"They only understand one thing — that's blood. If that's what they want, then we communicate in blood."
Movie audiences are no doubt familiar with Don Vito Corleone, the mafia patriarch played by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, but may not be as aware of the Bonanno Family, one of "Five Families" of organized crime in New York, which served as the inspiration by the book on which the movie was based. Don Corleone is an amalgam of influences, but his origins are not too far from Joseph Bonanno, aka Joe Bananas, the boss of the Bonanno Family until he retired to Arizona in 1968. Bonanno was born in Sicily before permanently immigrating to America, where he joined the mafia and eventually took over for mob boss Salvatore Maranzano, making him one of the youngest bosses ever in the mafia. Bonanno's son, Bill Bonanno, later joined the "family business" despite Joseph's protestations — not unlike Corleone's son Michael, played by Al Pacino.
Bonanno's life is chronicled in Bonanno: The Youngest Godfather, based on Bonanno's autobiography A Man of Honor and his son Bill's autobiography Bound By Honor. The cast includes Martin Landau as an elder Joseph Bonanno, Edward James Olmos as Maranzano, and Robert Loggia as Don Ciccio. watch the trailer >>