(1896-1945) is a character in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather, as well as
its 1972 film adaptation (portrayed by Lenny Montana).
In The Godfather, Luca Brasi is one of Don Vito Corleone's personal
enforcers. Brasi is portrayed as slow-witted and brutish, but his
ruthlessness and his loyalty to Don Corleone means he is both feared and
respected. Fluent in Italian and able to handle himself in any fight, Brasi
is fiercely loyal to Don Vito. He has a dark reputation among the underworld
as a savage killer.
At Connie's wedding, Michael Corleone explains to his then girlfriend Kay
Adams, the story of how Don Corleone helped his godson Johnny Fontane.
Michael explains that his father went to convince an unnamed bandleader to
release Johnny from a personal service contract that was holding back
Johnny's singing career. After refusing an offer of $10,000 Don Corleone
returned the next day with Luca Brasi and within an hour the bandleader
signed a release for a second offer of only $1,000. Luca Brasi had held a
gun to the bandleader's head while Don Corleone assured him that either his
brains or his signature would be on the release contract.
Shortly before Vito Corleone is shot, Brasi (on Vito Corleone's instructions)
intends to draw out rival mobster Virgil Sollozzo and the rest of the Don's
enemies. Sollozzo, after promises of friendship and a job offer, rams a
knife into Luca's hand, pinning it to the bar as an assassin garrottes him
from behind (more than likely because Brasi is wearing a bullet proof vest).
A Sicilian message is later sent to the Corleone family: a fish wrapped in
Brasi's flak jacket. The meaning is made clear to the Corleones: "Luca Brasi
sleeps with the fishes". Sollozzo has Brasi killed as it is the best way of
ensuring Vito Corleone's vulnerability.
It is mentioned in the novel and implied in the film that Brasi is perhaps
the only man Vito Corleone fears and vice versa. It is also implied that
Brasi was created to portray Real life Gambino Mafia Hitman Santo "Sonny
Boy" Ricchiettore although truth to that is not for sure certain.
Brasi's talent, it was said, was that he could do a job, or murder all by
himself, without confederates, which made a criminal conviction almost
impossible. He is also known for killing, in two weeks, six men who
attempted to kill Don Corleone. These six deaths ended the famous "Olive Oil
Many years before The Godfather opens, Brasi impregnated a young Irish
prostitute and later murdered her, but did not stop there; on the day of his
daughter's birth, he forced the midwife, under pain of death, to hurl his
own daughter into a furnace, an act for which she never forgave herself,
describing him as an unholy demon that night.
Another early incident involved Brasi killing off two of Al Capone's
henchmen hired to kill Don Corleone. Brasi subdued both of them and tied and
gagged them with towels stuffed in their mouths. He then hacked one of them
to pieces with an axe. When he went to finish off the other one, he found
that the man had gone through a shock convulsion and choked to death on the
Brasi's role as personal enforcer/bodyguard to the Don was later filled by
Al Neri. Tom Hagen once said to Michael following the completion of Neri's
training, "Well, now you've got your Luca."
(1890-1957) is a fictional character appearing in Mario Puzo's novel The
Godfather and two of the three films based on it.
In his young adulthood, in The Godfather Part II, Clemenza is portrayed by
Bruno Kirby. In his later years, he is portrayed by Richard S. Castellano.
Peter Clemenza is one of two caporegimes in the Corleone Family (the other
being Salvatore Tessio), ruling over the family's territory in Little Italy.
Although he is less intelligent than his friend and counterpart Tessio, he
is said to be more brutal and direct in the book. In the film, he may be
perceived at first as a fat, dim witted thug, but later on he is shown to be
a formidable assassin.
Clemenza became a friend of Vito Corleone after immigrating from Sicily,
when Corleone held a package of guns for him to prevent their discovery by
the police. A friendly and jovial man, he was known as a storyteller among
many of his acquaintances and family members - a trait that endeared him to
Vito, who Puzo described as "a listener to storytellers." Clemenza got his
start selling stolen goods such as dresses and guns with Vito and Tessio as
far back as 1917, and became a key figure in the growing Corleone family.
Vito kept him close through the years - even making him godfather to his
oldest son Sonny - though this was all to control his brutal and more
Clemenza plays a key role in aiding Michael following the shooting of Vito.
He retrains Michael how to fire a gun, walking him through the scenario for
assassinating Virgil Sollozzo, and plants the gun prior to the assassination.
During the murders of the heads of the five families Clemenza shot Don
Stracci and his bodyguard, as well as eliminating Carlo Rizzi, Connie
Corleone's husband and Michael's brother-in-law in retaliation for setting
up Sonny's assassination.
Clemenza's forces include soldiers Paulie Gatto, Willie Cicci, Al Neri, and
Rocco Lampone. He handled many of his men closely, proud of picking Lampone
as a caporegime and locating Neri as a successor to Luca Brasi. He could
also be cruel with them - when he found out that Gatto had been
collaborating with Sollozo, he saw it as a personal betrayal and
orchestrated the execution personally.
In Mark Winegardner's novel The Godfather Returns, Clemenza was made an
informal advisor to Michael as the family attempted to restructure itself in
a more legal manner. He died of a heart attack shortly before 1958, a
consequence of his excessive lifestyle - an autopsy revealed his heart was "twice
the size of a normal man's." (In the film The Godfather: Part II, Willie
Cicci, appears to deny this, stating "that was no heart attack" but no
further info is given.) Pete Clemenza was succeeded as caporegime by Frank
In Puzo's novel The Sicilian, Clemenza is featured in Sicily, where he meets
Michael Corleone in order to arrange his safe return to America and also to
oversee the safe passage of the novel's lead character, Salvatore Guiliano.
In this novel he has an older brother, Domenic Clemenza, who is an old-fashioned
and well respected Mafia Don. Neither Clemenza nor Michael Corleone are
featured in the film version of the novel, presumably because of copyright
restrictions on the Godfather film franchise.