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The Irishman | Angelo Bruno | The Reel Story

The Irishman | Angelo Bruno | The Reel Story

Angelo Bruno was a different kind of
mobster using his brains and his diplomacy he would rise through the
ranks of the South Philadelphia underworld known as the docile Don he
was at the top of his game but in the mean streets of South Philadelphia the
seeds of treachery and betrayal had been planted and it would end in one of the
most famous mob hits ever this is TheReelmMob story of Angelo Bruno Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia
this is the site of one of the most notorious mob assassinations to have
ever taken place number nine thirty four was the home of
Angelo Bruno reputed mob boss of Philadelphia a young Sicilian hood
called John Stanfa sat in a parked car next to his boss Angelo Bruno it was
here that on a rainy night on March 21st 1980 that Angelo Bruno the Godfather of
the city would meet his end Bruno was the victim of one of the
boldest mob assassinations for years it was an unfortunate end for a man who
would rule the Philadelphia underworld with diplomacy rather than violence
[Music] Angelo Bruno was born in Villalba Sicily
in 1910 and was given the name Angelo Annaloro He later changed an Annaloro
for Bruno after his paternal grandmother’s surname. He arrived in the
U.S. in the early 1920s settling in South Philadelphia. He helped his father
at his grocery store he ran until 1922 at the age of 12 he entered school but
only stayed in education for a few years before dropping out to open his own
store at 8th and Annin street in Passyunk square it was around this time
that he would meet Salvatore Sabella who was the boss of the Philadelphia
criminal underworld at the time Sabella saw potential in the young
Angelo Bruno and put the young Sicilian to work in the criminal rackets under
his protection. This would mark the beginning of Bruno’s education in
traditional mob rackets such as bookmaking gambling and prostitution. During his time bootlegging liquor Bruno
became friends with the fellow Sicilian The man was small in stature and had a
distinctive hooked nose the Sicilian hood was older than Bruno
but the two had a mutual respect for one another
they developed a close relationship one that would serve Bruno well in the
decades to come. [Music]
In 1931 Bruno was officially inducted into La Cosa Nostra and became a made
man in the Philadelphia family. Now a wise guy Bruno had access to a criminal
network that spanned the United States and Europe the young ambitious Bruno
would make the most of this in the decades to follow around the same time
John Avena was appointed boss of Philadelphia
however in 1936 he was shot and killed during a period of friction in the
Philadelphia underworld. Joe Ida replaced him his boss up until 1959 when he
decided to retire as leader and return to Sicily. He had a choice whether to
make Angelo Bruno or another mobster by the name of Antonio Mr. Miggs Polina
boss. He decided on Polina a choice that would be undone in the months to follow
Polina was worried about Bruno. Bruno had the popularity amongst the men as he was
well respected and a good earner although Bruno had no ambitions to seize
power Polina thought otherwise and decided to eliminate him. Luckily for
Bruno he’d got wind of the plan and went to seek the help of his old friend from
his bootlegging days his small hooked nose Sicilian friend was now a major
player in the New York underworld through a series of Machiavellian master
strokes he’d risen through the ranks to take over one of the city’s crime
families which now bore his name his friend was none other than the feared
Carlo Gambino. Gambino reassured Bruno that no one would make a move against
him and fixed it so that Polina would step aside
allowing Bruno to take the official reins of Philadelphia. A move that now
empowered Gambino as he now had proxy control over Philadelphia after Bruno
took power Gambino asked if Bruno needed Polina to
be whacked Bruno politely declined the offer. In a
shrewd move Bruno understood that if he murdered him Polina loyalists would take
revenge so he opted for peace. He allowed the demoted Polina to live and continue
his activities During the 1960s and early 70s there was
relative peace in the Philadelphia underworld
Bruno expanded his operations as further afield as London England where he worked
closely with the notorious Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie. He was also introduced
to a man by the name of Wilf Pine an English gangster who had a close
friendship with Joey Pagano a captain in the Genovese family. Pine would regularly
deliver messages between the Genovese family and Philadelphia. Pine was
instrumental and being the link between the Italian-American organized crime and
the criminal rackets in London. In 1976 Angelo received devastating news his
longtime friend and business partner Carlo Gambino had died. Before his death
Gambino appointed his nephew Paul big Paul Castellano as head of the Gambino
family. Bruno would maintain continuity in the close relationship with the
Gambino’s. The mid-1970s saw a change in culture throughout the U.S. especially
with new drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine which were spreading in
popularity. Mobsters across the country saw an opportunity to get into the
lucrative markets Philadelphia mobsters were no exception
they revelled at the thought of making huge profits.
Bruno however had different ideas he banned any members of the Philadelphia
family to deal in narcotics. The general rule in the mob was that drugs were not
permitted as they carried heavy criminal sentences however not everyone followed
the rules Bruno allowed cousins of his close
friend Carlo Gambino control of narcotics territory and took a slice of
the profits the double standard on drugs annoyed many members of his organization
who felt that they weren’t being given the opportunity to earn. Fuel was added
to the fire in 1977 when Atlantic City passed a law permitting gambling.
