In two parts (1 Power and Blood, 2 The Fall), Corleone tells the story of Teodoro Totò Riina, a real-life godfather who was born into the same town as Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, The Godfather. Born in the Sicilian village of Corleone into a poor peasant family, Riina entered Cosa Nostra at age 26, and by age 52 he would become the leader of the Sicilian mafia, after terrorizing the Italian state for 20 years. He ordered the murder of journalists, deputies, police officers, politicians, and judges including Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino (both key players in the landmark anti-mafia Maxi Trial begun in 1986). Thanks to an informant, Riina was captured, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. In 2017 he died in jail just one day after his 87th birthday.
Corleone delivers a Shakespearean storyline about the rise and fall of a notorious villain, those who supported him, and those who tried to bring him down. Several characters, including Maxi Trial prosecutor Giuseppe Ayala and Palermitan photojournalist Letizia Battaglia, provide the narrative foundation, while Riina’s lieutenant and three of his sicarios give chilling masked testimonies. Corleone shatters the myth of the mafiosi as men of honour and shows a rogue and ruthless criminal organization that left a trail of destruction in its wake. -TG