The Corleone Family controls the streets of Los Santos. Mostly behind the trade of illegal substances and code 187’s, the Corleone’s are most known for affluent power and loyalty. It has been noted that trust plays a huge roll in the family as well!
Taking a hard line might do wonders for your reputation, but if you really want to count on the lasting power of your family, you’ve got to know when to call for a compromise. Rather than continue a vicious cycle of violence, one that cost Vito his oldest son, (spoiler alert), he becomes the first one to call for a truce. After all, a reputation for being sensible in a time of crisis could last a lot longer than the reputation for always trying to one-up the competition.
The Corleone crime family traces its roots to 1920, when Vito Corleone assassinated Little Italy’s 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 Pete and Sal as caporegimes. They became the most powerful crime family in New York after defeating Salvatore Maranzano during the Olive Oil War in the early 1930s. It was during this time that Vito’s eldest son, Santino, made his reputation and eventually became a capo himself. Upon becoming successful, the family moved to a compound in Long Beach.
In 1945, Don Vito Corleone declines drug baron Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo’s narcotics business proposal, and this nearly destroys the family. Sollozzo believed Vito’s eldest son Sonny Corleone wanted to accept the deal, and he had his men gun down Don Vito outside his office. Vito survives and is hospitalized. Sonny takes over as acting boss of the Corleone family. After a second assassination attempt on Don Vito, Sonny has Bruno Tattaglia assassinated. The situation escalates further when Don Vito’s youngest son Michael murders both Sollozzo and corrupt police captain McCluskey during a meeting in the Bronx, this forced Michael to flee to Sicily. This triggers the Five Families War, which claims Sonny’s life. The still-recuperating Don Vito makes peace with the other families, realizing that his true enemy is Emilio Barzini, who wanted to crush the Corleones to become the most powerful mafia don in New York.
After Don Vito’s semi-retirement, followed by his fatal heart attack, Michael succeeds his father as the Don. Michael carries out Sonny’s plan to murder the other New York Mafia bosses along with Moe Greene, Sal Tessio and Carlo Rizzi. Following this, Michael moves the family to Lake Tahoe. Michael attempts to legitimize the Corleone business, but is pulled back into crime after a failed attempt on his life by Miami gangster and Corleone business partner, Hyman Roth, attempting to halt the takeover of Las Vegas. Roth is eventually murdered on Michael’s orders. Michael’s older brother, Fredo Corleone, was ensnared by Roth to conspire against the Corleones. At their mother’s funeral, Michael sanctions the assassination of his surviving older brother.
By 1979, the activities of the Corleone family were nearly completely legitimate. Michael Corleone sold their interests in all casinos and hotels and invested only in businesses unconnected to Mafia activities. The underboss of the Corleone’s criminal enterprise, Joey Zasa, resentful of the reforms, aligned with aging kingpin Don Altobello, and together orchestrated an assassination attempt on Michael Corleone during a meeting in Atlantic City.
1920–1955 – Vito Corleone – semi-retired 1954, died 1955
Acting 1945–1947 – Sonny Corleone
Acting 1954–1955 – Michael Corleone
1955–1980 – Michael Corleone
Acting 1958-1959 – Tom Hagen
1980– unknown – Vincent Corleone
1940–1945 – Sonny Corleone
1945–1954 – Michael Corleone – became acting boss around 1954 when Vito
1954–1959 – Fredo Corleone – figurehead status only, murdered 1959
1959-unknown – Albert “Al” Neri
1920–1945 – Genco Abbandando
1945–1954 – Tom Hagen
1954–1955 – Vito Corleone (informal)
1955–1964 – Tom Hagen - murdered by Nick Geraci August 1964
197?- unknown – Connie Corleone (informal)
The Bronx/Long Island faction
1920–1958 – Peter “Fat Pete” Clemenza (heart attack)
1958–1959 – Frank “Frankie Five Angels” Pentangeli (became informant)
1959 - ? - Richard Anthony “Ritchie” Nobilio, Jr (retired)
197?–1979 – Joseph “Joey” Zasa (murdered)
1920–1955 – Salvatore “Sal” Tessio (murdered)
1955–1959 Albert “Al” Neri (became underboss)
1933–1940 – Santino “Sonny” Corleone (became underboss)
Las Vegas faction
1946–1955 – Frederico “Fredo” Corleone (became underboss)
1955–1959 – Rocco Lampone (killed by law enforcement officers)
“I want reliable people, people who aren’t going to be carried away. I mean, we’re not murderers, in spite of what this undertaker thinks.” – Vito Corleone
When Vito Corleone was asked by an undertaker to kill the two men who attacked his daughter by way of a long, heartfelt monologue that opens up the first Godfather movie, he manages to talk the guy down from murder to a non-fatal, yet still merciless form of retribution. While that’s definitely the kind of calm, sensible disposition you need to have working for you at all times, don’t undermine the importance of having trustworthy people that you can rely on.
Nothing helps define a family legacy than using the words made famous by your father. With Micheal the new Godfather of the Corleone Family, he takes great care in reminding all his associates how much his father, Vito Corleone, meant to him. It bridges the gap between generations and helps ease any woes someone might have with someone new at the helm. Most importantly, of course, is that Michael is able to live up to these words, just like his father was. You can talk a big game all you want, but if you can’t back it up, your name will be as good as your word.
“Don’t tell me you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and makes me very angry.” – Michael Corleone
As Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) was setting himself up to take over the role of Godfather, a title made notorious by his father, he did so with a kind of ruthless efficiency, promptly taking out any and all who spoke against his family — including his brother-in-law, Carlo (Gianni Russo). While he lacked the same sort of track record that his father did, Michael made up for it with a no-nonsense attitude, a steely-eyed glare, and the willingness to continue building an empire. If you get moved up the ladder, a lot of people look at this as a way to get over on the new guy in charge. You can address this problem from the get-go by taking this same no-nonsense approach and by making it clear to everyone that you know exactly what’s going on. Just don’t whack anyone.
“Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.” – Michael Corleone
As a family, it’s of the utmost importance to present a united front in almost any situation. Michael knew this, just like his father did before him, and when Fredo (John Cazale) couldn’t help but talk out of turn, Michael waited until they were in private to scold him for his outburst. A united front only works if it stays united. Show the world you’re susceptible to petty squabbling, and you run the risk of losing the upper hand.
You don’t exactly gain a formidable reputation by being known as a pushover. When Vito sends Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) to ask big shot producer Jack Woltz (John Marley) to let Johnny Fontaine (Al Martino) star in his movie, Woltz flat-out refuses. Rather than stick around to try and negotiate, Hagen leaves immediately, setting in motion Vito’s backup plan that’ll outright convince Woltz to grant him the favor. If you’re going to get what you want, you’ve got to make your point known loud and clear.
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