Il Capo dei Capi

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Il capo dei capi
GenreMiniseries, biographical, dramatic
Created byEnzo Monteleone, Alexis Sweet
Country of originItaly
Original language(s)Italian
No. of episodes6
Producer(s)Pietro Valsecchi
Editor(s)Stefano Bises, Claudio Fava
Domenico Starnone
Running time90 minutes
Original networkCanale 5
First shown in2007
Original release25 October (2007-10-25) –
29 November 2007

Il Capo dei Capi (The Boss of the Bosses) is a six-part Italian miniseries which debuted on Canale 5 between October and November 2007. It tells the story of Salvatore Riina, alias Totò u Curtu (Totò the Short), a mafioso boss from Corleone, Sicily. Riina is played by Palermo-born actor, Claudio Gioè, and the series was directed by Alexis Sweet and Enzo Monteleone. The film is inspired from the eponymous book-inquiry of Giuseppe D'Avanzo [it] and Attilio Bolzoni. The series was broadcast in the UK in the spring of 2013 on the Sky Arts channel, retitled Corleone and split into 12 one-hour episodes.[1]


First episode (1943–1958)[edit]

15 January 1993. Cosa nostra 'superboss' Salvatore Riina has been arrested after 23 years, and receives a visit in prison from his childhood friend, Biagio Schirò, triggering a flashback. In 1943, as a boy of 13 years, Riina is working in the fields around the town of Corleone when he finds a buried bomb. His father decides to take the bomb home, in order to extract the gunpowder from inside in order to sell it to hunters in order to supplement his very low farm labourer's income. The bomb explodes, killing Riina's father and younger brother, Ciccio, and leaving Salvatore as the head of the family to lead a life of misery.

Tired of living in poverty, Totò, together with his friends Bernardo Provenzano (aka Binnu), Calogero Bagarella (Calò) and Biagio Schirò, begins to work for Luciano Liggio, Picciotto of the boss Michele Navarra, who meanwhile orders the kidnapping and murder of Placido Rizzotto. Soon after, Totò gets into a murderous fight with Menico, the son of a miller to whom he sells his grain, and ends up in prison; meanwhile Schirò's change of heart takes him back to school. Six years later, Totò, an adult by now, is freed. Waiting outside the prison gates are Provenzano, Bagarella and a new member of the gang, Luciano Maino.

Riina soon picks up where he left off in Liggio's gang: intent on more power and infamy, the gang murder the capo Michele Navarra and plan to expand towards Palermo. Schirò, meanwhile, has become a police officer and is working with commissioner Angelo Mangano on Liggio and his gang. Totò meets the studious younger sister of Calogero Bagarella, Ninetta, and falls in love. It soon emerges that Ninetta is a close friend of Teresa, who in turn is dating Biagio Schirò.

Second episode (1963–1969)[edit]

The full Corleonesi Clan (Luciano Liggio, Totò Riina, Bernardo Provenzano, Calogero Bagarella and Luciano Maino) prepare to go to Palermo for a 'business conversation' with Salvatore La Barbera and Vito Ciancimino. As soon as they arrive, they begin straight away to demand respect: first killing a butcher who is late in paying for a load of clandestine meat, then killing an accountant who had paid protection to the wrong family. One evening, while the Corleonesi are in a night club (where Maino meets a girl, Maria Nigro) Salvatore La Barbera is kidnapped and killed by Michele Cavataio. All the other mafiosi in La Barbera's clan flee from Palermo.

Back in Corleone, Totò's relationship with Ninetta Bagarella strengthens. Biagio discovers from Teresa that word has it that Riina will be at Ninetta's one evening, and organizes a search. Nevertheless, Totò manages to hide both himself and his friend Calogero, and neither are caught. Totò promises to Ninetta not to enact revenge on Teresa for the betrayal, but she tells him that she had already decided to break all links to her friend, rather to continue her relationship in secret with him.

On 30 June 1963, in the Ciaculli quarter of Palermo, a police officer notices a parked Alfa Giulietta. Unaware that the car is packed with explosives, an officer opens the boot which triggers the bomb inside which kills seven people. This leads to many arrests, with many other mafiosi, including the Corleonesi, going into hiding. Maino refuses to do so, preferring to stay in Palermo with his girlfriend. While fleeing from Corleone, Totò and Calogero are stopped by a police patrol. Calogero manages to escape but Totò is arrested; he attempts to provide forged identity documents but these fail when he is recognized by Biagio.

A few days later, Biagio tells Teresa (who has just graduated) that Riina has been caught, and that the two can marry without threat. At the same time, an eavesdropping Ninetta (also recently graduated) overhears everything. Schirò goes to the parents of Teresa to ask her hand in marriage and, after an awkward conversation with her father, is given their blessing.

