Thomas Hagen
Biographical Information
Aliases Tom
Gender Male
Born 1916[1][2]
Died 1970s[3]
Affiliation Corleone family
Title(s) Consigliere
Acting Don
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Robert Duvall
"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
Vito Corleone[src]

Thomas 'Tom' Hagen was the son of Martin and Bridget Hagen and Consigliere of the Corleone family.


Thomas Hagen was the son of Martin and Bridget Hagen. Martin was a hard-working carpenter who had never done a dishonest thing in his life, but he was also a violent alcoholic. When Hagen was eleven years old, his mother Bridget caught an eye infection that resulted in blindness, and died soon after from venereal disease. Torn up with grief, his father became a hopeless drunkard and a few months later Martin Hagen drank himself to death. Hagen and his sister were stuck in an orphanage, but Hagen ran away. The sister ended up in a foster home, but the social agencies of the time did not follow up on Hagen's case. Hagen lived on the streets for more than a year.

Living with the FamilyEdit


Tom at the surprise birthday party for Vito.

Tom Hagen encountered the young Sonny Corleone and two older boys when they wandered into a dangerous alley in the Irish part of Hell's Kitchen, an alley in which Hagen was hiding. They encountered a man selling switchblades and tried to buy one. The man pulled a knife and dragged Sonny into the alley, while the other two boys ran. Hagen grabbed a board with a nail sticking out of it and brought it down on the back of the man’s head, impaling and killing him. Sonny and Hagen looked at each other and laughed nearly to the point of tears. They introduced themselves to each other, and walked away from the alley together, arms looped around each other’s shoulders. Sonny asked about the eye infection, and about Hagen’s parents. Hagen just said his mother was dead and his father was gone. Sonny took him home and persuaded his father to take him into the family. Although the Don never formally adopted him, thinking that this would have been an act of disrespect to Hagen's parents, Hagen thought of Vito Corleone as his true father. In many ways, Vito's adoption of the street urchin Hagen paralleled how Vito himself was taken in by Signor Abbandando when he was a child.

Tom became a studious young boy, going to law school in the 1930s, but he was not without his misdemeanors, sleeping with Kelly O'Rourke one night in a move that put him on Luca Brasi's hitlist. It was only due to Vito's intervention that Tom was not murdered in revenge for this action.

After graduating from law school, Hagen offered to work for Corleone as though he were one of the Don's own sons. He did so knowing full well that Vito wasn't merely an olive-oil importer, but the most powerful crime boss in the nation. Vito was more than willing to take Tom into his employ, saying that a lawyer could steal more than a phalanx of gunmen. His German-Irish ancestry precluded his formal membership in the Mafia, which did not accept non-Italians. All the same, Tom wielded immense power within the Corleone family under Vito, as he was both Vito's advocate and his most trusted advisor in most matters — his cunning and diplomacy had always been a more valuable asset than Sonny's open aggression.

Becoming ConsigliereEdit

"Mr. Corleone never asks a second favor once he's refused the first, understood?"
―Tom Hagen[src]
Tom and Vito

Tom and Vito.

However, in mid-1945, longtime consigliere Genco Abbandando became seriously ill, and Hagen was named acting consigliere. Don Corleone formally appointed Hagen to the post after Genco's death, making him the first non-Italian to achieve that important position. In the novel, it was said that Hagen's ascension to consigliere caused certain rival Mafia families to refer jokingly to the Corleones, behind their backs, as "the Irish gang".

In 1945, shortly after Connie Corleone's wedding, Hagen was dispatched by Vito Corleone to Hollywood in order to convince Jack Woltz, a big-time movie studio head, to give singer/actor Johnny Fontane (Vito's godson) the lead role in his new war film. When Woltz discovered who exactly Hagen worked for, he invited him over to his palatial estate for dinner, and showed him his prized horse, Khartoum. During the dinner, when Hagen again "suggested" that Woltz give Fontane the role, Woltz erupted at him and revealed that Johnny would never get the career-making role because of his ruination of one of Woltz's brightest up-and-coming female stars. Later on that night, men stole into Woltz's stables and Rocco Lampone decapitated Khartoum, then placed the horse's severed head and a large amount of its blood in Woltz's bed. Shortly afterwards, Johnny was given the role by Woltz.

