to see the money that could be made from the drugs trade, and in his youth he was smart enough to suggest the importance of the adult films industry to Mariposa. He also had the intelligence to flee Mariposa's sinking ship and offer loyalty to the new Five Families, encouraged by the prospect of becoming a boss.

Behind the scenes

"Fanculo via! It wasn't me... it was Barzini."
―Philip Tattaglia[src]

Don Tattaglia in the game.

Philip Tattaglia was played by Victor Rendina and by Bill Meilen in the video game. In the game he is more active during his assassination, holding a prostitute hostage and firing at his assassins whilst protesting his innocence in the Sollozzo Intrigue.

In the original version of the game he was represented in the "Baptism of Fire" mission by a regular Tattaglia model, but a more advanced character model in later versions of the game, which was seen earlier at the meeting. Also in the game it is possible to not kill the hooker Don Tattaglia is with.


  • The surname Tattaglia isn't a genuine Italian name and is likely derived from the more common names Tartaglia or Battaglia. In fact, in the revised edition of the latest screenplay draft the Tattaglia family is at one time spelled as the Tartaglia family, although this could have been a simple typing mistake. Canonically speaking, it could be that Tattaglia's name was spelled wrong by an immigration clerk at Ellis Island, something that was quite common when immigrants entered the United States in the early twentieth century.
  • In the book, Tattaglia's first name is spelled as Phillip, while in the screenplay of the film is called Phillip only the first time and in the rest of the movie is called Philip.
  • Tattaglia is the only rival Don who speaks Sicilian in the game.