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|“||What guarantees can I give you, Mike? I am the hunted one. I missed my chance. You think too much of me, kid. I am not that clever.||„|
|~ Sollozzo to Michael Corleone at the restaurant.|
|“||Don Corleone, I need a man who has powerful friends. I need a million dollars in cash. I need, Don Corleone, those politicians you carry in your pocket, like so many nickels and dimes.||„|
|~ Sollozzo to Don Vito Corleone.|
|“||I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense.||„|
|~ Sollozzo to Tom Hagen.|
Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo is a fictional character and the secondary antagonist in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather and its 1972 film adaptation of the same name. In the novel, it is said that he got his nickname because he has a nose like a Turkish scimitar. He also has a Turkish wife and children and does much of his business (growing opium) in Turkey.
In the film adaptation, he was portrayed by the late Al Lettieri. In the film-based video game of the same name, he was voiced by Richard Newman.
Known as the Turk because he had a nose like a Turkish scimitar, Sollozzo gained a reputation as a powerful drug lord, with poppy fields in Turkey and labs in Sicily and Marsellis. He also had a Turkish wife, and did a great deal of business in Turkey. Before World War II, he was involved in prostitution. He was seen as an ideal associate who would provide money for a family and not leak information to the police if he was caught, provided his wife and kids back in Turkey were taken care of. He began to make contacts in the 1930s and was seen at the Five Families' meeting after the death of Giuseppe Mariposa in 1934.
Becoming Crime Lord, Rise and Making Deals
Sollozzo arrives in New York and enlists the aid of the Tattaglia family for his new heroin business. He then goes to the Corleone Family to obtain money and protection from the police and courts. Don Vito Corleone refuses, however, stating that the drug business would cost him his political connections.
Sollozzo, realizing that Vito's eldest son and Corleone family underboss Sonny would be more receptive to the heroin trade, decides to murder Vito so Sonny could take over the family. At the same time, he abducts Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen and tells him to convince Sonny that he should accept the original deal and forego vengeance for his father's death. Hagen promises to calm Sonny down but warns of an inevitable reprisal by Luca Brasi, Vito's fanatically loyal bodyguard and hitman. Unbeknownst to Hagen, however, Sollozzo had anticipated this and already killed Brasi.
Following his meeting with Hagen, Sollozzo learns that Vito is still alive. He sends agents to the hospital to again try to kill Vito after first having Mark McCluskey, a police captain in Sollozzo's pocket, arrest Salvatore Tessio's men who are protecting Don Corleone at the hospital and pull the police guards outside Don's hospital room to other duty. But the plans fall through after Vito's youngest son Michael arrives at the scene, finds all the guards gone, suspects that Sollozzo is about to make another assassination attempt, and is able to save his father. He tricks the assassins into thinking that he is guarding the Don, and the stir up eventually ends with McCluskey being summoned. McCluskey confronts Michael and punches him, breaking his jaw.
Soon thereafter, Sollozzo seeks a meeting with Michael to resolve the hostilities with secretly another attempt to end Vito's life. Under McCluskey's personal protection, Sollozzo meets with Michael in a restaurant. Although Michael is frisked before the meeting, a revolver had been planted behind the overhead tank of a toilet in the lavatory of the restaurant. Michael excuses himself and goes to the bathroom to retrieve the revolver. When he returns, he draws the gun and shoots Sollozzo in the forehead, killing him instantly, and kills McCluskey seconds later.
Sollozzo is a patient and methodical person who prefers to mastermind things from behind the scenes, but is also willing to get his hands dirty. He is also a manipulative, intelligent and cunning individual, understanding the success that could be made from drugs but also the need to have powerful allies such as Vito Corleone and Emilio Barzini.
Despite all of his brutality, he is a loving husband father, and he would only work with people who would guarantee to provide for his family should anything happen to him.
InThe Godfather: The Video Game
In the game, Sollozzo buys a warehouse in Midtown and begins drugs fronts in each of New York City districts. After the incident at the hospital, Sonny Corleone orders a series of crackdowns upon Sollozzo's business, which sees the destruction of his warehouse and drug fronts located in derelict buildings across the city.
During his assassination at Louis' Restaurant, the game's protagonist Aldo Trapani is present. There are some minor differences, such as the fact that Michael shoots Sollozzo twice as he was instructed instead of deviating from the plan. Also, there is only one other person in the restaurant, which stays true to the novel.
Virgil Sollozzo is loosely based on Vito Genovese, who had set up a narcotics network to import heroin into the US from Italy. Sollozzo could also be inspired by Vincent Papa, who was a major narcotics trafficker and a key figure of the French Connection in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Papa was closely associated with the Lucchese crime family. His "crew" included many heavy hitters at heroin distributions such as Johnny Dio, Anthony Loria, Virgil Alessi and Louis Cirillo. However, it was unknown whether Mario Puzo was already aware of Papa and his crew when he wrote The Godfather.
- Sollozzo's murder scene is a reference to the murder of real-life mob boss Joe Masseria. The latter was killed at a restaurant in Coney Island as he had a meeting with his top lieutenant, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who arranged the assassination. Shortly after Luciano went to the bathroom, four gunmen arrived and shot Masseria dead.
- In Puzo's novel, Sollozzo has a boss of his own. Sollozzo's operations in Sicily suggest that he is a member of the Sicilian Mafia.
- At the novel, he is mentioned in the Italian form; Virgiliano Sollozzo. In the rest of the narrative, he is commonly called by the English form as in the film; Virgil.
- In the movie, he is depicted as being thin; in the novel, he is described as physically "broad".