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The Don Is Dead (1973)

After his mistress is savagely beaten up a Mafia leader goes after the killer with a bloody vengeance. Soon after the hunt begins, a gang war ensues.


Richard Fleischer


Marvin H. Albert (novel), Christopher Trumbo (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Quinn ... Don Angelo DiMorra
Frederic Forrest ... Tony Fargo
Robert Forster ... Frank Regalbuto
Al Lettieri ... Vince Fargo
Angel Tompkins ... Ruby Dunne
Charles Cioffi ... Luigi Orlando
Jo Anne Meredith Jo Anne Meredith ... Marie
Barry Russo ... Don Aggimio Bernardo (as J. Duke Russo)
Louis Zorich ... Mitch DiMorra
Anthony Charnota Anthony Charnota ... Johnny Tresca
Ina Balin ... Nella
Joe Santos ... Joe Lucci
Frank DeKova ... Giunta (as Frank de Kova)
Abe Vigoda ... Don Talusso
Victor Argo ... Augie the Horse


After his mistress is savagely beaten up a Mafia leader goes after the killer with a bloody vengeance. Soon after the hunt begins, a gang war ensues.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Power built an empire. Passion destroyed it. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

14 November 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beautiful But Deadly See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Wallis Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film was the 107th screen appearance of lead actor Anthony Quinn according to publicity for the movie. See more »


The Eyes of Love
Written by Quincy Jones
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User Reviews

Shame and scandal in Don's Family!
30 November 2018 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

"The Don is Dead" - the title alone is worth the price of the purchase - is too often downgraded as a quick and inferior attempt to cash in on the tremendous success of Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather"; released the year before. Let me tell you, the problem doesn't lie with this perfectly enjoyable and competently made Mafia saga. The problem merely is that "The Godfather" is insanely popular and too many avid fans will bash and boycott everything that even remotely resembles their preciously favorite milestone. Popular cinematic ideas are reproduced and often even get blatantly copied, that is a fact. This doesn't mean, however, that nothing good comes out of the giant stream of imitations! Italian exploitation, for example, is my personal favorite type of cinema and that genre exists for 99% out of shameless knock-offs and stolen ideas. Regardless of what you mean read, "The Don is Dead" remains an excellent drama/thriller with an absorbing plot, splendid performances from a great cast and steady direction from the underrated Richard Fleisher. Following the death of a highly respected Don, representatives of three Mafiosi clans gather to re-divide the Las Vegas territory. The slimy Luigi Orlanda and his mistress see this as an opportunity to double-cross the others and raise a destructive gang war. They manipulate for the powerful Don Angelo DiMorra to fall in love with the girlfriend of his own protégé stepson Frank Regalbuto and things rapidly escalate into deceit, executions and mass-retaliation. The story is good, and Fleisher effortlessly finds the right balance between talky sequences and exciting action footage. There are some delightful execution-highlights, like set in a barbershop or a laundry salon. Anthony Quinn gives a fine performance, although clearly modeled after Marlon Brando - I admit, and "young" actors Frederic Forrest and Robert Forster are also very impressive.

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