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The cinema is full of stories about the mafia. It is the representatives of this mysterious criminal structure that are often the main villains. Hit films like The Godfather, Casino and Bugsy.
But why are there so many films made about bandits? And who is the most famous mafioso? It is not easy to get on the "honorable" list, for this you need to leave a noticeable criminal mark in the history of the mafia. It should be noted that most of the representatives of this list have left their mark on American history.
Although these people were not saints, one cannot but admire their influence and talents, albeit directed in the wrong direction. Let's talk about the most famous mafiosi and what films were created based on their criminal activities.
Vincent "The Chin" Gigante (1928-2005). This criminal was born in 1928 in New York. Vincent's character was extremely difficult - he never finished school, leaving her in the ninth grade. A new hobby came to replace studies - boxing. Acting in light heavyweight, Gigante won 21 fights out of 25. The first arrest took place at the age of 25, but by that time Vincent had already been in a criminal gang for 8 years. The very first high-profile case of a bandit as a member of the Genovese family was the attempted murder of Frank Costello. However, Gigante missed. Despite the failure, his progress on the criminal ladder continued, over time, Vincent became the godfather, and later, in the early 80s, and the console. After the conviction of a major mafia boss Tony Salerno, it was Giganto who became the new leader of the clan. But why did such a rise take place? In the late 60s, Vincent escaped jail by pretending to be insane. In the future, the bandit continued to maintain this image - it cost him nothing to walk the streets of his hometown in pajamas. This fact gave Gigante such nicknames as "King of Pajamas" and "Freak". Only after conviction in 2003 for extortion did the criminal admit that his mental health was in good order. Thanks to lawyers and poor health, Gigante was supposed to be released from prison in 2010, but the mafia's heart could not stand it, and on December 19, 2005, Vincent died. The prototype of Vincent Giganto was used in one of the episodes of the TV series Law & Order, as well as in the 1999 film Bonanno: The Godfather Story.
Albert Anastasia (1903-1957). This representative of the mafia was born, like many of his colleagues, in Italy, but he moved to America as a child. Albert's career began with the murder of a dockman at the Brooklyn docks. The murderer began to serve his sentence in the famous Sing Sing prison, but soon the only witness mysteriously died and Anastasia was released without having served his sentence. Albert earned the nicknames "Lord Executioner" and "Mad Hatter" for his many murders. Over time, the criminal ended up in Joe Masseria's gang, who just needed a cold-blooded killer. However, Albert was very friendly with the competitor, Charlie "Lucky", so Masseria's betrayal was a matter of time. It was Anastasia who became one of the four sent to kill the boss in 1931. Already in 1944, Albert became the leader of a group of murderers, which even got its name "Murder, Inc.". The perpetrator himself has never been prosecuted for murder, but according to the authorities, his group was directly related to at least 400 deaths. The 50s elevated Albert to the status of the leader of the Luciano family, but at the direction of Carlo Gambino, Anastasia was killed in 1957. The prototype of this mobster became the basis for the films "Murder, Inc." with Peter Falk and Howard Smith in 1960, as well as "The Valacci Papers" in 1972 and "Lepke" in 1975.
Joseph Bonanno (1905-2002). And this bandit was born in Italy, the island of Sicily became his homeland in 1905. Already at the age of 15, the boy was left an orphan, and when he was 19, he fled from the fascist regime of Mussolini, first to Cuba, and from there to the United States. The young man soon became known as "Joey Bananas", becoming a member of the Maranzano family. Maranzano managed to form the "Commission", which was able to establish control over the families of the mafia in Italy itself. However, Luciano soon killed his rival. Bonanno gradually amassed large capital by running cheese factories and a tailoring and funeral business. However, Joseph's plans for the gradual elimination of the rest of the families did not come true. Bonanno was kidnapped, it took him 19 days to come to a decision to retire. But this decision allowed Joseph to live a long life. As a result, the bandit has never been convicted of anything serious during his career. It was about Bonanno that two films were made: Love, Honor and Obedience: The Last Alliance of the Mafia, 1993 with Ben Gazarra in the title role and "Bonanno: The Godfather Story", 1999 with Martin Landau.
