Gianni Franco is a Mafia boss and the secondary antagonist in the 1989 film The Punisher.
Like John Gotti, Gianni Franco is a suave, eloquent, gentlemanly, and persuasive gangster. He is also an intelligent and crafty ace schemer who doesn't think twice about killing his enemies. However, he is boundlessly warm and affectionate towards his son, and he is at his most dangerous when family is on the line.
Gianni Franco takes over the New York Mafia after its former leader is murdered by the Punisher, whose 5-year murder spree has left the New York underworld weak and disorganized. Franco's first order of business as acting don is to unite all of New York's crime families under his wing: however this dream is short-lived, as Yakuza boss Lady Tanaka steps in to seize it for herself. To ensure the American crime lords' compliance, she has their children kidnapped and threatens to sell them into slavery. This prompts the leaders to meet with Lady Tanaka again, but Franco smells a rat and declines to attend, instead setting up his own plan. His intuition saves him, as Lady Tanaka kills the other bosses at the meeting. In the meantime the Punisher, remembering he was once a daddy, too, takes it upon himself to rescue the children, but he fails to rescue Franco's son and is arrested by the police.
Franco has the Punisher sprung from jail and kidnaps his former police partner Jake Berkowitz: either the Punisher leads a raid on Lady Tanaka's headquarters and helps rescue Franco's son, or Jake dies. The Castle agrees, and he and Franco prove to be a great team as the Yakuza are summarily wiped off the face of New York. However, once Franco's son is rescued, Franco tries to kill the Punisher, as it turns out he not only wanted to rescue tommy because he cared greatly for him, but to wipe-out his Competition/rivals, the Yakuza, so his organization will remained and be the largest, by using the Punisher to help proceed the goal, and with the Punisher dead, his Son will inhibit the Crime Business beyond his death, which is also why he wants him rescued and because of this he tries to kill the punisher so he won’t kill tommy. During the final struggle, Franco is shot point blank through his bullet proof vest and dies.
Franco's son then takes the gun and threatens to kill the Punisher, but finds he does not have the nerve. The Punisher warns him to grow up to be a good man and then disappears.
- Despite being the secondary antagonist and having rivalry with the main villain, Franco had more screen time and had bigger plans than Lady Tanaka. He also served as the final antagonist to die.