Gianni Franco

Gianni Franco is a Mafia boss and the secondary antagonist in the 1989 film The Punisher.

He was portrayed by Jeroen Krabbe


Gianni Franco is a suave gentleman gangster not unlike John Gotti. He is also intelligent, crafty, and an ace schemer who doesn't think twice about killing his enemies. However, he is boundlessly warm and affectionate toward his son, and he is at his most dangerous when family is on the line.


Gianni Franco takes over the New York Mafia after its former leader is murdered by the Punisher, whose five-year murder spree has left the New York underworld weak and disorganized. Franco's first order of business as acting don is to unite all of New York's crime families under his wing: however this dream is short-lived, as Yakuza boss Lady Tanaka steps in to seize it for herself. To ensure the American crimelords' compliance, she has their children kidnapped and threatens to sell them into slavery. This prompts the leaders to meet with Lady Tanaka again, but Franco smells a rat and declines to attend, instead setting up his own plan. His intuition saves him, as Lady Tanaka kills the other bosses at the meeting. In the meantime the Punisher, remembering he was once a daddy, too, takes it upon himself to rescue the children, but he fails to rescue Franco's son and is arrested by the police.

Franco has the Punisher sprung from jail and kidnaps his former police partner Jake Berkowitz: either the Punisher leads a raid on Lady Tanaka's headquarters and helps rescue Franco's son, or Jake dies. The Punisher agrees, and he and Franco prove to be a great team as the Yakuza are summarily wiped off the face of New York. However, once Franco's son is rescued, Franco tries to kill the Punisher—with him dead, Franco's new empire will thrive and his son will inherit all of it. During the final struggle, Franco is shot point blank through his bullet-proof vest and dies.

Franco's son then takes the gun and threatens to kill the Punisher, but finds he doesn't have the nerve. The Punisher warns him to grow up to be a good man and then disappears.