Arthur Flegenheimer (1902-1935). This mafioso became known by his nickname "The Dutchman Schultz". He was born in the Bronx in 1902. Even in his youth, Arthur became the organizer of crap games, which tried to impress the boss Marcelo Poffo. Already at the age of 17, the young man went to prison, having been convicted of theft. Arthur soon realized that the only way he could make money was to trade in alcohol during the prohibition era, or bootlegging. The bandit tried to enter the newly formed criminal syndicate, but thereby he made himself serious enemies in the person of Capone and Luciano. In 1933, Arthur flees to New Jersey from justice. After his return in 1935, the mafiosi are killed by Albert Anastasia's henchmen. Made Dutch Schultz famous by Dustin Hoffman in the 1991 film Billy Bathgate, another reflection was in 1997's Bully with Tim Roth. The image of a bandit is also found in the films "Gangster Wars" in 1981, "Club Cotton" in 1984 and "Natural Gift" of the same year.
John Gotti (1940-2002). This gangster stands out from all New York celebrities of this kind. John was born in 1940 and has always been considered smart. Already at the age of 16, Gotti is a member of the street gang Boys from Fulton Rockaway. John's talents allowed him to quickly become the leader of the group. In the 60s, "Guys" traded in petty theft and car theft. However, this was clearly not enough for Gotti, in the early 70s he was already the godfather of the Bergin group, which was part of the Gambino family. Gotti's ambitions pushed him into dangerous moves even among the mafia - he became involved in the distribution of drugs, which was prohibited by family rules. Unsurprisingly, boss Paul Castellano decided to expel Gotti from his organization. However, in 1985, John and his assistants managed to kill Castellano and personally lead the Gambino family. Although New York City law enforcement has tried repeatedly to convict Gotti, the charges have consistently failed. The mafiosi himself always looked presentable, which the media liked. It was they who gave the gangster the nicknames "Elegant Don" and "Teflon Don". The police only got to Gotti in 1992, convicting him of murder. The gangster's life was cut short in 2002, he died of cancer. The life of a mafioso has been repeatedly embodied in films - he was played by Antonio Denilson in the film "Get to Gotti" in 1994, Armand Assante in "Gotti" in 1996. And in the films of 1998, "Witness of the Mafia" with Tom Sizemoor and "The Big Robbery" in 2001 managed without the participation of a well-known bandit.
Meyer Lansky (1902-1983). In 1902, a boy, Mayer Sachovlyansky, was born in Russia, who was to become a famous American gangster. In 1911, he and his parents moved to New York. As a child, Charles Luciano became Meyer's friend. He demanded money from the stranger for patronage, but Lansky refused. There was a fight, the result of which was ... friendship between the boys. After a while, Bugsy Segal joined the guys, who was introduced to the company by Meyer. The friendly trinity became the nucleus of the Bug and Meyer group, which later developed into the famous Murder, Inc. At first, Lansky took up gambling and the accompanying money. Florida, New Orleans and Cuba became the arena of his actions. Meyer became an investor in Segal's casino, which he opened in Las Vegas, and the mobster even acquired an offshore Swiss bank to better launder money. When the National Crime Syndicate was formed in America, it was Lansky who co-founded it. Business is business, however, when Bugsy Segal stopped giving the Syndicate money, Lansky calmly ordered his old friend to be killed. Gambling houses all over the world were subjected to racketeering by Lansky's guys, but he did not spend a single day in prison. The role of Meyer Lansky was brilliantly portrayed by Richard Dreyfus in the 1999 film Lansky, as well as by Numan Roth in The Godfather II in 1974. Played gangster Mark Rydell in 1990's Havana, Patrick Dempsey in Gangsters and Ben Kingsley in 1991's Bugsy.
Frank Costello (1891-1973). And this gangster was born in Italy, having moved to the United States at the age of four. Already at the age of 13, Francesco Castilla became a member of a criminal gang, changing his name to a more sonorous one - Frank Costello. After a prison sentence, he becomes Charlie Luciano's best friend. The couple got involved in organizing gambling and bootlegging together. Costello's influence was based on the fact that he connected the mafia and politicians. Frank was friends with the Democrat Tammany Hall, which made it possible to avoid the persecution of the New York police. Luciano's arrest made Costello a man in law. The strained relationship in Vito Genovese led to the fact that he tried to kill Costello in the mid-50s. This led to a departure from the business of Frank, who died quietly in retirement in 1973. The image of Costello was best embodied by James Andronicus in the 1981 film Gangster Chronicles. Worth noting is the work of Jack Nicholson in The Departed 2006, Carmine Caridi in Bugsy, and Costas Mobsters in 1991's Gangsters.
