Moe Greene

Moe Greene
Moe Greene
First appearance The Godfather
Last appearance The Godfather
Created by Mario Puzo
Portrayed by Alex Rocco
Gender Male

Moe Greene is a fictional character appearing in Mario Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather and the first installment of the The Godfather trilogy of films, in which he was portrayed by actor Alex Rocco. Greene's character is heavily based on real-life gangster Bugsy Siegel.[1][2]



The Godfather

Formerly one of Murder, Inc.'s top killers, Greene is credited with helping turn Las Vegas into an international gambling and entertainment destination, bringing the interests of the world's most powerful organized crime organizations to the town. Among these is Don Vito Corleone, who bankrolled the creation of Greene's first hotel-casino. In return, Greene takes the Don's son Fredo under his wing during the war between the Five Families in New York. Although Fredo is greatly influenced by the city and Greene, family heir Michael Corleone disapproves of the effect on his brother, whom Greene abuses in public.

At a meeting with Greene, Michael expresses his disapproval and makes a stern offer to buy out Greene's entire interest in the casino as part of the Corleone's relocation to Nevada. Offended, Greene angrily refuses, claiming that the Corleones have neither the favor nor the muscle required to drive him out of the business. In the film, Greene belittles Michael's credentials as a crime boss, saying, "I'm Moe Greene. I made my bones when you were going out with cheerleaders!" In return, Michael has him murdered, although the method differs between the book and the film.

In the novel Greene is murdered by Michael's bodyguard and lieutenant Al Neri not long after the meeting in Las Vegas. On the airplane ride home Michael asks Neri, "Did you make him good?" Neri taps his head and responds, "I got Moe Greene mugged and numbered up here." Not long afterward, Neri goes to Las Vegas as the family representative at the funeral of family friend Nino Valenti. During the course of that trip, he assassinates Greene.

In the film Michael lets the matter rest until he inherits the Corleone family on his father's death. On the day of his nephew's baptism, he has Greene killed as part of his massive slaughter of the family's enemies. In one of the most famous scenes of the film, Greene is shot clean through the eye while getting a massage in one of his hotels. The method in which he is killed, where the victim is shot through the eye, came to be known as a "Moe Greene Special." In real life, Bugsy Siegel was shot twice in the head, but one bullet struck the bridge of the nose and passed behind his left eye, causing it to be blown from the socket. A widely-published photo of Siegel's body on a couch with the left eye missing and the second head wound unclear, led to the myth that he had been shot through that eye.

The Godfather: Part II

Greene's death returns to haunt Michael in The Godfather Part II, when rival Hyman Roth, formerly a partner of Greene's and a mentor to him, angrily cites his death to Michael as an example of Roth's willingness not to question or become involved with business-related killings, despite his friendship with the victim. Roth admits that Greene was hot-headed and pushed the limit too often, and that he ultimately brought on his own fate, but bemoans the fact there are no monuments or streets named after Greene despite his putting Las Vegas on the map. Nonetheless, Roth tries to eliminate Michael — first by trying to have him murdered, then by setting up a Congressional investigation into the Corleone family — in order to avenge Greene's death. Roth is unsuccessful, however, and is himself murdered on Michael's orders in the film's closing scenes.


  1. ^ "The Not-so-famous Alex Rocco". Boston Globe. November 13, 1989. Retrieved 2008-07-20. "Until this year, Alex Rocco was best known as Moe Greene, the Bugsy Siegel character who was shot in the eyeglasses at the end of "The Godfather. ..." 
  2. ^ "Snap Judgment: Betting against the odds". Jerusalem Post. January 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-20. "Moe Greene is, of course, Lansky partner Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, who spearheaded the building of Las Vegas's first luxury casino-hotel, The Flamingo, ..." 

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