Gangster Nino Moretti's world is a series of contrasts between extreme wealth and abject poverty, an unstable existence punctuated by booze and bullets. For Nino, the gangster lifestyle is even more dangerous because he is a finnochio-a gay man-in a position of absolute power at the head of his own criminal organization.
When Nino rescues beautiful mob accountant Stanley Zadwadzki from a violent assault at the hands of sadistic rival gangster Big Frank O'Hara, both Nino and Stanley become hunted men. Stanley places himself under Nino's protection as Nino's accountant and unofficial companion. As a warning, Frank murders Nino's office boy. In a quest for revenge, Nino tracks Frank to Little Italy, where the resulting confrontation forces him to shoot a bystander to protect Stanley. With a gang war looming, Nino must set aside his feelings and concentrate on asserting his superiority over Big Frank-or lose everything he holds most dear.