Declining roleEdit

Tom's personal power began to decline almost immediately after the first assassination attempt on Vito, despite the fact that Sollozzo and the rival Families wanted him to remain consigliere for the Corleones. Knowing that he was very close to Sonny (who was now acting Don) they needed his diplomacy skills to convince Sonny to take the narcotics deal, as both he and Sonny had realized its' potential when Vito refused it. However, Sonny's temper caused him to ignore most of the advice Tom gave him, and initiate a costly mob war that lasted several years.

Tom Hagen

Tom as consigliere.

While he loved all the Corleones, Hagen always idolized Sonny, and when Sonny was murdered, Hagen blamed himself. He had to drink some anisette to calm his nerves before breaking the news to Vito. After Michael Corleone became operating head of the Corleone family, he removed Hagen as consigliere on his father's advice, restricting him to handling the family's legal business in Nevada, Chicago, and Los Angeles. When Tom asks why he was being removed, Michael answers by telling him he just isn't "a wartime consigliere", adding that it was no reflection on the work he had done for them in the past.

Despite his reduced role, Tom worked closely with Michael in planning the massive slaughter of the other New York dons. Immediately after Michael formally becomes the Don (following his purge of the other Families) Tom is reinstated to his former position.


"I give you complete power: over Neri... Fredo, everyone. I am trusting you with the lives of my wife and children, and the future of this family, solely resting on your judgment and talent."
Michael Corleone[src]
Tom, Michael, Senate

Tom Hagen at the Mafia hearings in 1959.

Tom remained on when Michael made the move to Nevada, albeit in a somewhat reduced role that he greatly disliked from the time it occurred before his father's death. For instance, he was excluded from the negotiations with Hyman Roth. He also made moves towards becoming a Congressman.

After an attempt on Michael's life at their Nevada compound, Hagen was appointed as acting don by Michael, a mark of deep trust. This was why Michael had to exclude him before and trusted only him at that point; he knew that Tom didn't know certain things and therefore had no reason or information to make moves against him. Hagen was instrumental in both securing the friendship of powerful Senator Patrick Geary and defending Michael during the Senate hearings on the Mafia. Following the hearing, he encouraged turncoat caporegime Frank Pentangeli to commit suicide to secure his silence, protecting Michael forever.


Tom and Michael

Tom and Michael.

The fall of Fulgencio Batista's regime in Cuba to the communists forced Michael to temporarily abandon his dream of becoming a legitimate businessman and retake his place as the Don of the Corleone family. He then reappointed Tom as consigliere. Despite considerable misgivings about Michael's vendetta with Roth, Tom helped Michael defeat Roth and his other enemies, and ushered the Corleone family as it regained its position as the most powerful crime family in the nation.

The 1960sEdit

In 1961, following the failed plot by Nick Geraci and Vincent Forlenza against the Corleones, Louie Russo invited Tom Hagen to his supper club/gambling house in rural Illinois with the intention of killing him. Russo, Hagen, a rower, and two of Russo's bodyguards went out on a gondola in his man-made lake. On the course of the trip, as part of Michael's revenge, Hagen killed one man by strangulation with his belt while the rower hit the other with his oar. Hagen then personally killed Russo on his boat, with Russo's own gun, and dumped the bodies in the lake.[4]

At the next Commission meeting, Tom was arrested under suspicion of murdering his mistress, Judy Buchanan, whose death had in fact been orchestrated by enemies of the family. This situation ruined any chance he had of a political career, despite being acquitted. During this time, he was represented by Jewish lawyer Sid Klein. Theresa left Tom for a brief while after discovering the affair, but the two reunited soon after and Theresa was present when Tom went to visit Jack Woltz later in the year.[4]

By the 1970's Tom had already died. He died before his son Andrew was ordained as a priest in Rome; Michael acknowledged his adoptive brother, stating that Tom was a 'great lawyer'.