Benjamin "Bugsy" Segal (1906-1947). The future gangster was born in 1906 in Brooklyn, where he met Meyer Lansky. The nickname "Bugsy" comes from the unpredictable nature of the bandit. Segal committed many murders for Charlie Luciano, and this made himself a bunch of enemies. Unsurprisingly, in the late 30s, Bugsy fled to Los Angeles, where he managed to make many acquaintances among Hollywood stars. After the Nevada gambling law was passed, Segal borrowed millions of dollars from the Syndicate and founded the Flamingo Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, one of the city's first casinos. However, the business did not turn out to be profitable when criminal colleagues discovered that Segal had simply stolen their money and Bugsy was killed. Best of all, the image of Benjamin Segal was embodied by Warren Beatty in the 1991 film Bugsy and Armand Assante in the 1991 Married Man.
Carlo Gambino (1902-1976). The Gambino family has been part of the mafia clan for several centuries. What could Carlo have become if not a gangster? He began killing on order at the age of 19. In Italy, at this time, Mussolini began to gain strength, so Gambino emigrated to America, where his cousin, Paul Costellano, was waiting for him. Carlo consisted of contrasts, many of the criminals considered him a coward in general, there is a case when Anastasia publicly hit him for an oversight. Gambino himself preferred to look misunderstood. The 40s brought the extradition of Luciano, and Albert Anastasia took his place. However, Carlo could not come to terms with this state of affairs, and in 1957 he gave the order to kill an opponent. Vito Genovese quickly climbed to the "warm" place, planning that all the dirty work would go to Gambino. However, from the very beginning, he planned to remove a new opponent. Soon he went to prison on a trumped-up drug case. Carlo Gambino became the new boss of the family, which he kept tight-lipped until his death in 1976. Many films have been made about Gambino - 2001 "Boss of Bosses" with Al Ruchcho. Between Love and Honor, 1995, Gotti 1996 and Bonanno: The Godfather Story, 1999.
Charlie "Lucky" Luciano (1897-1962). Sicily became the birthplace of Salvatore Lucania. 9 years after his birth, in 1906, the whole family moved to the USA, to New York. Time passed, and now Charlie became a member of the Five Points gang, controlling prostitution and racketeering in Manhattan. In 1929, an attempt was made on Luciano's life, and he decided to create a National Crime Syndicate in order to protect himself from attacks of competitors. On the way to the execution of his plans, there were no special obstacles, by 1935 "Lucky" Luciano became also known as the "Boss of Bosses" not only in his city, but throughout the States. However, the police did not doze, in 1936 the gangster was sentenced to prison for a term of 30 to 50 years. However, bribes and lawyers did their job - in 1946 Charlie was released from prison, on condition that he left the country. The influence of the mafiosi was so great that during the Second World War, even the US Navy turned to him for assistance in order to help them land in Italy. Luciano died in 1962 of a heart attack. The gangster was portrayed by Christian Slater in 1991's Gangsters, Bill Graham in 1991's Bugsy, and Anthony Lapaglia in 1999's Lansky.
Al Capone (1899-1947). This gangster deservedly passes under Number One, because everyone knows his name. Alphonse Capone was born in Brooklyn to a family of Italian immigrants. After some time, the young man joined the Five Points gang, where he played the role of a bouncer. It was then that they gave Capone the nickname "Scarface". In 1919, in search of new challenges, the bandit moved to Chicago to work for Johnny Torrio. This allowed Capone to quickly move up the criminal hierarchy. During Prohibition, Capone did not hesitate to engage not only in bootlegging and gambling, but also in prostitution. In 1925, the gangster was only 26 years old, but he is already the head of the Torrey family and is not afraid to start a family war. Capone became famous not only for bombast and vanity, but also for his cruelty and intelligence. Suffice it to recall the famous massacre that took place during the celebration of Valentine's Day in 1929, during which many leaders of criminal gangs were killed. The police managed to arrest Al Capone for ... tax evasion! This was done in 1931 by Federal Tax Service agent Eliot Nass. In 1934, the gangster ended up in the famous Alcatraz prison, from where he came out 7 years later, already fatally ill with syphilis. Capone lost his influence, friends preferred to tell him fictional stories about the true state of affairs. Films about Capone have been made numerous, the most famous of them are "The Massacre on Valentine's Day" 1967 with Jason Robards, "Capone" in 1975 with Ben Gazarra and "Untouchables" with Robert De Niro in 1987.