Meanwhile Maria, Maino's girlfriend, discovers his hidden life via the newspapers, and convinces him to go to the police. He tells Judge Cesare Terranova everything he knows about the Corleonesi. Shortly after, Luciano Liggio too is arrested by Commissario Mangano and Schirò, discovered hiding in the wardrobe of Leoluchina Sorisi, the ex-girlfriend of the murdered Placido Rizzotto.

The Bari trial begins, and Maino stands as witness, fingering directly Totò and his companions, and testifying to all of their murders. Despite this concrete proof, Liggio, Riina and the other convicts are released thanks to a lack of evidence - the jury had been threatened. A few days after the trial, Luciano Maino is found, hanging, at his home.

Third episode (1969-1978)[edit]

Biagio and Teresa have married, and have a baby (Antonio) at the beginning of the episode. Simultaneously Riina and his fellow mafiosi - Provenzano, Bagarella and two other men, soldiers of Tano Badalamenti, boss of Cinisi - enter the offices of Michele Cavataio dressed with uniforms of the Guardia di Finanza. The aim of the attack is to assassinate Michele Cavataio, who had earlier killed Salvatore La Barbera.

One of Badalamenti's henchmen, nervously lets his gun fire, killing two men and triggering a massacre - no longer under cover, they have to murder five others before reaching Cavataio. Following a spree of bullets, Cavataio feings death until Totò and Calogero enter, when he turns and shoots, hitting and killing Bagarella. Enraged, Provenzano responds by beating Cavataio to death with the butt of his gun (Viale Lazio massacre).

In Corleone, Totò informs his own sister, and girlfriend of Calogero, Arcangela, of his friends death. He then calls on his Ninetta, Calogero's sister, calling her away from her teaching job and giving her the news; meanwhile Schirò requests a transfer to Palermo. Needing cash in order to make key investments in Palermo, Riina decides to kidnap the young lad, Antonio Caruso, from the town hall while visiting now mayor Vito Ciancimino. This triggers the disdain of the mafiosi of Palermo, in particular bosses Stefano Bontade and Giuseppe Di Cristina.

On 5 May 1971, Riina orders the homicide of District Attorney Pietro Scaglione, and during the ambush the police escort agent Antonio Lo Russo is also killed. Totò wishes to flee with Ninetta to Venice, and marry. Having discovered the body of Bagarella, the police decide to search the home of his sister, Arcangela, and find a photo of Ninetta and Totò. Implicated, the police arrest Ninetta. During her trial, Vito Maranza, one of Riina's men, goes to Biagio's house and kidnaps Teresa and Antonio, holding them to ransom until Bagarella is released.

Luciano Liggio is arrested in Milan by commissario Mangano, as a consequence Riina becomes the main capo of the Corleonesi Clan, and is chosen by Don Michele Greco as his 'prediletto' (his favourite).

Two of Riina's soldati are ordered to kill Giuseppe Di Cristina but fail, killing instead his driver. Shadowing Di Cristina, they discover that he is collaborating with Commissario Boris Giuliano. Meanwhile Totò and Ninetta marry.

Some of the mafiosi - Pippo Calderone, Badalamenti and Di Cristina - begin to have problems with Totò, and their interaction becomes cold. At a successive meeting of the Commissione, Riina asks for their lives and is given permission to kill only Di Cristina, though he also kills Calderone.

At the end of the episode, Silvio Albertini, an honest colleague of Schirò, chances upon the hiding place of Riina, his wife and Provenzano. He immediately telephones Biagio from a phone box, and summons him to the location. As soon as he arrives, Schirò heads up to the apartment and finds Silvio's lifeless body on the floor. Suddenly, Riina's two soldati appear and beat Schirò. Riina emerges and warns his old friend to leave his family alone, especially Ninetta, before knocking him out cold.

Fourth episode (1979–1981)[edit]

Schirò and Boris Giuliano with his men go to the Punta Raisi airport in Palermo to arrest French chemists who have come to Sicily to teach Francesco Marino Mannoia (Bontate's chemist) to cut the drug, and on the other hand a meeting between the biggest mafia bosses. As soon as the police arrive at the airport, Commissioner Giuliano receives a phone call in which he is told that it is not possible to stop the two Frenchmen for lack of evidence.

Peppe (who has an ill brother), Bontate's capodecina, accompanies Totò at home and receives the money to treat his brother in America.

Meanwhile Totò and Ninetta have two children (Concetta and Giovanni) and they are waiting for the third one. Giuliano found the refinery of Corleone, Schirò found the one of Bontade. Back to the police station Giuliano got a phone call telling him that he'll die soon.

At the airport is found a suitcase full of money, addressed to Bontade, who at this point calls his friends in Rome to complain that Giuliano is going too far and they must stop him, otherwise, he will.

