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Frank "Frankie Five Angels" Pentangeli is a fictional character from the film The Godfather Part II. In the film, he was portrayed by Michael V. Gazzo, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance, which he lost to Robert De Niro, his co-star from the same film (as young Vito Corleone).

Character overview

Pentangeli is a caporegime in the Corleone family, running the family's operations in New York Citymarker while Michael (Al Pacino) and Fredo Corleone (John Cazale) are in Nevadamarker. He took over the position following the death of the previous capo, Peter Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano). Pentangeli is a very old associate and family friend, having worked with Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in the early days of their olive oil business. He now lives in Vito's former estate on Long Islandmarker.

Pentangeli's character was conceived when Castellano declined to reprise his Peter Clemenza role for The Godfather, Part II. Pentangeli's role in the plot of the film was originally intended for Clemenza's character.

In the film

Near the beginning of the story, Pentangeli approaches Michael to ask for his help in eliminating the Rosato brothers, rivals in New York, who claimed to have been promised territories by Clemenza prior to his death. Michael refuses, however, and orders Pentangeli to do nothing, as he does not want a war to interfere with an upcoming deal with Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg), who supports the Rosatos. Pentangeli takes this as an insult and leaves in anger. Later that night, Michael narrowly escapes an assassination attempt at his home.

Suspecting that Roth was behind the assassination attempt, Michael meets with Pentangeli and asks him to help take his revenge. As part of his plan, Michael insists that Pentangeli capitulate to the Rosato brothers, so that Roth will not suspect that Michael is conspiring against him. Pentangeli, preferring open warfare against Roth and the Rosatos, is again very aggravated by Michael's demand that Pentangeli give in to them. However, he reluctantly agrees to comply with Michael's wishes.

Back in New York, Pentangeli arranges a meeting with the Rosato brothers. At the meeting, Tony Rosato (Danny Aiello) ambushes Pentangeli with a garotte, telling him, "Michael Corleone says hello." A policeman passes by and the attack degenerates into a shootout in the street. Pentangeli disappears and is believed to be dead.

Later, at a congressional hearing investigating the allegations of Michael's criminal activities, Pentangeli is presented as a surprise witness by the committee. Believing that Michael ordered him to be murdered, Pentangeli has been in the custody of the FBImarker since the apparent attempt upon his life. He has told investigators, and is now prepared to testify before Congress, that Michael is the head of the most powerful Mafia family in the nation, controls virtually all gambling activity in North America and has ordered countless murders. Most damningly, Pentangeli tells investigators that Michael personally killed Captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) and Virgil Sollozzo (Al Lettieri).

Because Pentangeli's protective custody is so secure, Michael knows he will be unable to have Pentangeli killed before he testifies. Instead, Michael flies Pentangeli's brother, Vincenzo, in from Sicily, and Vincenzo accompanies Michael to the hearing at which Frank is scheduled to testify. Upon seeing his brother sitting stone-faced and silent in the hearing room, Frank recants his earlier statements, and now claims that the Corleone family is innocent of any wrongdoing. This testimony catches the congressional investigators completely off-guard and effectively derails the government's case against Michael.

After the hearing, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) visits Frank in custody. Hagen tells Frank that he did the right thing by recanting, and that if he accepts responsibility for turning on the Corleone family, Frank's own family will always be taken care of. He thanks Hagen, returns to his room, and commits suicide by slitting his wrists while taking a bath.

The finished film leaves unclear exactly what about his brother's presence motivated Frank to change his story. An early draft of the script, however, details that Vincenzo Pentangeli is himself a Mafia chieftain in Sicily.Puzo, Mario and Coppola, Francis Ford. (1973, September 24). THE GODFATHER Part Two, The Internet Movie Script Database
"PENTANGELI: Did my brother go back?
HAGEN: Yeah, but don't worry.
PENTANGELI: He's ten times tougher than me, my brother. He's old-fashioned.
HAGEN: Yeah. He wouldn't even go out to dinner. Just wanted to go home.
PENTANGELI: That's my brother. Nothing could get him away from that two mule town. He coulda been big over here — he coulda had his own Family."

Shocked that Frankie is about to betray the Corleones to government authorities, Vincenzo attends the hearing to remind Frankie that he must not break the Mafia's code of silence, Omertà.

His brother's mere presence and icy stare directed at Frankie serve as a threat that if Frankie follows through with his planned testimony, retribution will be taken against his children, who are living in Sicily under Vincenzo's guardianship.Puzo, Mario and Coppola, Francis Ford. (1973, September 24). THE GODFATHER Part Two, The Internet Movie Script Database
"MICHAEL: He said his girlfriend made a spaghetti sauce once and it was so terrible he knew he could never marry her. He set her up in a house in Jerseymarker. She had to be faithful and she had to have kids. And she did. Two, a boy and a girl. He had her checked out and watched so she couldn't cheat but the girl couldn't stand that kind of life. She begged him to let her go. He did. He gave her money and made her give up the kids. Then Frankie took them to Italy and had them brought up by his brother Vincenzo. Where he knew they'd be safe.
(Kay begins to realize.)
MICHAEL:: When he saw his brother in the hearing room, he knew what was at stake. (pause) I don't think Vincenzo would have done it. He loves the kids, too. Omertà, Kay. Honor, silence."


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