Bruno welcomed the New York families in to take a piece of the action
whilst cutting out members of his own organization South Philadelphia mobster
Phil ‘the chicken man’ Testa the underboss of the family was particularly
unhappy. Testa was a blue-collar gangster whereas Angelo Bruno was a racketeer and
white-collar mobster both of them based their businesses around South
Philadelphia and they had differing opinions and how it should be run, it was
the start of growing tensions between the two personalities.
Bruno’s grip on power started to slip the docile Don had trouble looming
elsewhere. Consigliere Antonio ‘Tony bananas’ Caponigro led the New Jersey
faction of the organization and he was particularly dissatisfied with Bruno’s
stance on narcotics. Caponigro sought to take the throne from Bruno as he wanted
to expand his narcotics operations he’d been secretly running unbeknownst
to Bruno. He was being encouraged by a lieutenant of his named Ralph ‘Blackie’
Nepoli to make a bid for power against Bruno. Blackie had a strong relationship
with the Genovese family through their emissary Louis ‘Bobby’ Manna as they had
both done prison time together in garden state correctional facility in Yardville New Jersey Bobby Manna had strong influence with
the top administration of the Genovese family.
Blackie Napoli knew that if Caponigro made a move against Bruno that the
Commission the ruling body of the mob would mark him for death thus giving
Blackie Napoli and the Genovese family control over lucrative North Jersey
territory the seeds of treachery had been planted. The plan began to bear
fruit when Caponigro made a visit to New York
to see if he had support for such a move. He met with a feared Brooklyn mob
heavyweight by the name of Frank ‘Funzi’ Tieri. Tieri was considered by
many to be boss of the Genovese crime family at the time however the Genovese
family was secretly controlled by a man named Vincent ‘the chin’ Gigante a move
designed to cause confusion in law enforcement circles. Caponigro explained
the situation to Tieri he told Caponigro that if anything was
to happen to Bruno that he Caponigro had the blessing of the Commission. Meanwhile
Bruno was losing support from the Atlantic City faction of his
organization. A long time Bruno lieutenant named Nicodemo ‘Little Nicky’
Scarfo was upset with Bruno. A year earlier sensing there may be a power
struggle between him and Phil Testa Bruno asked Nicky who he’d side with if
there was a war little Nicky told Bruno una familia
meaning one family he basically turned Brunos requests down. Nicky knew Bruno’s
enemies were lining up against him and didn’t want to be on the wrong side.
Months later Bruno turned down Scarfo’s request for a
union contract deal to build new casinos it was basically punishment for not
having Scarfos support in a possible intra-family war. As the new decade
started tensions were mounting on the streets of South Philadelphia. Caponigro
now with the backing of Brooklyn gangster Funzi Tieri assembled his crew
of conspirators consisting of Frank ‘the Barracuda’ Sindone, John Stanfa and
brother-in-law Alfred Salerno. On the night of March
21st 1980 Stanfa drove Bruno to his home after visiting cous restaurant
owned by a Caponigro lieutenant. Bruno’s normal driver Raymond ‘Long John’
Martorano was conveniently unavailable on the
night. Stanfa parked the car outside of Bruno’s home at the corner of 10th
Street and Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia. As the two chatted in the
car Stanfa lowered the
passenger side window allowing Bruno to discard his cigarette.
It would be the last thing Bruno ever did as it was then that a man approached
the passenger side of the vehicle and blasted Bruno in his right ear with a
shotgun. Bruno died instantly and Stanfa left
the scene. It was the end of the docile Don Angelo Bruno and the end of what
would be known as a peaceful period in the Philadelphia underworld. A few weeks
later Caponigro was summoned to New York by the Genovese leadership he thought he
was going to be officially appointed the boss of Philadelphia. He was wrong.
Caponigro was led down to the basement of the
Triangle social club in Greenwich Village Manhattan. A panel of individuals
sat behind a table in a darkly lit room there was cigar chomping Anthony Fat Tony
Salerno, Genovese emissary Bobby Manna, mob old-timer Frank ‘Funzi’ Tieri and
the supreme leader of the Genovese family himself Vincent ‘the chin’ Gigante.
Gigante asked Caponigro ‘We’re here to find out who gave you the permission to
whack out your boss Angelo Bruno can you tell us?’ Caponigro looked at Tieri and
Tieri shot a look back at him stoned faced. Caponigro said ‘Funzi told me I
had the okay that the Commission approved the hit.’ Gigante replied
‘Frank what’s he talking about?’ Tieri replied ‘I told you to straighten it out
not to kill him!’ It was then that the penny dropped. Caponigro realized he’d
been double-crossed by Tieri and as he started to plead for his life Genovese
enforcers appeared from the shadows and started beating Caponigro to death.
It was a violent end for the ambitious Caponigro his brother-in-law
Alfred Salerno who was waiting in a nearby restaurant was summoned to the
club on the rouse that Caponigro had asked for him he too was violently
beaten to death their bodies would later be found in the trunk of a car
with dollar bills found stuffed into all orifices of their bodies, a Sicilian
message that their greed is what got them killed.
The cunning Funzi Tieri and the Genovese administration had achieved their
objective of taking control of lucrative New Jersey operations and having proxy
control over Philadelphia. The Philadelphia underworld would never be
the same. Angelo Bruno the docile Don would be
remembered for being a peaceful leader one who would prefer to use non violent
methods to keep control of his family. In the final years it was his poor judgment
and inability to resolve the growing discord within his own family that would
lead to his ultimate downfall. [Music] [Music]

