Connie Corleone

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Connie Corleone
First appearanceThe Godfather
Last appearanceThe Godfather's Revenge
FamilyCorleone family
Spouse(s)Carlo Rizzi (deceased; 1945-1955)
Unnamed 2nd Husband (divorced)
Merle Johnson? (divorced)
ChildrenVictor Rizzi
Michael Francis Rizzi
RelativesFrancesca Corleone (niece)
Kathryn Corleone (niece)
Frank Corleone (nephew)
Santino Corleone Jr.(nephew)
Vincent Corleone (nephew)
Anthony Corleone (nephew)
Mary Corleone (niece)
FatherVito Corleone
MotherCarmela Corleone
BrothersSonny Corleone
Fredo Corleone
Michael Corleone
Tom Hagen (adopted brother)

Constanzia "Connie" Corleone is a fictional character in The Godfather, a novel by Mario Puzo and the 1972 film The Godfather. In the film, Connie is portrayed by Talia Shire, the sister of the director Francis Ford Coppola. Shire was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Connie Corleone in The Godfather Part II.[1]

The Godfather[edit]

Born in 1925, Connie is the youngest child and only daughter of Mafia don Vito Corleone and his wife Carmella. She is the sister of Sonny, Fredo and Michael Corleone. In 1945, she marries Sonny's friend Carlo Rizzi.[2] Her father disapproves of the relationship, and only agrees to the marriage on condition that they hold an old-style Sicilian wedding.

Carlo, whom Puzo characterizes as "a punk sore at the world", abuses and cheats on Connie out of frustration at being shunted aside by the Corleone family. Their wedding night turns out to be a harbinger of things to come; he gives Connie a black eye when she refuses to give him a purse containing cash gifts from the wedding guests.

After one particularly bad beating, Connie complains to her father, who refuses to help. Vito is in fact outraged at how Carlo treats Connie, but is powerless to help due to Italian tradition that forbids a father to interfere in a daughter's marriage. Connie's brothers despise Carlo for his mistreatment of Connie, especially Sonny. One day, when Sonny visits Connie, he finds her in tears and with a bruised face. Sonny chases and beats up Carlo in the street, threatening to kill Carlo if he hurts Connie again.

Rival mob boss Emilio Barzini recruits Carlo in a plan to kill Sonny. Carlo has his mistress call the house to provoke a fight with Connie, and Carlo beats Connie with his belt. She phones the Corleone compound and asks Sonny for help. An enraged Sonny drives off alone to help Connie, leaving his bodyguards following in a separate car. At the toll booth Sonny is ambushed and killed by Barzini's Tommy gun-wielding men.

Michael returns from Sicily and takes Sonny's place as Vito's heir apparent. When Vito dies, Michael becomes the new Don and avenges Sonny's murder by having Carlo garroted by caporegime Peter Clemenza, part of a wave of murders orchestrated by Vito and Michael to eliminate the Corleone family's enemies. Connie flies into a rage when she finds out Carlo is dead and blames Michael, denouncing him in front of his wife Kay.

The Godfather Part II[edit]

In The Godfather Part II, set three years later, Connie is still angry at Michael, and has several meaningless affairs just to spite him. On the day of Michael's son Anthony's First Communion, she shows up at Michael's house and asks for money so she can marry Merle Johnson, a man Michael disapproves of. Michael refuses, and Connie storms off. At the end of the film, Connie returns for her mother's funeral and makes peace with Michael. She intercedes on Fredo's behalf after Michael disowns him for conspiring with Corleone rival Hyman Roth, pleading with Michael to forgive him. Michael publicly appears to forgive Fredo, but later has him killed. Connie later says that Fredo had drowned, unaware or willfully ignorant of the truth. After Michael and Kay divorce, Connie helps care for Michael's children. In a flashback at the end of the film, it is revealed that Sonny introduced her to Carlo in 1941 during Vito's birthday party.

The Godfather Part III[edit]

In The Godfather Part III, set 20 years later, Connie has become one of Michael's closest advisors. She encourages Michael to bring Sonny's illegitimate son Vincent Mancini into the Corleone family and support him in his feud with Joey Zasa. When Michael suffers a diabetic stroke following an attempt on his life, Connie and Michael's assassin Al Neri give Vincent the approval to kill Zasa, who was complicit in the attack. Michael is furious that she gave an order behind his back, but she maintains that it was necessary to strike fear into his enemies. Connie travels with the Corleone family to Palermo, Sicily to watch Anthony's operatic debut. She tells Vincent to prepare a counterattack if Michael is killed. She then stands at Michael's side when he retires and names Vincent his successor. She attends the opera, along with the entire Corleone family. On discovering that her godfather Don Altobello is the mastermind of the plot against their family, she kills him by giving him a gift of poisoned cannoli. Connie is distraught when her niece Mary is killed by an assassin who intended to kill Michael.[3]


Connie is Vito's only daughter and has been described as his favorite child, next to Michael. Connie attempts to have her family accept Carlo in the first film, and was devastated by his murder, despite the abuse she suffered at his hands.[4] Talia Shire described her character as "'a pain-in-the-ass, whiny person' in the shadow of all-powerful men."[5]

In other media[edit]

Connie appears as a supporting character in Mark Winegardner's sequel novels The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge.

Family tree[edit]


  1. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 18, 2006). "Talia Shire". Variety. New York City: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Simon, Alex (November 22, 2008). "Talia Shire Remembers the Family Business". The Hollywood Interview. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 25, 1990). "The Corleones Try to Go Straight In 'The Godfather Part III'". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ A Study Guide for Mario Puzo's "The Godfather". Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, Cengage Learning. 2016. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4103-4692-6.
  5. ^ Seal, Mark (March 1, 2009). "The Godfather Wars". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved February 25, 2018.