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The Irishman: Meet the real Mafia muscle behind Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic

By David Amoruso for Gangsters Inc.

Martin Scorsese’s latest Mafia epic The Irishman finally hit Netflix this week and gives us 3 and a half hours of tough talking gangsters and countless infamous mob hits. Based on the confessions of Frank Sheeran, the film depicts many real-life mobsters and events. In this piece, we detail a few.

Let’s start with the man himself: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran. A tall figure who loomed over many dead bodies – first during his years fighting Nazis and later as a Mafia hitman. From his days boxing kangaroos to his rise alongside mob leader Russell Bufalino and Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, Gangsters Inc. covered it all.

Jimmy Hoffa: Hide and seek champion

Talking about James Hoffa, whatever happened to that guy? And why did he vanish? Gangsters Inc. writer Thom L. Jones wrote extensively about his disappearance and the many theories that surround this “mystery”. On that note, The Mob Museum will host an event about Hoffa’s murder on December 11, featuring journalists who have a lot to say about Sheeran’s confessions.  

Crazy Joe takes on a boss

The movie also has a side plot involving Colombo crime family soldier “Crazy Joe” Gallo taking on his superior, Joe Colombo. Gallo was seen as a rebel, but was also feared for his unpredictable and violent behavior. He was known for his toughness and loyal crew. Still, that will only get you so far. After the murder of Joseph Colombo, a man who made enemies on multiple fronts, Gallo had to be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

The king of insult comedy

Of course, there was more to Joey Gallo. He hung with artists and the Hollywood crowd. One scene in The Irishman that stands out is the one in which a comedian is making fun of Gallo and other Italian friends of ours. That comedian is the legendary Don Rickles. We detailed his meeting with Gallo and his crew in this piece. For more on Crazy Joe himself or the men behind his murder, just click the blue words.

Chomping cigars

Another New York mobster gracing us with an appearance is Genovese crime family boss “Fat Tony” Salerno. Mostly depicted as a grumpy bear constantly smoking a thick cigar, he was also known for his sense of humor. Like when he sent his troops a Christmas card making fun of fellow boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante’s crazy bathrobe act.

From Philly and Chicago to Las Vegas and Cuba

And let us not forget about Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno, who didn’t say much, but was just as deadly as he was quiet. He ran a tight ship until his murder in 1980. Then there are the mentions of Chicago mob boss “Momo” Giancana, Florida Mafia boss Santo Trafficante Jr. and New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello. La Cosa Nostra’s investments in Las Vegas and the various conspiracy stories surrounding the mob’s involvement in Cuba and its dealings with the Kennedy Family.

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