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Albert "Al" Neri is a fictional character appearing in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather and the three films based on it. In all three motion pictures, he is portrayed by actor Richard Bright. In the The Godfather: The Game, he is voiced by Gary Chalk. He functions as the personal bodyguard and chief assassin to Michael Corleone.

In the novel

In the novel The Godfather, Neri begins his career as a New York Citymarker policeman, where he earns a reputation for a fierce temper, quick reflexes, and tremendous physical strength. He frequently patrols with a large flashlight, which he uses to great effect, either cracking the foreheads of Italian youths who run with gangs or shattering the windshields of diplomats who show no regard for traffic laws. After his wife leaves him in fear of his temper, he kills a drug dealer and pimp by shattering his skull with the flashlight, and is convicted of manslaughter.

Tom Hagen and Pete Clemenza see in him a potential replacement for Luca Brasi, Vito Corleone's feared enforcer, and arrange for his release from prison. Michael, appealing to Neri's sense of loyalty and Sicilian roots, recruits him into Clemenza's regime, where he "makes his bones" and becomes Michael's chief lieutenant, personally performing the murders of Moe Greene and Emilio Barzini on Michael's behalf. After Salvatore Tessio is killed for attempting to betray Michael, Neri takes over as caporegime of Tessio's former regime. When Michael and his family moves to Nevadamarker, Neri becomes head of security for all hotels controlled by the Corleones.

In the film series

In the film version of The Godfather, Neri's story prior to becoming a made man is not mentioned. Following Michael's return from exile in Sicily, Neri becomes his bodyguard, accompanying him everywhere. In the famous "baptism sequence," Neri (disguised in a police officer's uniform) guns down Barzini and his bodyguards on the steps of a courthouse, much as he does in the novel. However, the murder of Greene, which occurs simultaneously, is handled by another gunman.

In The Godfather Part II, Neri is seen to be Michael's unofficial second-in-command in his operations in Nevada. Although he is given the designation of capo (along with Rocco Lampone and Frank Pentangeli) on a flowchart of the Corleone family created for the government, he does not actually command a "crew", and instead functions as more of a de facto underboss. On Michael's orders, he arranges for Senator Pat Geary, a powerful Nevada politician, to go to bed with a prostitute employed by the Corleones, then murders her so as to make Geary think he has done it in an alcoholic blackout, thus ensuring his loyalty. In the final scene of the film, Neri also personally carries out the murder of Michael's brother Fredo, under Michael's orders. While out fishing together on Lake Tahoemarker, as Fredo recites a "Hail Mary," Neri shoots him in the back of the head.

By the time of The Godfather Part III, with Michael's decision to "go legitimate" by selling off his casino interests and handing over control his rackets to former subordinate Joey Zasa, Neri continues to serve as his bodyguard, the only holdover from Michael's criminal operations. When Zasa betrays Michael and attempts to have him murdered at a meeting of the Commission in Atlantic Citymarker, it is Neri who saves Michael from an assault that kills all the other bosses still in attendance, and later helps Michael's nephew, Vincent Mancini, to plan Zasa's murder. When Michael transfers control of the family to Vincent, renaming him "Vincenzo Corleone," Neri is the first to pledge his loyalty. In the closing scenes of the film, Vincent calls upon Neri's skills one last time, sending him to infiltrate the Vatican Citymarker, where he guns down the corrupt Archbishop Gilday and tosses his body down a spiral staircase.

In other media

In the novel The Godfather's Revenge, Neri and his nephew take part in an attempt to obtain information from Nick Geraci's father. He is seriously wounded in the final shootout at the end of the novel.

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