37 comments on “The Irishman | Angelo Bruno | The Reel Story

  1. I hope you like this new documentary, please do like share and subscribe if you enjoyed it, and please do let me know what parts you enjoyed the most. Thanks 🙂

  2. True story. In 1979 I was stationed at Naval Hospital as a Marine with the Marine Liasion office. My friend and I went to this restaurant and we were dressed in our dress blue uniform and sure as the sun shines Mr Bruno was in there and he came by our table and thank us for our service and paid for our meal. We didn't know who the hell he was we thought he owned the restaurant it was our waiter who told us who he was. But I remember him as clear as day even his face and his was very dapper. So you could imagine how I felt when in 1980 which was about 6 months after we met him that night. That I saw him on the daily news front page in a car with his head blown. I had a tear I remembered him paying for our meal. I also saw Phil Testa Jr about 4 months before his murder. I was in Center City Philadelphia and he was in a limo outside the Girard Building.

  3. I grew up 2 blocks from bruno's home I was not born yet he died in 80 I was born in 82 and as I grew up I learn about him from neighbors he was a very nice man a great man in the neighborhood shame he got killed heard alot from many people he was a people person would help anyone out

  4. South philly born and raised and still remember the craziness on Broad Street after the shooting
    By the way Passyunk prounounced Pash -unk
    Otherwise-great stuff you have here

  5. Carlo Gambino the last real Gangster a true G never did a day in prison never caught talking on any tapes and died of natural causes

  6. Good documentary made strictly on bruno
    I wonder though could his appearance in the Irishman that inspired this documentary

  7. I enjoyed the documentary, just a bit short can u make it longer, love the part when you start saying how he rised to power, can u do Felix "Skinny Razor" DeTullio: Philadelphia and Atlantic City Mafia Enforcer and Loan Shark,

  8. I have no proof of this, it’s just my opinion but, the evening Bruno got killed, his regular driver wasn’t chauffeuring him around that night. John Stanfa was his driver. Usually, when these guys bump each other off, during the hit, they take out the bodyguard too, just like when they bumped off Big Paul Castellano. Well, my theory is Stanfa had to of known about the hit. Normally, the body guard/driver would of took out his rod and start shooting back, or get shot too; that didn’t happen with the Bruno hit. So when Bruno gets clipped by Tony Caponigro, you mean to tell me John Stanfa just walks away? There is more to this story. I believe Stanfa was involved.

  9. Lucky was smuggling heroine from day one in power yet we grew up thinking they left that stuff alone. Lot of double standards with that which led to a lot of wars. Amazing to,me that Bruno knew the Cray brothers

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