Boris Giuliano sends his family on holiday promising to reach them the week after but a few days later he's killed by Leoluca Bagarella (Luchino) and Pino Greco (Scarpuzzedda). Meanwhile, Ninetta begins to feel pain, she's brought to the hospital but it's just a false alarm.

Someone in the city spits bad drugs. Totò Riina discovers who is responsible: it's a certain Tanino, right hand of Salvatore Inzerillo, to whom Tanino takes away the drug he resells. Totò manages to blackmail the bad dealer.

In the best clinic of Palermo Ninetta has given birth to her third son Giuseppe and meanwhile Teresa finds out she's pregnant. At Giuliano's funeral, Schirò (left watching it on TV) is unaware of the state of his wife and he has an argument with her, Teresa loses the child and decides to leave Sicily for Rome. After a while she's reached by her husband.

After a speech with Schirò, judge Gaetano Costa signs the arrest warrants for all the bosses of Palermo and he's subsequently killed by the Bontate family. Meanwhile, Cesare Terranova is sent to Palermo where he's killed by Totò. When the Palermo bosses come to know, they decide to eliminate 'u Curtu. Totò changed home (since the one where he lived was owned by Stefano Bontade): all the Palermitans are now against him.

With the help of Tanino and Peppe, Riina manages to escape all the attacks against him and Stefano Bontate, Salvatore Inzerillo and their families are killed by Mario Prestifilippo and "Scarpuzzedda". The Second Mafia War produces many deaths so John Gambino, the biggest American boss, arrives in Palermo to try to stop the murders. Riina assures and convinces him that the war is over and no other men of honor will be killed.

Fifth episode (1982-1987)[edit]

The fifth episode begins with Pio La Torre, regional secretary of the Italian Communist Party, which on one hand is a debate in Corleone to prevent the construction of a Cruise missiles base in Comiso and the other side with the full Commission. In the commission there is a certain Apuzzo, a dear friend of Tommaso Buscetta pretending to be loyal to Totò Riina.

The Mangano Commissioner, now retired, advised the magistrates in Palermo (who want to fight the Mafia at all costs) Schirò as wildcard to find all the large and back to Corleone to tell Schirò to go to Palermo to work with Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino and Rocco Chinnici.

While Toto plays with her son Giovanni, Ninetta is pregnant again and is concerned for the ideas of her husband. Toto then decides to call a few of his soldiers and ordered the murder of Pio La Torre along his bodyguard Rosario Di Salvo.

Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa was sent to Palermo. The first action of General Dalla Chiesa is to send his men to search the collector of Ignazio Salvo, powerful man colluded with the Mafia. Shortly after General Dalla Chiesa was killed by "soldiers" Riina and Nitto Santapaola. Also Rocco Chinnici is murdered.

Meanwhile Apuzzo travels to Brazil by Tommaso Buscetta. Toto as they are known and does kill him and all of Buscetta relatives. Tommasino was arrested for heroin trafficking. In the Brazilian prison he is tortured, but did not speak. He is transferred to Italy and started working with Giovanni Falcone, which explains the structure of Cosa Nostra. After questioning are arrested hundreds and hundreds of people, among them was Vito Ciancimino.

28 July 1985 he was assassinated the commissioner Giuseppe Montana, who was investigating with Biagio on victims of the Second Mafia War. A young man is wrongly accused of murder. Brought to the police station, Giacalone (police constable) is carried away by the violence and kills the boy. Then Ninni Cassarà informs Falcone and opens an investigation by the judiciary on. Teresa and Antonio (wife and son of Schiro), who were in Rome, meanwhile, returned to Palermo.

On 6 August 1985 Ninni Cassarà was killed by Pino Greco "Scarpuzzedda", before the eyes of his wife and daughter. Meanwhile, in the security jailhouse of the Asinara, (in Sardinia), Falcone and Borsellino prepare the Maxi Trial that a few days later, he began his work. At the end of the process, Riina and Provenzano were sentenced in absentia while Michele Greco and Luciano Leggio and many others, present in the courtroom, are also sentenced to life imprisonment.

The episode ends with a shootout where we find on the one hand Schirò and on the other Vito Maranza and Leoluca Bagarella. The outcome of the shooting is a dead (Vito Maranza) and a seriously injured (Biagio Schirò).

Sixth episode(1988-1993)[edit]


Episode Broadcast date Viewers (millions) Share
1 25 October 2007 7.146 27.21%
2 1 November 2007 7.810 30.40%
3 8 November 2007 7.545 28.10%
4 15 November 2007 6.985 28.15%
5 22 November 2007 7.731 29.98%
6 29 November 2007 7.995 28.59%


The miniseries has been watched by Salvatore Riina, now that he is in prison, raising some criticism on the coverage of the topic.


  1. ^ "Corleone".

External links[edit]