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Lucky Luciano (1973)

Biopic of Mafia boss Lucky Luciano, covering his life from 1946 to 1962 with occasional flashbacks.



(English adaptation), | 3 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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The story follows the history of Charles "Lucky Luciano" who rose to power in the Mafia in the U.S. during the 1920s and made it into a successful venture based on the corporate model. The ... See full summary »



Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles 'Lucky' Luciano
Colonel Charles Poletti
Silverio Blasi ...
Italian Captain
Vito Genovese
Judge Herlands
Dino Curcio ...
Don Ciccio
Jacques Monod
Karin Petersen ...
Igea Lissoni
Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger (as Edmund O'Brien)
Charles Siragusa ...
Gene Giannini
Pier Maria Pasinetti ...
(as P.M. Pasinetti)
Luigi Infantino
Carlo Mazzarella ...
Radio Journalist


Lucky Luciano is one of the bosses of the Mafia. He orders the slaughter of 40 other responsibles, therefore becoming the only boss. But a few years later he is put into jail. In 1946, he got a pardon and is sent back to Sicilia. There, he begins becoming one of the chief of the Mafia. The US Army seems to refrain from interfering... Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The detailed account of the world's most powerful gangster who built an empire on a sea of blood. See more »


Biography | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »



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Release Date:

November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den stora slakten  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This French-Italian co-production cast American actors Rod Steiger and Vincent Gardenia who had been frequently cast in the past playing New York heavy tough guy characters in Hollywood movies. See more »


When Lucky Luciano is deported in the mid-Forties, far more modern buildings can be seen on the New York skyline. See more »


Referenced in Unico - Francesco Rosi racconta Gian Maria Volonté (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

A film almost unknown but for lovers of this genre.
7 January 2013 | by See all my reviews

New York, February 11, 1946. The gangster Lucky Luciano, primarily responsible, in the 30s, the bloody confrontations between various mafia gangs, is removed from the United States. Initially sentenced to 35 years in prison, the sentence was reduced to only nine for the services provided to the U.S. Army. Back in Italy, Sicily quickly transformed the world center of heroin trafficking. But the Department of Narcotics, headed by Charles Siragusa, try to dismantle the criminal operations of Lucky Luciano.

"Lucky Luciano" is a very interesting and documentary film director Francesco Rosi always committed, who had already addressed the mafia-criminal phenomenon in its previous "Salvatore Giuliano" 1962. This time it focuses on the figure of one of the most important and decisive mobsters in history, Salvatore Lucania, alias "Lucky Luciano".

Francesco Rosi prefers to focus on the more bureaucratic and commercial side of the underworld, in their fight against narcotics investigations department or its collaboration with the major powers of society (political, military or ecclesiastical), hence the absence of any drama that diverted to film his main intention: the complaint. And this director, the most popular author of political cinema in the 60s and much of the 70s, attempted to make the flow of power in contemporary society in the name of organized crime. This is his great success, but also the factor that makes much of the public to reject the film.

It is little known that "Lucky Luciano", as the film shows in detail, was the great modernizer of criminal business in the U.S., can be said that the "Cosa Nostra" is a gangster holding one side of Atlantic and with bases in New York and Sicily, and is his work. Rosi's film tries to show, at all times, Luciano countless connections with the world and its political, economic and even military.

The film develops a nonlinear narrative, drawn from various times in the course of "Luciano" ": his rise to power through murder of his predecessors, his release from prison to Italy (in payment for his services to the U.S. intelligence during the Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II), the "mafia summit" at the Hotel Delle Palme in Palermo, etc. This structure provides a documentary tone to the film, and yet it does not affect too much to the work and intensity of the performances, quite correct, with Gian Maria Volonte effective at the head. toggles the voice-over, which frames the events in context, with the dialogues of the characters, while not brilliant either are superfluous or inappropriate.

The photography, by Pasqualino De Santis, is accurate and consistent. Yes it may be a drawback that the film requires you to be enjoyed fully, some prior knowledge about "Luciano" and the historical circumstances in which it moves, because in the opposite case, it is easy to get lost in the fragmentation of the narrative.

We, therefore, before a film with historical reconstruction effort, to which is added a didactic and accuser will feature director who is one of the best specialists in a political film. Apart from showing the gripping story of Luciano (which actually surpasses all fiction), the objective of Rosi seems to point more to the political class, whether Italian or American, which is accused of using the Mafia to his advantage, sometimes as an enemy to be destroyed, and others like his friend hidden that must be tolerated in return for his favors and services. As Rosi made Luciano to say in the interview, that's what interests them all, "police, politicians, military ... in the assurance that normal people do not know anything, not even notice anything." The film is irreproachable in its message, and good conduct, except for some typical tics of the time as the "zooms" or telephoto shots. The setting is extraordinary, and the interpretations are correct. All this is the result of an exhaustive documentation, which is another of the strengths of the film.

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