Orson Welles was extremely impressed by a stage performance of Calleia's in the mid-1930s and vowed to work with him. They finally worked together over 20 years later in Touch of Evil (1958).
During his retirement time in Malta he received a telegram from Francis Ford Coppola who offered him the part of Don Vito Corleone in "The Godfather". As much as Coppola wanted Calleia for the part he was unable to convince him to accept. Calleia refused due to health reasons.