Lucky Luciano (film)

Lucky Luciano is a 1973 crime film about the Sicilian-American gangster Charles “Lucky” Luciano, played by Gian Maria Volonté. It is directed by Francesco Rosi, and written by Rosi, Tonino Guerra, Lino Iannuzzi, and Jerome Chodorov.[1][2] The cast also stars Rod Steiger, Vincent Gardenia, Charles Cioffi, and Edmond O'Brien.[3] Charles Siragusa, the real-life federal narcotics agent who pursued Luciano, plays himself in the film and also served as technical consultant.[4] The film is a French and Italian co-production,[5] filmed on-location in Italy and New York City.

Lucky Luciano
Lucky Luciano FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byFrancesco Rosi
Produced byFranco Cristaldi
Screenplay byFrancesco Rosi
Lino Iannuzzi
Tonino Guerra
Jerome Chodorov
Story byFrancesco Rosi
StarringGian Maria Volonté
Rod Steiger
Edmond O'Brien
Charles Siragusa
Vincent Gardenia
Charles Cioffi
Silverio Blasi
Narrated byP. M. Pasinetti
Music byPiero Piccioni
CinematographyPasqualino De Santis
Edited byRuggero Mastroianni
Vides Cinematografica
Les Films de la Boétie
Harbor Productions
Distributed byTitanus Distribuzione (Italy)
AVCO Embassy Pictures (US)
Release date
  • October 10, 1973 (1973-10-10) (Italy)
  • October 31, 1973 (1973-10-31) (France)
  • July 24, 1974 (1974-07-24) (US)
Running time
105 minutes

Lucky Luciano was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[6]


Born in Sicily as Salvatore Lucania, Charles “Lucky” Luciano rises to become “the boss of all bosses” of the American Mafia in the 1930s by eliminating his rivals for power. When eventually imprisoned, Luciano eventually secures his release by offering his services to military intelligence during World War II, receiving a commutation from New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey and subsequently being deported to Italy.

Settling in Naples, Luciano takes control of the underground drug trade, managing to avoid prosecution through the use of proxies, covertly running his operation out of a race track. Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent Charles Siragusa is assigned to bring down Luciano, managing to turn his associate Gene Giannini informant. Giannini tries to lure Luciano out of the country to Marseilles, but Luciano refuses to talk business.

When Giannini fails to get Siragusa the results he wants, he allows the informant to spend a year in an Italian jail for carrying counterfeit currency. Giannini attempts to contact Siragusa by sending letters through his mistress, but she’s begun an affair with Luciano who reads their contents and learns of his friend’s double-dealing. Siragusa sends Giannini back to the United States to testify against Luciano, but he’s assassinated on Luciano’s orders before he can do so. Siragusa’s superiors order him to halt his investigation. He accuses them of trying to cover for Dewey, claiming that he only commuted Luciano after the mobster bribed him, though they deny it.

By 1962, dozens of Luciano’s associates in the drug trade have been arrested. The Italian authorities detain him and reveal they’ve discovered his smuggling scheme. Under immense stress, Luciano falls ill but seemingly recovers. Police tail him to the airport where he is to meet with a filmmaker writing a screenplay about his life, but he suffers a fatal heart attack and dies.


Like Rosi’s previous film The Mattei Affair, the film is presented in a docudrama style representing Rosi’s notion of cine-inchieste (film investigation), avoiding the personal aspects of the biopic or gangster genre and focusing on the researched facts of Luciano’s life and activities, and their broader implications.[7][8]



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Vivarelli, Nick; Vivarelli, Nick (2012-03-21). "Italo screenwriter Tonino Guerra dies". Variety. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  2. ^ "Jerome Chodorov – Screenwriter". Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2011-06-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Lucky Luciano". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  5. ^ a b "LUCKY LUCIANO (1973)". BFI. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  6. ^ "Cannes Classics 2013 line-up unveiled". Screen Daily. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
  7. ^ "The Forgotten: Francesco Rosi's "Lucky Luciano" (1973)". MUBI. Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  8. ^ Cinescope (2015-06-09). "Viewing Diary: Lucky Luciano (Francesco Rosi, 1973)". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  9. ^ Piva, Manlio (2001). "P.M. PASINETTI: ALCUNE IMMAGINI DI REPERTORIO". Studi Novecenteschi. 28 (61): 221–241. ISSN 0303-4615.

External linksEdit