With "The Godfather", art imitated mafia life. And vice versa.

This scene marked the young Gravano, who declared having given versions of this order several times. “I would tell people: if you open y...


This scene marked the young Gravano, who declared having given versions of this order several times. “I would tell people: if you open your mouth, if you have an opinion to do something, they will know that you are a weak link,” he said.

He has always bonded most closely with a character. “I literally see myself as Michael Corleone,” he said. “I was in the army, I came home and I went to the mafia. I followed the rules and regulations, I remained silent. I remained a father with my wife and children.

Gravano, who was so moved in his youth by a saga of mob lure, went on to play a major role in the organization’s downfall. He became a cooperating federal witness and testified against Gotti and others in exchange for a five-year prison sentence and entry into the witness protection program. Gravano blames Gotti, who has become known as “The Dapper Don”, for everything that broke down.

“Gotti, in his flamboyant way, broke every rule in the book,” he said. “He did more damage to the mafia than 10 cooperating people put together. You’ve never seen a mobster do what he did.

Benjamin Brafman, a prominent criminal defense attorney who has previously represented defendants in organized crime cases, sees “The Godfather” as a postcard from the past. “It glorified an era that I don’t think exists anymore,” he said.

Sammy the Taurus would agree. Gravano left witness protection years ago and, turning 77 this month, is sharing stories from his life in a podcast, “Our thing,” from a studio outside of Phoenix. He said he doesn’t envy what passes for today’s gangster, unrecognizable to the Corleones. But he still thinks about the movie.

“Here I am, 100 years later,” he chuckled, “still quoting ‘The Godfather’.”

Sound produced by Jack D’Isidoro.

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Newsrust - US Top News: With "The Godfather", art imitated mafia life. And vice versa.
With "The Godfather", art imitated mafia life. And vice versa.
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