The Real Life Gangster Behind Frankie (& Why He Was Killed)

Goodfellas tells a true story but with some major changes to the names of most of the characters and their stories as well, including those of Frankie Carbone, whose death is one of the few shown on screen – but who was the real Frankie Carbone and why was he killed? The gangster genre is one of the most popular ones, and one of the biggest names in this realm is that of Martin Scorsese, who has contributed a lot to it with a couple of movies that are now considered classics. However, the one that is often regarded as his best – both in the gangster genre and in general – is Goodfellas.

Released in 1990, Goodfellas is based on the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi and chronicles the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) – from his days as a teenager fascinated by the mafia presence in his neighborhood to his involvement with the Lucchese crime family, starting by running errands for Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino) and his crew, to becoming a proper member of the crew and later an FBI informant. During his time in the mob, Henry became acquainted with various big names, most notably Jimmy “The Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci), and there were many others who were minor characters but got some attention as they were part of the Lufthansa heist crew, such as Frankie Carbone (Frank Sivero).

Related: Goodfellas: How Henry Subtly Teased The Death Of Frankie

Goodfellas is packed with memorable scenes, and among those is a continuous shot at the lounge the crew used to hang out at and in which Henry introduces the audience to some of the crew members, among those Frankie Carbone. Carbone appears in other scenes but has no lines, and his biggest moments in Goodfellas are those related to the Lufthansa heist. Unfortunately, Carbone was one of the many crew members that were killed by Jimmy in an effort to cover their tracks, and he was found frozen in a meat truck. Frankie Carbone was based on real-life mobster Angelo Sepe, and his death wasn’t like the one shown in Goodfellas.

Angelo Sepe was part of Burke’s crew for the Lufthansa heist and was also killed but not under Burke’s orders. In Goodfellas, Jimmy ordered the crew not to spend the money right away as that would catch the police’s attention and lead them to them, but many of them didn’t listen, including Carbone, who bought a coat for his wife. Angelo Sepe was a very close friend of Tommy DeSimone (DeVito in Goodfellas), Tony Rodriguez, and Burke, and was one of their most loyal and trustworthy friends, to the point where he was responsible for most of the murders ordered by Burke to cover their tracks. Sepe (along with his girlfriend, Joanna Lombardo) was killed by unknown members of a Lucchese hit squad not because of how he used the heist’s money (though he did buy a 1979 Ford Thunderbird) but because he reportedly robbed a Lucchese-affiliated drug trafficker of thousands of dollars in cocaine (he was said to have been a heavy cocaine user) and cash that was reserved for the crew.

Some suspect that the ones behind Sepe’s murder were linked to the Gambino crime family, as Sepe had been seeking revenge for the murder of his uncle Ralph “Shorty” Spero, who was killed by Gerard Pappa, a member of the Genovese crime family. It’s unknown why Pileggi and Scorsese decided to give a completely different ending and role to Angelo Sepe/Frankie Carbone in Goodfellas, and in the end, viewers will decide which one was more terrifying: the death of Frankie Carbone or that of Angelo Sepe.

Next: Goodfellas: Every Character Who Dies (& Why)

Karen Gillan Relaxes in Nebula Makeup in Guardians of the Galaxy BTS Image
Related Topics
About The Author
Adrienne Tyler (2883 Articles Published)

Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided's BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.

When she's not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.

Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.

More From Adrienne Tyler

You May Like Also

  • the life of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta)
  • Goodfellas: How Henry Subtly Teased The Death Of Frankie
  • Tommy DeSimone (DeVito in Goodfellas)
  • Goodfellas: Every Character Who Dies (& Why)
  • Carrie-Anne Moss Wears Matrix Code Dress to Resurrections Premiere
  • Daniel Radcliffe Reunites With Harry Potter Cast In Return To Hogwarts Trailer
  • How Reservoir Dogs' Opening Scene Secretly Reveals The Movie's Ending
  • Tom Holland Wants to Produce Spider-Man Movie Starring Another Actor
  • Keanu Reeves Felt Really Let Down By Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Deleted Scene Would Have Made Padmé Better
  • Labyrinth's Lost Puppet: Bizarre Story Of What Happened To Hoggle
  • Keanu Reeves Explains John Wick Director’s Matrix Resurrections Role
  • Why Doctor Strange's Scooby-Doo Line Is Different In No Way Home
  • Every Quentin Tarantino & Samuel L. Jackson Movie Ranked From Worst To Best
  • Why Phase 4’s Biggest Villain Is The Avengers
  • JK Rowling Already Set Up A Fantastic Beast 3 Tragedy In 2006
  • Scream 2022 Video Introduces The Franchise's New Characters
  • Infinity War Director Jokes About Never Hanging Out With Tom Holland
  • Every Lord of the Rings & Hobbit Movie Ranked, Worst to Best
  • Kevin Feige Confirms MCU Spider-Man 4 Is In Active Development
  • Jurassic World: Dominion Image Reveals Brand New Raptor
  • Scream 2022 Video Honors Original Movie Director Wes Craven's Legacy
  • Doctor Strange 2 Trailer Supports Scarlet Witch Being The Villain Theories