‘Tulsa King’ on Paramount+ is an offering from Taylor Sheridan and Terence Winter that marries the crime drama genre with Western elements. The series revolves around Dwight “The General” Manfredi, a New York mafia capo who finally walks free after serving twenty-five years in prison for his boss’ crimes. However, he is soon dispatched to the titular small town to form a new criminal enterprise for the mob.
Given the show’s unique aesthetic, setting, and portrayal of gangsters, viewers must be itching to know if the main character is inspired by a real-life figure. If you are looking for answers about the inspiration behind Dwight “The General” Manfredi in ‘Tula King,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Who Is Dwight “The General” Manfredi?
Dwight “The General” Manfredi is introduced in the series premiere episode of ‘Tulsa King,’ and serves as the show’s protagonist. Sylvester Stallone essays the role of Dwight and also serves as an executive producer on the series. Stallone is a bonafide film superstar delivering several hit films during the 80s and 90s. He is known for portraying the PTSD-plagued soldier John Rambo in the ‘Rambo‘ series of action films.
Likewise, the actor will forever be remembered as down-on-luck boxer Rocky Balboa in the 1976 sports drama film ‘Rocky,’ its sequels, and spin-offs. His other credits include hit franchises such as ‘The Expendables,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and ‘Escape Plan.’ However, the part of Dwight “The General” Manfredi in ‘Tulsa King’ marks Stallone’s scripted television debut. Now, whether Stallone’s character in the series based on a real mafia capo? Let’s find out!
Is Dwight “The General” Manfredi Based on a Real Mafia Capo?
No, Dwight “The General” Manfredi is not based on a real mafia capo. The series tells a fictional story and isn’t directly inspired by any real-life events. The idea came to co-creator Taylor Sheridan, who wished to add Western elements to the mob drama genre. As a result, the series has more in common with fictional shows than with reality. Furthermore, no real mafia capo by the name of Dwight “The General” Manfredi exists. Hence, it is safe to say that Stallone’s character in the series is a fictional creator.
The series premiere episode, titled ‘Go West, Old Man,’ explains the story behind his name and nickname. Dwight explains to two bar patrons that his parents immigrated from Italy. They held affection for war generals and decided to name their child after the “greatest” military general of the 20th century, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States. Eisenhower served as an Army General during World War II. Thus, Dwight reived the nickname “The General.”
While crafting the character of Dwight, the makers wanted to create a fish-out-of-water narrative and place the revered mafia capo in an unexpected setting. Therefore, they chose to root the character in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where there is little to no influence of gangsters and crime families. Hence, it is safe to say that Dwight’s story does not overlap with any real mafia capo.
In an interview, Stallone explained how his character in the series deviates from the classic mafia mold that has existed in the crime drama genre for decades. “I’ve always wanted to play an underworld figure but in a different incarnation,” Stallone told the New York Post. “Not the normal tough-guy thug, but one that is almost charming. He has a gangster side when necessary, but is more of an organizer, what we call a ‘general’ as opposed to a sergeant at arms,” he added.
Stallone also added that he added some humanity to the character’s arc and took a more comedic approach to the material to make his gangster character stand out from the gangster tropes established in ‘Goodfellas’ by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Capolla in ‘The Godfather.’ From Stallone’s words, it is safe to say that he did not draw inspiration from any real mafia capo to essay the role. Ultimately, Dwight “The General” Manfredi in ‘Tulsa King,’ is a riveting fictional character who challenges the notions of portraying gangsters in popular culture.
Read More: Is Tulsa King Based on a True Story?