Luca Brasi

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Luca Brasi
Luca Brasi.gif
Luca Brasi, as portrayed by Lenny Montana in The Godfather.
First appearance The Godfather
Last appearance The Godfather: The Game
Created by Mario Puzo
Portrayed by Lenny Montana
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Gangster
Title Soldato, enforcer
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,[1] ex-wrestler and ex-bodyguard for the Colombo Crime Family.

Biography[edit]

In The Godfather, Luca Brasi was a feared personal enforcer for Vito Corleone, known as one of the most dangerous men in the eastern underworld. Fluent in Italian and able to handle himself in any fight, he had a dark reputation among the underworld as a savage killer.

Brasi's talent, it was said, was that he could do a job, or murder all by himself, without confederates or backup who might rat him out. Since Luca made sure to leave no witnesses either, this made a criminal conviction almost impossible. He is also known for killing, in two weeks, six men who attempted to kill Don Corleone. One of their men had managed to put the Don in the hospital, which prompted Luca's killing spree, and he might have continued had Vito not recovered enough to call him off. These six deaths ended the famous "Olive Oil War." His almost fanatical loyalty to Don Corleone was unquestioned, and he was said to have killed a Corleone soldier just for making the Corleone family look bad. Brasi often claimed that he'd sooner kill himself than betray the Godfather.

Another early incident involved Brasi killing off two of Al Capone's henchmen hired to kill Don Corleone. Brasi subdued both of them and tied and gagged them with towels stuffed in their mouths. He then hacked one of them to pieces with an axe. When he went to finish off the other one, he found that the man had gone through a shock convulsion and choked to death on the towel.[2]

Later in the novel, Michael Corleone learns that, years earlier, Brasi had impregnated a young Irish prostitute and later murdered her. On the day of his daughter's birth, he forced the midwife, under pain of death, to hurl the child into a furnace, an act for which she never forgave herself. The midwife, who describes Brasi as an unholy demon, went to Vito Corleone for protection, and he covered up Brasi's crime. With this, the Don earned Brasi's undying service and loyalty.

At Connie's wedding, Michael explains to his then girlfriend Kay Adams the story of how Don Corleone helped his godson Johnny Fontane. Michael explains that his father went to convince bandleader Les Halley to release Johnny from a personal service contract that was holding back Johnny's singing career. After refusing an offer of $10,000 Don Corleone returned the next day with Luca Brasi and within an hour the bandleader signed a release for a second offer of only $1,000.[3] Don Corleone did this by having Luca hold a pistol to the forehead of the bandleader and assuring him with the utmost seriousness that either his signature or his brains would rest on the document.

Brasi did not expect to be invited to the wedding of the Don's daughter Connie, since he normally avoided public contact with the Don to protect the Godfather's reputation. Luca was very surprised and grateful when he received an invitation, and spent a great deal of time deciding on how best to pay his respects to his mafia benefactor. He gave a large sum for Connie's bridal purse directly to Vito, which was said to be the largest given by any of the guests.

Brasi is summoned by the Don, who intends to draw out rival mobster Virgil Sollozzo by having Brasi pretend he has switched allegiances. Brasi hangs around Bruno Tattaglia's nightclub, eventually going to bed with one of his waitresses and complaining about not making much money, knowing that word would eventually get back to Bruno. When Bruno offers a meeting, Luca drives there, wearing a bulletproof vest.

Luca 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 Luca's hand, pinning it to the bar as an assassin garrottes him from behind. With Brasi dead, Sollozzo's men are free to attempt a hit on Don Corleone without fear of Brasi hunting them down later. After Vito is shot, his son Sonny tries to contact Brasi to no avail. A Sicilian message is later sent to the Corleone family: a fish wrapped in Brasi's bulletproof vest. The meaning is made clear to the Corleones: "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes."

Brasi's role as personal enforcer/bodyguard to the Don is later filled by Al Neri. Following the completion of Neri's training, Tom Hagen tells Michael, "Well, now you've got your Luca."

In other media[edit]

It is also briefly mentioned in Mark Winegardner's 2004 sequel The Godfather Returns that Luca Brasi himself killed Jack Woltz's prized racehorse Khartoum and delivered its head into his bedroom.

Luca Brasi plays one major role in the prequel novel The Family Corleone by Ed Falco. At this time in 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 throwing it into the burning oven, let his Irish-American girlfriend Kelly die and abuses drugs. Brasi also wants to kill Tom Hagen, because he had an affair with Kelly. Partly because of severe headaches, Brasi overdoses on drugs, leading to a mental breakdown and stroke-like behavior. Although Vito dislikes and fears Brasi, he invites him into his family because he believes such a man is feared by everyone. Brasi's hygiene degenerates, though others say nothing as they fear the trouble is not worth 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 is a witness to Brasi's eventual death and must escape in order 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.

Luca inspired Baton Rouge's rapper Kevin Gates to create his 2013 mixtape, The Luca Brasi Story, and its sequel, Luca Brasi 2, hosted by DJ Drama and released on December 15, 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Godfather (1972)". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  2. ^ Puzo, Mario (1969). The Godfather. pp. 214–217. ISBN 0-7493-2468-6. 
  3. ^ "The Godfather" film.