|First appearance||The Godfather|
|Last appearance||The Godfather: The Game|
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Portrayed by||Lenny Montana|
|Relatives||Kelly O'Rourke (lover, murder victim)|
Luca Brasi is a fictional character in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather, as well as its 1972 film adaptation. In the film, he was portrayed by Lenny Montana, ex-wrestler and ex-bodyguard for the Colombo Crime Family.
In The Godfather, Luca Brasi was Vito Corleone's feared personal enforcer. Fluent in Italian and able to handle himself in any fight, Brasi earned a dark reputation as a savage killer, making him one of the most feared and dangerous men in the eastern U.S. underworld. Brasi was so ferocious that even Don Vito Corleone became nervous in his presence. The Godfather was the only person able to control Brasi, but he always handled him carefully and respectfully.
Brasi's talent was his ability perform any job, or murder, without accomplices that could implicate him. Brasi also eliminated witnesses, making a criminal conviction nearly impossible. In a two-week killing spree, he murdered six men who attempted to assassinate Don Corleone. Only Vito, recuperating from the attack, could call him off. These six deaths ended the famous "Olive Oil War." Brasi's almost fanatical loyalty to Don Corleone was unquestioned, and he was said to have killed a Corleone soldier merely for making the Corleone family look bad. Brasi often claimed he would sooner kill himself than betray the Godfather.
Another early incident involved Brasi killing two Al Capone henchmen, hired to murder Don Corleone. Brasi subdued both men, binding and then gagging them with towels. As Brasi hacked up one with an axe, the other man, terrified, choked to death on the towel while witnessing the gruesome execution.
Later in the novel, Vito's youngest son, Michael Corleone, learns that, years earlier, Brasi murdered an Irish prostitute hours after she bore his child. He then forced the midwife, under pain of death, to hurl the live infant into a furnace, an act for which she never forgave herself. The distraught woman, who described Brasi as an unholy demon, sought Vito Corleone's protection. Don Corleone intervened, covering up Brasi's crime and earning Brasi's undying service and loyalty.
At his sister Connie's wedding, Michael tells his then-girlfriend, Kay Adams, how Don Corleone helped his godson Johnny Fontane's career. Michael explains that his father offered bandleader Les Halley $10,000 to release Fontane from a personal service contract that unfairly exploited Fontane's rising fame. When Halley refused, Don Corleone returned the next day with Luca Brasi and within an hour the bandleader signed a release for only $1,000. Don Corleone had Brasi hold a gun to Halley's forehead, assuring Halley that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract.. In the novel the tendered amount differs. Vito Corleone initially offers Halley $20,000, then pays $10,000, after forcing him to release Fontane.
Brasi was surprised and grateful to be invited to Connie Corleone's wedding. He normally avoided public contact with Don Corleone to protect the Godfather's reputation. To show his mafia benefactor proper respect, Brasi personally presents Vito a large cash gift for his daughter's bridal purse, purportedly the largest amount given.
When the Don wants to draw out rival mobster Virgil Sollozzo, he orders Brasi to pretend he is switching allegiances. Brasi hangs out at Bruno Tattaglia's nightclub, beds a waitress working there, and openly complains he is underpaid. When that information filters back to Bruno, he offers Brasi a meeting. Brasi arrives, wearing a bulletproof vest. Brasi proudly voices his loyalty to Sollozzo whilst discussing a deal with him. Sollozzo, after promising friendship, a job, and $50,000, rams a knife into Brasi's hand, pinning it to the bar as an assassin garrottes him from behind.
With Brasi dead, Sollozzo's men can make a hit on Don Corleone without fearing Brasi's vicious reprisal. After Vito is shot and wounded, his eldest son, Sonny, is unable to contact Brasi. Shortly after, a package containing Brasi's bullet-proof vest wrapped around dead fish arrives at the Corleone compound. It is an old Sicilian message: Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.
In other media
Luca Brasi plays one major role in the prequel novel The Family Corleone by Ed Falco. During the Great Depression, Luca Brasi is the leader of a small but feared gang, which makes deals with Vito´s oldest son Sonny Corleone. The younger Brasi is described as a psychopath, who kills his own newborn child by having it thrown into a burning furnace, let his Irish-American girlfriend Kelly die, and abuses drugs. Brasi also wants to kill Tom Hagen for having an affair with Kelly. Partly because he sufferes severe headaches, Brasi overdoses on drugs, leading to a mental breakdown and stroke-like behavior. Although Vito dislikes and fears Brasi, he recruits him into his crime family knowing he is feared by everyone. Brasi's hygiene degenerates, though others say nothing about it.
Luca Brasi appears early on in The Godfather: The Game. Vito tells Brasi to rescue the protagonist, Aldo Trapani, from a brutal gang and train him. Brasi functions as a "trainer" for the player, showing how to perform various game functions, such as shooting and punching. The player witnesses Brasi's eventual death and must escape to inform the family.
Luca is also mentioned by Michael Corleone in the video game version of The Godfather Part II, where the player, Dominic Corleone, acquires Brasi's old apartment.
- "The Godfather (1972)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
- "Why the gangsters still love The Godfather of all movies". Irish Independent. April 13, 2001.
- Puzo, Mario (1969). The Godfather. pp. 214–217. ISBN 0-7493-2468-6.
- Jones, Jenny M. (2009). The Annotated Godfather: The Complete Screenplay.