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, an ex-wrestler and ex-bodyguard for the Colombo crime family.
|First appearance||The Godfather|
|Last appearance||The Godfather: The Game|
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Portrayed by||Lenny Montana|
|Relatives||Kelly O'Rourke (lover, murder victim)|
O'Rourke child (biological child, murder victim)
Fictional character biography
Luca Brasi is Mafia boss Vito Corleone's personal enforcer. His intense brutality unnerves Vito Corleone. In one two-week killing spree, he murders six men who had attempted to assassinate Don Corleone, continuing his ferocious rampage until Vito called a halt to it, ending the "Olive Oil War." Brasi's loyalty to Don Corleone is unquestioned, and he is said to have killed a Corleone soldier for making the Corleone family look bad. Brasi says he would sooner kill himself than betray the Godfather.
In one early incident Brasi kills two of Al Capone's henchmen who were hired to assassinate Don Corleone. Brasi subdued both men, binding and then gagging them with towels. As Brasi dismembered one with an axe, the other man, terrified, choked to death on the towel.
Later in the novel, an old Sicilian woman, a former midwife, tells Vito's youngest son, Michael, that years earlier Brasi murdered an Irish prostitute hours after she gave birth to his child. He then forced the midwife to put the live infant into a burning furnace. The distraught woman sought Vito Corleone's help. Don Corleone intervened, protecting the woman while covering up Brasi's crime and gaining his undying service and loyalty.
Brasi was surprised to be invited to Connie Corleone's wedding, though Vito included him reluctantly, doing so only as a professional courtesy. To express his respect and gratitude, Brasi personally presents the Don a large cash gift for his daughter's bridal purse, purportedly the largest sum given. During the reception, Michael's girlfriend, Kay Adams, asks Michael about Brasi. He explains that his father once helped his godson Johnny Fontane's singing career with Brasi's assistance. 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 to make Halley, "an offer he couldn't refuse." In the novel, Vito, accompanied by Brasi and Consigliere Genco Abbandando, holds Halley at gunpoint after initially offering the bandleader $20,000, telling him that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract. The Don then pays $10,000 after forcing Halley to sign the release. In the film, Michael explains to Kay, Halley signed a release for only $1,000.
To draw out rival mobster Virgil Sollozzo, Don Corleone orders Brasi to feign dissatisfaction in his work for the Corleones, and a desire to switch allegiances. Don Tattaglia, hearing this, arranges a meeting between Brasi and Sollozzo. Brasi arrives, wearing a bulletproof vest. Sollozzo, unfooled by the ruse, has him killed, then sends the vest stuffed with dead fish to the Corleones, an old Sicilian message saying that 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, Vito tells Michael that now he has his "Luca".
In other media
Luca Brasi plays a 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. The younger Brasi is described as a psychopath who kills his own newborn child by having it thrown alive into a burning furnace, lets its mother, his Irish-American girlfriend Kelly O'Rourke die, and abuses drugs. Brasi also wants to kill Tom Hagen for having a one-night stand with Kelly, a feud that Vito settles by paying Brasi off. Brasi suffers a drug overdose, which leads to a mental breakdown and stroke-like behavior. Although Vito dislikes and fears Brasi, he recruits him into his crime family, knowing that Brasi's formidable reputation would intimidate the Corleone family's enemies.
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, demonstrating 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.
According to film historian Laurent Bouzereau, the strangling death of crime boss Jabba the Hutt's in Return of the Jedi was suggested by script writer Lawrence Kasdan. George Lucas decided Leia should strangle him with her slave chain, as he was inspired by Brasi's death scene from The Godfather.
- "The Godfather (1972)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
- "Why the gangsters still love The Godfather of all movies". Irish Independent. April 13, 2001.
- Puzo, Mario (1969). The Godfather. pp. 214–217. ISBN 978-0-7493-2468-1.
- Jones, Jenny M. (2009). The Annotated Godfather: The Complete Screenplay. ISBN 9781603763721.
- Bourezeau, Annoted Screenplays, p. 259.