Without a doubt, one of the main films that put the mafia took center stage and helped inspire thousands of screenwriters to tell similar stories The GodfatherFrom Francis Ford Coppola. This feature film, released in 1972, tells the story of a family of Italian-American entrepreneurs in New York.
While Lionheart as such did not exist in real life, Mario Puzzo —the author of the novel adapted to the cinema— was based on some mafia characters and replicated their way of interacting with family and criminal colleagues.
Furthermore, it is known that there were problems in the production of the film due to the needs of some members of the Italian American League for Civil Rightsan organization led by mobster Joseph Colombo.
Who are the mobsters who inspired you to make The Godfather?
First of all, the character of Vito Corlone (Marlon Brando) is inspired by several crime family heads of that era. Franco CostelloCarlo Gambino and Joe Profaci are the principals Puzo relied on to build Don’s personality.
In the novel, the Corleone patriarch was born the same year of Costello and even inside Calabria, a region of Italy. The film’s director, Francis Ford Coppola, asked Brando to try and find a criminal tone AND sent him recordings Costello’s statements before the Kefauver Commission on organized crime and how it worked.
Another piece of information included in the plot is the attempted murder by Vito Corleone: Frank Costello was victim of a fatal attack commanded by Vito Genovese and conducted by a boxer, Vincent Gigante.
But, above all, the mobster who inspired the film the most was Joe Colombo, leader of the Italian American League for Civil Rights. He tried to stop productionbut after a meeting with the producers, he accepted the development on two conditions: that the words “mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” have not been said and that some of his colleagues can participate in the filming.
One of those who participated in the film and was related to the mafia was John Russo, a member of the Costello crime family. He played Carlo Rizzi, Vito’s son-in-law; he himself confirmed that he worked as bossy for the head of said family.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.