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Unveiling the True Mafia Connection in ‘The Godfather’

Picture the late winter of 1971 when ABS Contracting, one of Russell Bufalino's cutting rooms in northeast Pennsylvania, received an unexpected and astonishing phone call. William "Big Billy" D'Elia picked up the receiver, only to be greeted by a voice claiming to be Marlon Brando, seeking to speak with Mr. Bufalino. Billy's initial assumption of a prank call quickly faded as Russell's piercing stare impelled him to pass the phone to his boss. To his astonishment, it was indeed Marlon Brando on the other end, initiating a conversation with Russell. Brando had been cast to portray Vito Corleone in the upcoming film "The Godfather," slated to commence filming in New York.

Despite initial reservations from Paramount executives, who har...

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