Corleone family

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This article is about the fictional family portrayed in the The Godfather books and films. For the real-life family, see Corleonesi.
Corleone crime family
Founder Vito Corleone, Peter Clemenza, Salvatore Tessio, Genco Abbandando
Founding location New York City
Years active 1920–present
Territory Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Beach in NYC, Las Vegas, Reno, Miami and Sicily
Ethnicity Italian, Italian-American, Sicilian, Sicilian-American
Criminal activities Labor racketeering, bribery, conspiracy, fencing, assault, theft, loansharking, illegal gambling, bookmaking, money laundering, bootlegging, murder, extortion, fraud and contract killing
Allies Zaluchi, Tramonti, Molinari crime families and the Tommasino Mafia clan
Rivals Barzini, Tattaglia crime families and Lakeville Road Group

The Corleone family is a fictitious Sicilian Mafia family settled in New York City. The family was created by Mario Puzo and appears in his 1969 novel The Godfather. It is said that the Corleone family is inspired by the real-life Borgia family from Renaissance Italy in the late 15th century.

Compared with the real-life Five Families of organized crime, the Corleone family draws comparisons with the Genovese and Bonanno crime families.[1][2][3]

Early Corleone history[edit]

The 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 Peter 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, known as "Sonny", made his reputation and eventually became a capo himself. Upon becoming successful, the family apparently moved to Staten Island.

Killing the Turk[edit]

In 1945, a business proposition from a drug baron, Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo, nearly destroyed the family. An assassination attempt hospitalised Don Vito. His eldest son, Sonny, assumed control and became acting don of the Corleone family. He was forced to take violent action, and the situation further escalated when the youngest Corleone brother, Michael, killed both Sollozzo and the corrupt Police Captain McCluskey, forcing him to flee to Sicily. This event triggered the Five Families War. The war claimed the life of acting don Sonny, and the still weak Don Vito sued for peace with the other families, realising that his true enemy was Emilio Barzini, who was attempting to crush the Corleones and become the most powerful don in New York.

Las Vegas[edit]

After Don Vito's retirement, followed by his death from a heart attack, the family business was taken over by Michael, who exacted vengeance on the rival family's dons along with Moe Greene, Carlo Rizzi and Sal Tessio for conspiring with the rival heads. After this, Michael moved the family to Las Vegas, Nevada. Michael was attempting to make his business legitimate, but was drawn back into crime after a failed attempt on his life by Miami gangster and old friend and business partner of the Corleone family, Hyman Roth, who was attempting to stop the takeover of Las Vegas. This action eventually resulted in Roth's death. Michael's older brother Fredo, had been ensnared by Roth to conspire against the Corleones. At their mother's funeral, Michael sanctioned the assassination of his surviving older brother.


By 1979, the activities of 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.

Vincent Corleone[edit]

When in 1980, Michael appointed Sonny's illegitimate son, Vincent Mancini, to be his successor – the Don and head of the Corleone family – he allowed him to change his name to Vincent Corleone. In return for this, Michael ordered him to end his relationship with Michael's daughter (and Vincent's cousin) Mary. Vincent assured him that he would.

Vincent's time spent with Michael had made him into a new man – wiser, patient, and aware of his status as the new Don. However, he still had a violent streak, as evidenced in his first act as Don. With Michael's tacit blessing, he ordered the deaths of Gilday, Keinszig and Lucchesi in one mass slaughter. However, Mary was killed in a failed assassination attempt on Michael. Vincent quickly and ruthlessly killed the assassin responsible, Mosca. Michael was devastated by the death of his beloved daughter. Vincent began his tenure as The Godfather.

Historical leadership[edit]

Boss (official and acting)




The Bronx/Long Island faction[edit]

Brooklyn faction[edit]

Manhattan faction[edit]

Las Vegas faction[edit]

Miami faction[edit]

Known soldiers[edit]

Corleone family tree[edit]


  1. ^ Robert W. Welkos. "Death threats? No. Risk? Yes.". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  2. ^ Anothony Bruno. "The Bonanno Family". TruTV. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  3. ^ Anthony Bruno. "Fact and Fiction in The Godfather". TruTV. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 

External links[edit]