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)
O'Rourke child (biological child, 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[2] and ex-bodyguard for the Colombo Crime Family.

Biography[edit]

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, fatally choked on the towel while witnessing the gruesome execution.[3]

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 burning furnace, an act 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.

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 Don Corleone a large cash gift for his daughter's bridal purse, purportedly the largest sum given. During the reception, Michael's then-girlfriend, Kay Adams notices him sitting alone and apparently talking to himself, though he is actually rehearsing his speech to Don Corleone. When Kay asks Michael about Luca, he tells her that his father once helped his godson Johnny Fontane's career. Don Corleone had 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.[4] As Brasi held a gun to Halley's forehead, Don Corleone assured Halley that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract.[4] In the novel the tendered amount differs. Vito Corleone initially offers Halley $20,000, then pays $10,000, after forcing him to release Fontane.

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 arrives containing Brasi's bullet-proof vest wrapped around dead fish. It is an old Sicilian message: Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

Brasi's role as personal enforcer/bodyguard to the Don is later filled by Al Neri. Following Neri's initiation, Tom Hagen tells Michael that now he has his "Luca."

In other media[edit]

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

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.

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]

External links[edit]