|Don Emilio Barzini|
|First appearance||The Godfather|
|Last appearance||The Godfather: The Game|
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Portrayed by||Richard Conte|
|Children||Emilio Barzini, Jr.|
|Relatives||Emilio Barzin, Jr. (son)
"Big" Bobby Toro (cousin)
Domenico Mazza (cousin)
In the novel
Barzini presides as head of one of New York's Five Families, and is reckoned as the second most powerful Mafia boss in the country, behind only Vito Corleone. He has interests in markets such as narcotics, gambling and prostitution, and is also interested in Las Vegas and Nevada.
Barzini appears as a guest at the wedding of Connie, the first scene of the movie. Soon after, Barzini surreptitiously sends drug lord Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo to Don Vito with an offer of entering the narcotics trade, openly backed by the Tattaglia Family. During the meeting, Sonny speaks out of turn and expresses interest in the plan. Vito refuses the offer, however, and Sollozzo tries to assassinate him in hopes that Sonny, as his father's successor, will go into business with him. However, because Corleone refused to participate in the heroin trade, Barzini secretly conspires with the other families to make war against the Corleones, forcing them to make peace and open up their territory to drug trafficking. To this end, he approaches Corleone's son-in-law, Carlo Rizzi, with a ploy to draw Sonny Corleone into an assassination. After Sonny's death, Don Corleone agrees to lend his political protection to the enterprise and to never break the peace. It had initially appeared that Philip Tattaglia was leading the anti-Corleone alliance. However, at the peace summit, Vito realizes that Barzini was the actual mastermind.
Not satisfied with the Corleones' submission, Barzini begins chipping away at their territory in New York City. At Don Corleone's funeral, Barzini approaches Corleone caporegime Salvatore Tessio to organize another peace summit where Corleone's successor, Michael, would be ambushed. Barzini doesn't know, however, that he has walked into a trap. Michael has been planning for some time to eliminate Barzini and the other dons, and deliberately allowed Barzini to move in on the Corleone interests in order to lull him into inaction. Shortly thereafter, Barzini is assassinated along with the other conspirators. Corleone enforcer Al Neri, disguised as a police officer, meets Barzini on the steps of the New York Supreme Court courthouse at Foley Square on the pretext of writing a parking ticket. After seeing his bodyguard and driver killed Barzini flees up the steps but is shot and killed, his body tumbling down the steps.
In other media