The Brotherhood (1968 film)

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The Brotherhood
Brotherhood 1968.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Ritt
Written by Lewis John Carlino
Starring Kirk Douglas, Alex Cord, Irene Papas, Luther Adler
The Brotherhood Company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 1968 (1968-12)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Brotherhood is a 1968 crime drama film, directed by Martin Ritt. It stars Kirk Douglas, Irene Papas, Alex Cord, and Luther Adler. The script was by Lewis John Carlino. Released by Paramount Pictures, the film bombed at the box office, with Paramount deciding not to do another gangster film until it made The Godfather four years later.


A young American man arrives in Palermo by plane. A taxi driver at the airport immediately gets word to Frank Ginetta, who hides, armed with a gun, until he realizes that the visitor he's been warned about is actually his kid brother, Vinnie.

Frank happily welcomes his brother and takes him home, catching up on old times. But his wife, Ida, reminds him that "they're going to send someone," suggesting that perhaps Vinnie is the one.

In a flashback, Frank recalls better times in New York, beginning with Vinnie's homecoming from military service and subsequent marriage to Emma Bertolo. The father of the bride, Dominick Bertolo, is a Mafia don, as is the groom's brother, Frank. And among those paying their respects as guests at the wedding are mob leaders like Egan, Rotherman and Levin, who are the equals of Frank and Dominick in the New York region's organized crime.

The board is increasingly unhappy with Frank, who seems to oppose every new idea. Frank also dispenses justice on his own, without seeking approval from the others, as when two of his hitmen kill a stool pigeon in the marshes, tying him to a chair with a canary stuffed in his mouth.

Frank still fondly remembers his father, who also was a Mafioso before someone in the organization ordered his death. Vinnie is more of a businessman and sides with the other board members in ventures they intend to pursue. Frank resents this, striking Vinnie for defying him and insisting to the board that Vinnie will have no part in what they have planned.

Older, no longer consulted members of the organization make it clear to Frank that it was Dom Bertolo who gave the orders long ago to kill 41 of their Italian brethren, Frank's father included, as he seized power. When it becomes clear that the board is planning a similar fate for him, Frank takes irreversible action. He pretends to befriend Dominick and offer a truce, when in reality he is taking him to a deserted warehouse to be executed.

Frank hides out in Sicily, but knows his days are numbered. Realizing that it is Vinnie who has been sent by Egan to do the job, Frank accepts his fate, hands Vinnie their father's shotgun, then is killed by his own brother.


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