Luca Brasi

Luca Balou Brasi

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
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] an ex-wrestler[2] and ex-bodyguard for the Colombo crime family.

Plot details

Luca Brasi is Mafia boss Vito Corleone's personal enforcer. Brasi has a reputation as a savage killer, making him one of the most feared and dangerous criminals in the American Mafia. Vito is the only person who can control Brasi, but he also fears him and becomes nervous whenever they meet.

Brasi can perform any job or murder without accomplices that could implicate him. He also eliminates witnesses, making a criminal conviction nearly impossible. In one two-week killing spree, he murders six men who attempted to assassinate Don Corleone. Only Vito, recuperating from the attack, could call him off. These six deaths end the famous "Olive Oil War." Brasi's fanatical loyalty to Don Corleone is unquestioned, and he is said to have killed a Corleone soldier merely for making the Corleone family look bad. Brasi often claims he would sooner kill himself than betray the Godfather.

Another early incident involved Brasi killing two of Al Capone's henchmen who were hired to murder Don Corleone. Brasi subdues both men, binding and then gagging them with towels. As Brasi hacks up one with an ax, the other man, terrified, chokes to death on the towel.[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. The distraught woman, who described Brasi as an unholy demon, sought Vito's protection. Don Corleone intervened, covering up Brasi's crime and earning Brasi's undying service and loyalty.

Brasi is surprised and grateful to be invited to Vito Corleone's daughter's wedding. To show proper respect, Brasi personally presents the Don a large cash gift for his daughter, Connie's, bridal purse, purportedly the largest sum given. During the reception, Michael's girlfriend, Kay Adams, notices Brasi and asks Michael about him. He tells her how his father once helped his godson Johnny Fontane's 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." Within an hour Halley signed a release for only $1,000.[4] As Brasi held a gun to Halley's head, Don Corleone assured him that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract.[4] In the novel the circumstances and tendered amount differs somewhat. Accompanied by Brasi, Vito Corleone held Halley at gunpoint after initially offering the bandleader $20,000. The Don then paid $10,000 after forcing Halley to sign the release.

To draw out rival mobster Virgil Sollozzo, Don Corleone orders Brasi to pretend he is switching allegiances. Brasi hangs out at Bruno Tattaglia's nightclub, beds a waitress working there, and openly complains that he is underpaid. When that information filters back to Tattaglia, he offers Brasi a meeting. Brasi arrives, wearing a bulletproof vest. Sollozzo, after promising friendship, a job, and $50,000, has him subdued and garroted to death. Sonny Corleone, Tom Hagen, and others in the family learn of Brasi's demise by receiving dead fish wrapped in Brasi's bulletproof vest, indicating he "sleeps with the fishes".

Brasi's role as personal enforcer/bodyguard to the Don is later filled by Al Neri. Following Neri's initiation, Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen 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 his Irish-American girlfriend Kelly die, and abuses drugs. Brasi also wants to kill Hagen for having an affair with Kelly. 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.

Brasi 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.

Brasi inspired Baton Rouge 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.

Luca Brasi features in the lyrics to Catatonia's song "I am the Mob" on their 1998 album International Velvet.[5]

Luca Brasi is also the name of an Australian punk rock band from Tasmania. Luca Brasi have released three albums on Poison City Records, "Extended Family", "By A Thread" and "If This Is All We're Going To Be."

Luca Brasi is also referenced in Brand New's song "Luca" on their 2006 album "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me".[6]


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