Mr. Corleone never asks a second favor once he's refused the first, understood?
~ Tom Hagen.

Thomas "Tom" Hagen is a supporting character in The Godfather novel and the first and second films. He is the Corleone crime family’s official lawyer, and mob boss Michael Corleone’s adoptive brother, consigliere and right-hand man.

History

Tom was the son of Martin and Bridget Hagen, and was of Irish-German ancestry. Martin was an alcoholic who abandoned Tom and his sister after Bridget died. After running away from the orphanage he was sent to, Tom, eleven at the time, became homeless on the streets of New York City. He was eventually discovered by Sonny Corleone, who brought him home and convinced his father Vito Corleone to take him in.

Vito did not ever formally adopt Hagen because he thought it would be disrespectful to Tom's parents, but he became every bit the father Tom never had, and the Corleone siblings became Tom's siblings. Tom went to law school and became a lawyer. After graduating from law school Tom entered the family business.

When Vito's original consigliere Genco Abbandando became seriously ill, Vito made Tom acting consigliere. Upon Abbandando's death Vito named Tom consigliere on a permanent basis, which was controversial due to Tom's non-Italian heritage, leading to the Corleone Family being derisively called the "Irish gang" by some.

After the assassination attempt on Vito, Tom was kidnapped by Virgil Sollozzo and asked to help Sonny see reason regarding the drug trade. Tom said he would try but not even Sonny would be able to call off Luca Brasi, not knowing that Luca was already dead. Sollozzo told Tom to let him worry about Luca.

Upon being released Tom made his way to the Corleone compound where he met with Sonny, the capos Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio, and Michael Corleone to determine the next moves. Michael left for the hospital to visit his father and was able to save Vito's life when assassins tried to kill him in his hospital bed. When Captain McClusky of the NYPD arrived he broke Michael's jaw when Michael asked him why the men guarding his father were taken away. Tom arrived with private detectives who went up to guard Vito's room and warned McClusky that if he tried to interfere he would have to go before a judge in the morning and show cause as to why they should be removed.

At a meeting following the hospital incident Michael suggested killing both Sollozzo and Captain McClusky. Sonny mocked Michael, thinking he was taking it very personally. Additionally there was a strict prohibition against killing police officers. Michael argued that since McClusky was working for Sollozzo he lost that protection. He suggested that journalists on the Corleone payroll would like a story of a corrupt police officer taken down by his Mafia allies and that it would soften the public's perception of the Corleone family. Tom agreed with him that they probably would.

Michael was able to kill both Sollozzo and McCluskey in an Italian restaurant in the Bronx. He then fled to Sicily to avoid criminal charges and the retaliation of the other crime families. Michael's girlfriend Kay tried to reach him and brought a letter for him to the Corleone compound. Tom refused to accept it since accepting it would imply that he had knowledge of where Michael was hiding.

During the war between the families Tom tried to counsel Sonny to make peace, Sonny refused on the grounds that it was showing weakness and berated Tom for not being a wartime consigliere as Genco had been. When Sonny was killed in an ambush, it was Tom who broke the news to Vito that his son was dead. Vito ordered no investigation and no acts of reprisal for Sonny's death. He further asked Tom to call the heads of the Five Families and arrange a meeting of the Commission. Tom accompanied Vito to the mortuary where Vito called in his favor with the mortician Amerigo Bonasera and asked him to do all he could to make Sonny presentable to his mother for his funeral.

Tom and Michael Corleone.

After Vito's retirement Tom was removed as consigliere by Michael Corleone, as Tom was not a wartime consigliere and Vito assumed the role of Michael's advisor. Following Vito's death, Michael relied on him again to help him enact his plan to eliminate the other Dons of New York and avenge Sonny's death.

Tom remained on when Michael made the move to Nevada, albeit in the somewhat reduced role that he disliked. For instance, he was excluded from the negotiations with Hyman Roth.

After an attempt on Michael's life at their Nevada compound, Tom was appointed as acting Don by Michael, a mark of deep trust. Michael explained that this was why Michael had to exclude him before and trusted only him at that point; he knew that Tom didn't know certain things and therefore had no motive or information to make moves against him. Hagen was instrumental in both securing the friendship of powerful Senator Patrick Geary and defending Michael as his lawyer during the Senate hearings on the Mafia.

Following the hearing, he convinced turncoat and former caporegime Frank Pentangeli to commit suicide to secure his silence, protecting Michael and the Family from his testimony forever. Michael and Tom's relationship was not without its bumps, when Tom questioned Michael's plans, he told him that if he wasn't with him, Tom could take his family and his mistress and leave. Tom asked Michael why wounded him and that he was always loyal.

Tom died sometime prior to 1979. His son Andrew was ordained to the priesthood, and due to the recommendation of Michael he was assigned to the Vatican. Michael remembered Tom fondly as a great lawyer.

Trivia

  • Tom Hagen was portrayed in the first and second films by Robert Duvall, who also portrayed Lucky Ned Pepper in the 1969 film adaptation of True Grit. Duvall also voiced Hagen in The Godfather video games.
  • Tom Hagen was originally going to return for The Godfather Part III, and the central plot was going to be a split between Tom and Michael. The character was killed off when the film's producers refused to accommodate Duvall's salary demands.
  • The supplemental materials included on The Godfather Part 3 DVD stated that Hagen died at some point during the 1970s.
  • In the continuation novel The Godfather's Revenge, Tom was murdered in 1964 by traitorous Corleone henchman Nick Geraci, who bound him up in a car which he sank in a swamp. Tom's body was never found, but Geraci sent Michael a dead baby alligator with a wallet in his mouth - a message that Tom Hagen now “slept with the alligators”. This death was considered non-canonical by Paramount as they had not authorized that novel.

Navigation

           The Godfather Logo.png Villains

The Commision
Vito Corleone | Philip Tattaglia | Emilio Barzini | Carmine Cuneo | Victor Stracci | Michael Corleone

Corleone Family
Vito Corleone | Sonny Corleone | Fredo Corleone | Michael Corleone | Connie Corleone | Vincent Corleone | Luca Brasi | Peter Clemenza | Salvatore Tessio | Tom Hagen | Al Neri | Rocco Lampone | Paulie Gatto | Willie Cicci | Frank Pentangeli | Joey Zasa | Aldo Trapani | Dominic Trapani

Tattaglia Family
Philip Tattaglia | Bruno Tattaglia | Virgil Sollozzo | Mark McCluskey | Don Altobello

Barzini Family
Emilio Barzini | Emilio Barzini Jr.

Others
Carlo Rizzi | Moe Greene | Nick Geraci | Hyman Roth | Francesco Ciccio | Don Fanucci | Johnny Ola | Licio Lucchesi | Archbishop Gilday | Frederick Keinszig

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