A Tribute to Luca Brasi

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There are men in this world who go about demanding to be killed. They argue in gambling games; they jump out of their cars in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender. These people wander through the streets calling out “Kill me, kill me.” Luca Brasi was such a man. And since he wasn’t scared of death, and in fact, looked for it… I made him my weapon. Because I was the only person in the world that he truly hoped would not kill him.”―Vito Corleone

Luca Brasi is one of Don Vito Corleone’s personal enforcers in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, and played by 6-foot-6, 320-pound Lenny Montana in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 Oscar-winning film. Montana was a professional wrestler, was also an associate of the Colombo Family in the 1960’s, and had served prison time. He died of a heart attack in 1992.

Brasi is portrayed as slow-witted in the film. This is mainly due to the casting of Montana, because he was so nervous that he kept practicing his lines over and over again. Francis Ford Coppola wrote this into the script. Montana was also nervous during the scene where his character thanked the Don; Coppola also wrote this into the script. That’s how movie magic is made.

[speaking to himself, practicing his speech, while Michael and Kay walk by]
Luca Brasi: Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child. [then, starting over][delivering his speech to Vito Corleone]
Luca Brasi: Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your daughter… ‘s wedding… on the day of your daughter’s wedding. And I hope their first child be a masculine child. I pledge my ever-ending loyalty… [Playing kids run into the room and then are escorted out by Tom]
Luca Brasi: For your daughter’s bridal purse.
Vito Corleone: Thank you, Luca, my most valued friend.
Luca Brasi: Don Corleone, I’m gonna leave you now, because I know you are busy.

There is a bit more Luca dialogue in the film, but just small talk in Italian.

More on Brasi From the Book

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  • Brasi is the only man Vito Corleone fears and vice versa.
  • Brasi could commit a murder all by himself, which made conviction almost impossible. He is also known for killing six men who attempted to kill Don Corleone.
  • Years earlier, Brasi had impregnated an Irish prostitute and later murdered her. On the day of his daughter’s birth, he forced the midwife to put the child into a furnace.
  • Brasi killed two of Al Capone’s henchmen who were hired to kill Don Corleone. Brasi tied and gagged them with towels stuffed in their mouths. He then hacked one of them to pieces with an axe. When he went to finish off the other one, he found that the man had choked to death on the towel. In the movie, Michael was originally supposed to tell this to Kay at the wedding, but the dialogue was changed to tell her instead about Brasi helping Don Corleone force Les Halley to release Johnny Fontaine from his contract.
  • Brasi tried to commit suicide while in prison.
  • In The Godfather Returns, it’s said that Brasi himself killed Jack Woltz’s prized racehorse Khartoum and delivered its head into his bedroom. In the video game, however, the killers were actually Rocco Lampone and Aldo Trapani.

The Death of Brasi

Brasi is the first to die in the film, and it is quite a memorable scene. Vito Corleone instructs Brasi to ‘feel out’ rival mobster Virgil Sollozzo. But Sollozzo and his henchmen aren’t fooled. He jabs a knife in Brasi’s hand, and does this:

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We’ve already seen the film, so let’s watch the animated version from the game:

There are also funny versions of this:

That’s not the last we hear of Luca Brasi, however. More classic dialogue is to come.

0[Tessio brings in Luca Brasi's bulletproof vest, delivered with a fish inside]
Sonny: What the hell is this?
Clemenza: It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

There are two songs I found on Amazon about Luca Brasi, one called “Luca Brasi” by Urban Verbs, and the other called Like Luca Brasi by Tea Cozies.

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A Luca Brasi shirt is available at SlingShotShirts.com. I can’t imagine anyone who wants this shirt will buy anything other than double extra large, which costs an extra dollar.

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