Tony Accardo "Big Tuna" (1906-1992). Tony has been the boss of the Chicago mafia for over ten years, since the very end of World War II. At this time, his competitors left the stage - Paul Ricca went to prison, and Frank Nitti committed suicide. And he took the first roles of Accardo during the time of Capone, being at first his bodyguard. It was Tony who in 1931 became the main suspect in the murder of his boss's rival, Joe Aillo. Accardo is also credited with participating in the famous Valentine's Day massacre. After capone's capture, Tony became the right-hand man of the new boss, Frank Nitti. They say that it was Accardo who eventually managed to bring the Chicago family into the gambling business, he also "established" the racketeering of the entertainment and industry. Tony remained an influential member of the Family for a long time. When Giancana fled the country in 1966, Accardo returned to his usual leadership role. As a result, Accardo retired from business in the 80s, leaving for California. There he died on May 27, 1992.
Bernardo Provenzano (born 1933).Bernardo Provenzano was born in the small Sicilian village of Corleone, into a poor peasant family. Already in his youth, he became a member of the Corleone clan. Known for the words of the boss of the division of this clan, Luciano Ligio, that Bernardo "shoots like an angel, and thinks like a chicken." The rise of Provenzano's career dates back to 1958, when his boss's main rival was killed. The next 10 years brought Provenzano links to a dozen more crimes and murders. He was put on the wanted list, but the police did not even try to look for him for the first twenty years. Provenzano gained power and authority, eventually capturing the entire illegal business of Palermo - prostitution, arms and drug trafficking, gambling. As a result, by the end of the 1980s, the entire local Cosa Nostra passed into the hands of Bernardo and his accomplice, Salvatore Riina. Provenzano received the nicknames The Beast, Accountant and Bulldozer. The last nickname testifies to his intractability and uncompromising attitude. Although they also say that this is evidence of how he steps over people. Nevertheless, Provenzano was an excellent leader. In the early 90s, the Italian authorities declared war on the mafia, making a number of high-profile arrests. It was then that the active hunt for Provenzano began. At the time of his arrest in 2006, the police had only a 1959 photo in their hands. So Bernardo Provenzano is caught. The all-powerful Boss of the Sicilian Mafia bosses appeared as a 73-year-old man in jeans and a sweater. The verdict of the mafiosi was passed in absentia long ago, he will spend the rest of his days in prison.
Giuseppe Antonio Doto "Joe Adonis" (1906-1971). Adonis was born in 1906, near Naples. A common story at that time - the boy's family sent him to America. Giuseppe's criminal career began with the famous gangsters Frank Yal and Anthony Pisano. After Yalo's death in 1928, Adonis and friends joined the Pisano family as the most famous Neapolitans working in the criminal sphere in New York in the 20s. Adonis attended the 1929 national bootlegger deal in Atlantic City, later joining Charlie Luciano's group. Giuseppe eliminated rivals - Maceria and Salvatore Maranzano, which allowed the reorganized group led by him to take its place in the underworld. The exact place in the hierarchy of the Adonis Family remained unclear. One thing is clear - he played a prominent role in the Mangano family. As a result, Adonis was engaged in everything - racketeering, drugs, alcohol, gambling. It was Giuseppe who was responsible for the Family's relations with other groups, including non-Italian ones. Adonis was trusted, he was Frank Costello's confidant and even the arbiter of all mafia cases. In the hands of Giuseppe was the gambling business of New Jersey, at one time the mafiosi even supported Robert Kennedy himself. Died Adonis a natural death in the Italian Ancona in 1971. True, the body of the mafiosi was transported for burial in America.