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Joey Zasa

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Joey Zasa
Joey Zasa
Joe Mantegna as Joey Zasa
First appearanceThe Godfather Part III
Last appearanceThe Godfather Part III
Created byMario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola
Portrayed byJoe Mantegna
NicknameSpotlight Zasa

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Joey Zasa is a fictional character and antagonist appearing in The Godfather Part III. He was portrayed by Joe Mantegna. He is based on a composite of three real Mafia members: Joseph Colombo, Joe Gallo and John Gotti.[1]

Character overview[edit]

Zasa is a longtime member of Corleone caporegime Peter Clemenza's regime. Following the retirement of Ritchie Nobilio, who succeeded Frank Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo) after the events of The Godfather Part II, Zasa assumes control over the Corleone family business in New York City with approval from the Commission and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). Zasa is feared and, to a certain degree, respected among his peers in the New York underworld for his business acumen and utter ruthlessness. However, his flamboyance and hunger for publicity earns Michael's displeasure, especially during the 1970s when it attracts unwanted public attention to Michael's criminal past when he is attempting to rehabilitate his public image. Michael especially disapproves of Zasa's eagerness to enter the drug trade, and distances himself from him.

In the film[edit]

In The Godfather Part III, Zasa first appears at a reception honoring Michael. He gets into an argument with one of his soldiers, Vincent Mancini (Andy García), the illegitimate son of Sonny Corleone. Zasa calls Vincent a bastard in Michael's presence, prompting the enraged young man to attack Zasa. Zasa subsequently hires two assassins to kill Vincent, but Vincent quickly kills both.

Later in the film, Zasa participates in a plot to have Michael assassinated during a meeting with the various Dons in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During the meeting, Michael insults Zasa, prompting him to storm out; moments later, a helicopter containing gunmen hovers above the room and guns down nearly everyone inside. Michael escapes, but nearly every other Don is killed. The survivors make deals with Zasa.

Several days later, Michael's sister Connie (Talia Shire) gives clearance for Vincent to kill Zasa before he can take another run at Michael. Vincent assassinates Zasa in Bensonhurst during a street festival. Vincent's men and Michael's personal assassin Al Neri (disguised as members of the church procession) kill Zasa's bodyguards, while Vincent (disguised as an NYPD Mounted Patrol officer) shoots Zasa in the back three times as he attempts to escape.


  1. Perrotta, Anthony (July 20, 2015). "Q: Who is "The Godfather: Part III" character Joey Zasa based on?". Screenprism. Retrieved May 25, 2018.M

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