Virgil Sollozzo

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Virgil Sollozzo
Virgil Sollozo.png
Virgil Sollozzo, as portrayed by Al Lettieri in The Godfather.
First appearance The Godfather
Created by Mario Puzo
Portrayed by Al Lettieri
Nickname(s) The Turk
Gender Male
Occupation Drug Lord

Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo (1898 – January 1946) is a fictional character and the main antagonist of Mario Puzo's The Godfather.

In the novel, it is said that he got his nickname because he has a nose like a Turkish scimitar. He also has a Turkish wife and children, and does much of his business (growing poppy) in Turkey. In the book, Sollozzo speaks Sicilian to Michael Corleone because he feels he can better express himself in that language. In the film, his English seems to be native and accent-free, though he still communicates with Michael in Sicilian. This may be to prevent corrupt Captain McCluskey, who is also in attendance, from understanding what they are saying.

In Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation, he is portrayed by Al Lettieri.[1][2]

In the film[edit]

Sollozzo arrives in New York and enlists the Tattagila crime family's aid for his new narcotics business. He asks the Corleone family for financial backing and to provide legal protection and political influence in return for a large cut of the profits. Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) declines the offer, stating that the narcotics business is bad for neighborhoods and would damage his political alliances.

Sollozzo, realizing that Vito's eldest son and Corleone family underboss, Sonny (James Caan), was receptive to his offer, attempts to have Vito murdered. (In the novel and the film it becomes apparent later that Sollozzo was following Emilio Barzini's orders, and Vito realizes this at the meeting with the Heads of the Five Families.) Sollozzo also abducts Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). He tells Hagen to persuade Sonny to accept his original deal and forgo avenging his father's death. Hagen agrees to try, but warns that Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), Vito's fanatically loyal bodyguard and hitman, will retaliate against Sollozzo. Unbeknownst to Hagen, Sollozzo had Brasi murdered.

Vito survives the shooting but is seriously wounded. Sollozzo orders McCluskey (Sterling Hayden), a corrupt NYPD police captain on Sollozzo's payroll, to arrest or remove every hospital guard before making another murder attempt. The plan is thwarted when Vito's youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), discovers his father is unprotected. Fearing an imminent attack, he and an ally pretend to be guards outside the hospital, tricking the would-be killers driving by. Captain McCluskey arrives and in confrontation, breaks Michael's jaw. Hagen quickly arrives with licensed armed guards, forcing McCluskey to leave.

Sonny wants to kill Sollozzo, but backs down when Tom reveals that any attempt on Sollozzo's life will almost certainly mean killing McCluskey as well--a move that will almost certainly bring retribution from both the police and the other families. In the American Mafia, it has long been a hard and fast rule that policemen are not to be harmed. Sonny calms down and decides to wait things out. However, Michael believes that Sollozzo will make another attempt on Vito's life, and proposes to kill both Sollozzo and McCluskey. He persuades Sonny and Tom that since McCluskey is serving as Sollozzo's bodyguard, he has crossed into their world and is fair game.

Soon after, Sollozzo arranges a meeting with Michael, supposedly to resolve the hostilities. Under McCluskey's personal protection, Sollozzo meets with Michael in a Bronx restaurant. Corleone operatives have planted a gun in the restaurant's lavatory. During the meeting, Sollozzo is unable to give Michael a guarantee that there will not be another attempt on Vito's life. Michael excuses himself to go the bathroom where he retrieves the revolver. Returning, he draws the gun and fatally shoots Sollozzo in the forehead, then kills McCluskey seconds later.

In the game[edit]

In The Godfather: The Game, Virgil Sollozzo is voiced by Richard Newman.


  1. ^ "The Godfather (1972)". Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Godfather". Retrieved 2014-07-07.