Hagen was married to Theresa. Together they had four children: Frank, Andrew, two daughters (one named Gianna), a dachshund named Garbanzo and a border collie named Elvis. Andrew later becomes a priest and also Michael's godson, and since he is Andrew's godfather, Michael helps to get Andrew a position in the Vatican.

Death in The Godfather's RevengeEdit

In 1963, shortly before the president's assassination, while on vacation with his family in Florida, Tom was doing some business for Michael at the Deauville Hotel in Miami, after meeting with Ben Tamarkin and Senator Patrick Geary. He left and was surprised by Nick Geraci who had been hiding in the back of Tom's car and secretly following him for days. He had Tom drive to a rural, swamp filled area and then knocked him unconscious with his pistol.

When Tom came to, he realized that his hands and feet had been duct-taped together and that his car was sinking into the swamp and quickly filling with thick, brown water. While waiting for his death, Tom recalled some of his fondest memories: meeting Sonny, being taken in by the Corleone family, his wife Theresa, his two sons, and his two daughters. He died with happy memories in his mind, as the water engulfed Tom and the car totally. Though his body was never found, Michael Corleone was sent by Nick Geraci a dead baby alligator with Tom Hagen's wallet in its mouth, to imply that Tom Hagen slept with the alligators. He was 54 years old.

In video gamesEdit


Tom Hagen in The Godfather: The Game.

Tom hagen game

Tom Hagen in The Godfather II.

"The Don is a man of ragione, of reason."
―Tom Hagen to Aldo Trapani[src]

Tom Hagen appears in The Godfather: The Game, with Robert Duvall reprising his role. He is saved by Aldo Trapani after being kidnapped by Sollozzo, and serves as an advisor throughout the story.

"Consigliere just like old times."
―Tom to Dominic Corleone.

In The Godfather II, Tom Hagen becomes consigliere for the Trapani Family, after Michael is in trouble with the trial and after Aldo's death in Cuba. He is therefore added to Dominic's family tree. Tom becomes to a loyal consigliere to Dominic and is present at the Mangano Compound following the defeat of the family's enemies.

Personality and traitsEdit

Tom always tried to approach a dangerous situation with a civil outcome. He was known throughout the family as a nice guy who would help in times of need. He loved each of the Corleones and was very sad when Sonny was killed, as the two were best friends. Tom did have a temper but never really showed it as he was supposed to act calm in dangerous situations. Tom was the most intelligent of the Corleones as he had to be for a Consigliere, but was never really a fighter to begin with.


Tom Hagen is believed to be loosely based on gangsters Joseph N. Gallo, who was the Gambino crime family consigliere, and Frank DeSimone, who started his career as a lawyer, but ended up being the Los Angeles crime family boss.[5]

It is said that Mario Puzo was inspired by the shapes of the Jewish Leo Berkowitz and Alfred Polizzi's family to feature the character of Tom Hagen and his relationship with the Corleone brothers.

However, it is believed he could also be inspired by Chicago Outfit mobster Murray Humphreys.

Behind the scenesEdit

  • In The Godfather's Revenge, Tom Hagen is killed by Nick Geraci in 1964. However, the supplements disc of the Blu-ray states that Tom Hagen died somewhere in the 1970s. Additionally, Paramount has stated that it did not authorize The Godfather's Revenge, which means that his death in the novel is noncanonical.[6][7]
  • In Dean Reisner's draft of The Godfather Part III, Hagen was in his car along with his driver Fritz and Tony Adams. They were escorted by various buttonmen working for Rocco Lampone when suddenly, a shotgunner gets out from a nearby car, carrying a 12-gauge pump gun. The first hit blows Fritz's head off and the car goes out of control. The second hit kills Hagen instantly. The shotgunner then disappears and when the car crashes nearby, Rocco and several buttonmen jump out of their cars and rush to the crash site. Tony was the only survivor of this ambush.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. The original novel states that Tom was of the same age as Sonny, whose age was changed in The Godfather Part II.
  2. The Family Corleone
  3. The Godfather Supplements
  4. 4.0 4.1 In the storyline of The Godfather Returns.
  5. Cowie, Peter (1997). The Godfather Book. Faber and Faber, p. 196. ISBN 0571190111.