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

Philip Tattaglia (Sammy Tattaglia on some versions) was the head and founder of the Tattaglia crime family. Despite being one of the Dons of the New York families, he was very looked down upon and regarded only as a "pimp" and a "puppet" for Emilio Barzini, Sr.

Biography

Born around 1885 (or 1888), 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 along with a few other Dons.

Although his primary business was prostitution, he was the first to support Virgil Sollozzo's heroin connection as he wanted to gain more and more power, 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. Out of all the Five Families Dons, Tattaglia was the least respected one.

The Five Families War

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

When Virgil Sollozzo arrived in New York, the Tattaglia family was the first one to back his operations, but required the political connections of Vito Corleone for everything to run smoothly. When Vito politely turned Sollozzo down and Sonny couldn't negotiate further, the lines were drawn and war was inevitable.

Tattaglia's family struck first, claiming the life of notorious enforcer Luca Brasi via an assassin at The Luna Bar, but their attacks further floundered, an assassination attempt was planned on Vito Corleone but it served 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, Freddie Nobile and Luigi Fusco.

Tattaglia's vengeance

Samuele Tattaglia and Vito Corleone make peace.

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

To this end, Tattaglia made an alliance with Emilio Barzini, Sr., who was also a partner of the late Sollozzo, which resulted in the death of Sonny Corleone (in order to also avenge Carlo Rizzi), 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 and made a big deal out of it, earning him some glares from the other Dons. After conceding to his demands, Corleone realized that the lowly "pimp" had just been a puppet from the start and the real masterminded was Don Emilio Barzini, who planned to bring down the Corleones, divide the spoils amongst the Five Families, divided and conquered like a Roman Emperor and embrace the lucrative heroin trade unopposed, becoming the supreme Master of Puppets.

Death

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 despite being married when Rocco Lampone and another man (in the video game, that is Aldo Trapani), acting on the orders of Michael Corleone, burst in and riddled Tattaglia with machine gun fire. His last words were to denounce Don "The Wolf" Barzini as the mastermind behind the operation. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Rico Tattaglia (Rico is his son in only one non-canon version).

Personality and traits

Philip Tattaglia was a dandy and a womanizer whose business gave him ample opportunity to indulge his weaknesses, for he had many. His personality was unpleasant to others and other Dons hated him. He was a whiner, always complaining of the costs in his family business, so he would often rant on to audiences unsympathetically 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. Really, Tattaglia was seen as nothing more than a puppet to other more powerful figures in the mafia.

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

Despite his sour personality and weaknesses, Tattaglia had some cunning and the foresight to see the money that could be made from Sollozzo's 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, but in reality he was still just a puppet to the likes of Don Barzini.

Behind the scenes

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

Don Tattaglia in the game.

Philip Tattaglia is named Samuele aka Sammy in the game and was played by Victor Rendina and by Bill Meilen (during the Commission meeting). 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, blaming the Wolf, Emilio Barzini, Sr.

He was represented by his own character model during the peace mission after Sonny Corleone's death but on some versions of the game, his tie and shirt are colored differently. Even in the game, he can be seen to fear Emilio Barzini and his presence at the Commission meeting.

Trivia

  • 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 and Philip is almost always referred to as Samuele or Sammy, although Tartaglia 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 and similar thing happened with Barzini as well and the Straccis.
  • In the book, Tattaglia's first name is spelled as Phillip, while in the screenplay of the film it is called Phillip only the first time and in the rest of the movie it is called Phill. He is called Sammy again in the game.
  • Tattaglia is the only rival Don who speaks Sicilian in the game.

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