Alex Rocco portraying Moe Greene
|First appearance||The Godfather|
|Last appearance||The Godfather|
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Portrayed by||Alex Rocco|
|Occupation||Casinos' proprietor, mobster, hitman (formerly)|
Barzini crime family (ties)
Murder, Inc. (formerly)
Morris "Moe" Greene is a fictional character appearing in Mario Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather and movie. The character's name is a composite of real Las Vegas mobsters Moe Dalitz, or possibly Moe Sedway, and Gus Greenbaum. However, both Greene's character and personality are actually based on Bugsy Siegel: his affiliation with the mob in Los Angeles, his involvement in the development of Las Vegas, and his flamboyant tendencies. Greene is portrayed in the movie by Alex Rocco.
Moe Greene is introduced in The Godfather as a renowned Jewish mobster and former executioner for Murder Incorporated. He is credited with the development of gambling and entertainment in Las Vegas and bringing the interests of the most powerful organized crime organizations in America to Nevada. Greene is in business with Don Vito Corleone, who bankrolls the creation of Greene's first hotel-casino. In return, Greene takes the Don's son Fredo under his wing during the war between the Five Families in New York, due to the intervention of West Coast Don Anthony Molinari. Although Fredo is greatly influenced by both Greene and the city, family heir Michael Corleone disapproves of the effect it has on his brother, whom Greene reportedly chastised and slapped around in public.
At a discreet meeting with Greene, Michael expresses his disapproval and makes an offer to buy out Greene's entire interest in the casino as part of the Corleones' relocation to Nevada. Offended, Greene angrily refuses, claiming that the Corleones have neither the favor nor the power required to drive him out of the business and are only moving to Las Vegas because the other families are chasing them out of New York. In the film, he also belittles Michael's credentials as a Don, saying, "I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!"
In the novel, Greene is murdered shortly afterward by Al Neri. In the climax of the film, Michael has Greene killed as part of his mass slaughter of the Corleone family's enemies. An unknown assassin surprises Greene while he is getting a massage and shoots him through the eye - a gruesome, yet iconic method of execution which henceforth came to be referred to in popular-culture slang (including several subsequent gangster films) as "a Moe Greene special." Greene's casinos then become property of the Corleone family.
The Godfather: Part II
Greene's death also plays a part in the second film in the series. Greene was a childhood friend to Michael's business partner and rival Hyman Roth, and it is implied that Roth's anger over Greene's murder is one motivation for his plan to destroy Michael.