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The Last Don (miniseries)

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The Last Don

Graeme Clifford


James T. Davis


Mario Puzo
Joyce Eliason


Danny Aiello
Joe Mantegna
Daryl Hannah
Jason Gedrick
Penelope Ann Miller
Rory Cochrane
Kirstie Alley

Music by

Angelo Badalamenti

Cinematography by

Gordon Lonsdale




United States


English and Sicilian

Followed by

The Last Don II

The Last Don was a television adaptation of the book of the same name. It was later followed by The Last Don II. It was aired in three parts in 1997. It features Danny Aiello and Joe Mantegna, both key players in The Godfather Trilogy, in prominent roles as Don Domenico Clericuzio and his nephew Joseph De Lena respectively.


Part IEdit

Don Domenico Clericuzio is one of the most powerful Mafia chieftains in the United States but his family is locked in a bitter feud with the Santadio family, who are ruthless and bloodthirsty. Worse, the Don's beloved daughter Rose Marie has fallen in love with Don Santadio's son Jimmy and asks her fathers permission to marry him, protesting that he is nothing like his brutal father and brothers. The Don refuses, even when his beloved youngest son Silvio tries to get involved on Rose Marie's behalf. Later, Silvio meets Jimmy and Rose Marie in a diner and promises to persuade the Don to allow them to marry, but he is gunned down upon his escape by Jimmy's brothers, who believed he was involved in an ambush. At the funeral, Jimmy visits Don Clericuzio at great personal risk to offer his condolences, and the Don finally grants his permission for Jimmy to wed Rose Marie, on the condition that the ceremony will take place at the Santadio compound, and the only member of Rose Marie's family present will be Joseph "Pippi" De Lena, her cousin and the family's chief assassin.

At the wedding party, the terminally ill Don Santadio grants the union his blessing, and Pippi catches the bouquet, much to Rose Marie's delight. However, when night falls, the Clericuzio brothers sneak into the compound and massacre the entire Santadio clan, with Pippi himself garotting Jimmy. Rose Marie is driven mad by the revelation, especially when she learns soon after that she is pregnant with a son, Dante. Shortly after, Pippi meets Nalene Jessup in Las Vegas and they are married, to the Don's disapproval. Nalene soon gives birth to a son, Croccifixio. The Don decides it is time for the family to beginning disappearing into legitimacy, and he puts Pippi in charge of the Xanadu Hotel in Vegas, whilst dispatching each of his sons to a legitimate trade.

Nalene soon has a second child, Claudia, but her and Pippi's marriage begins to encounter problems. Cross becomes more and more like his father, whilst his mother fears he will one day become nothing more than a killer. Meanwhile, after he tries to drown Claudia for calling him a "bastard", Rose Marie tells Dante the truth about his father, and he begins to hate the other Clericuzios, but Pippi most of all.

Pippi is sent to sort out business with Danny Fuberta, a Xanadu Hotel employee who has been short-changing the family. Fuberta tries to stall, and eventually ends up in a gunfight with Pippi, who shoots him dead, but his arrested and put on trial. Despite being found innocent, largely due to the influence of the Clericuzios, the De Lenas divorce, with Nalene taking Claudia and Pippi taking Cross, who he sends to Alfred Gronevelt in order to learn the hotel business.

Part IIEdit

As time passes, the young members begin to develop. Cross continues to work for Gronevelt, making contacts including Senator Wavven of Nevada, while his sister Claudia works in Hollywood. Dante's behaviour troubles the Don however, as he behaves like a lout, working for his uncle's construction company when he fails to show skill in the family business.


Differences from the novelEdit

A significant difference in the miniseries is that it is shown chronological order, therefore there is no twist concerning the Santadio war. Additionally, we are fully aware of the identity of Pippi's killers, unlike in the book, where it is not revealed until several chapters later. David Redfellow and Ernest Vail, both prominent characters in the book, do not appear. The role of Molly Flanders is also eliminated from the story, instead being combined with Claudia.

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