Things About The Mafia We Just Learned In 2021

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Vote up the most incredible Mafia facts.

True crime stories seem to go in and out of fashion, but one thing that is always consistently in vogue within pop culture is the Mafia. With engrossing tales of family, loyalty, betrayal, and respect, people latch onto films, television shows, and news stories of real and fictional criminals with mob ties.

Many people wouldn't pay any attention to a story involving some small crime, but add an element of a family connected to the old country and suddenly things take on a whole new shade of interesting. These are some of the interesting things we learned about the Mafia in 2021.

  • The 'Boss Of All Bosses' Has Been On The Run For Nearly 30 Years, Leaving Almost No Trail
    Photo: Italian police / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    716 VOTES

    The 'Boss Of All Bosses' Has Been On The Run For Nearly 30 Years, Leaving Almost No Trail

    Matteo Messina Denaro, known as Diabolik, is the godfather of the Sicilian crime syndicate, and following the deaths of rivals in 2016 and 2017, he is the unquestioned boss of all bosses within the Mafia.

    He has been on the run from the law since 1993, yet almost no photos exist of him other than an old driver's license and a VFX composite of the now nearly 60-year-old man.

    716 votes
  • 2
    643 VOTES

    The Actor Who Played Luca Brasi In 'The Godfather' Was A Mafia Bodyguard

    Lenny Montana, who played Luca Brasi in The Godfather, was an actual mafia bodyguard who was on set with one of the mobsters sent to oversee the filming.

    Coppola cast him, but Montana was too nervous about acting with Brando and kept forgetting his lines, which was later included as a character trait.

    643 votes
  • The FBI Recruited A Mafia Enforcer To 'Interrogate' A Klansman
    Photo: Joyson Noel / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Gregory Scarpa was a capo and hitman for the Colombo crime family and claimed he was recruited by the FBI in the 1960s to use illegal interrogation methods on a member of the Ku Klux Klan to find the missing bodies of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner.

    Scarpa allegedy kidnapped a klansman, put a gun in his mouth, and forced him to reveal the spot where the three had been buried.

    747 votes
  • 4
    540 VOTES

    A Colombo Family Crime Boss Became A Motivational Speaker

    Michael "Yuppie Don" Franzese was once one of the richest mobsters in New York City. In the 1980s, Franzese - a member of the Colombo crime family - ran a racketeering operation bootlegging gasoline. It all came crashing down in 1985 when he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    However, when he got out, he decided to turn his life around and established the Breaking Out Foundation, an organization aimed at empowering young people to not make similar mistakes. He wrote Quitting the Mob in 1992 and began traveling the country to speak on college campuses about the consequence of his choice.

    540 votes
  • The 1972 hit movie The Godfather does not contain the words "mafia" or "la cosa nostra" because of a deal struck between the producer and the real Mafia.

    Joe Colombo Sr. and his son Anthony lobbied the producers of The Godfather through the Italian-American Civil Rights League to not include the word "mafia" in the final shooting script. Producers seemed to have the understanding that, should they not comply, there might be labor strikes, missing equipment, and missing cast members.

  • Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano Protected The NYC Docks During WWII
    Photo: New York Police Department / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    572 VOTES

    Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano Protected The NYC Docks During WWII

    During WWII, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano was very influential in protecting the docks of New York City and its harbors from strikes, German saboteurs, and other issues.

    In return, New York Governor (and the former public prosecutor on Luciano's case) Thomas Dewey commuted his sentence under the condition he leave the United States. Luciano returned to Italy.

    572 votes