The Godfather (1972) Poster


Marlon Brando: Don Vito Corleone



  • Johnny Fontane : [discussing his problems]  I don't know what to do, Godfather. My voice is weak, it's weak. Anyway, if I had this part in the picture, it puts me right back on top, you know. But this... this man out there. He won't give it to me, the head of the studio.

    Don Corleone : What's his name?

    Don Corleone : Woltz. He said there's no chance, no chance...

    [Meanwhile, Hagen finds Sonny and summons him] 

    Johnny Fontane : A month ago he bought the rights to this book, a best seller. The main character is a guy just like me. I wouldn't even have to act, just be myself. Oh, Godfather, I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do...

    [All of a sudden, Don Corleone rises from his chair and gives Fontane a savage shake] 

    Don Corleone : YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN!

    [gives a quick slap to Fontane] 

    Don Corleone : What's the matter with you? Is this what you've become, a Hollywood finocchio who cries like a woman? "Oh, what do I do? What do I do?" What is that nonsense? Ridiculous!

    [the Don's unexpected mimicry makes Hagen and even Fontane laugh; around this time Sonny comes in] 

    Don Corleone : Tell me, do you spend time with your family?

    Johnny Fontane : Sure I do.

    Don Corleone : Good. Because a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.

    [gives a quick look at Sonny and affectionately embraces Fontane] 

    Don Corleone : You look terrible. I want you to eat, I want you to rest well. And a month from now this Hollywood big shot's gonna give you what you want.

    Johnny Fontane : Too late. They start shooting in a week.

    Don Corleone : I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party.

    [a gratified Fontane leaves] 

  • Don Corleone : You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me?

  • Don Corleone : We have known each other many years, but this is the first time you've come to me for counsel or for help. I can't remember the last time you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let's be frank here. You never wanted my friendship. And you feared to be in my debt.

    Bonasera : I didn't want to get into trouble.

    Don Corleone : I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, you made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. So you didn't need a friend like me. Now you come and say "Don Corleone, give me justice." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me "Godfather." You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married and you ask me to do murder - for money.

    Bonasera : I ask you for justice.

    Don Corleone : That is not justice. Your daughter is alive.

    Bonasera : Let them suffer then as she suffers.

    [the Don is silent] 

    Bonasera : How much shall I pay you?

    [the Don turns away dismissively, but Bonasera stays on] 

    Don Corleone : Bonasera, Bonasera, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you'd come to me in friendship, this scum who ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by some chance an honest man like yourself made enemies they would become my enemies. And then, they would fear you.

    Bonasera : Be my friend... Godfather.

    [the Don at first shrugs, but upon hearing the title he lifts his hand, and a humbled Bonasera kisses the ring on it] 

    Don Corleone : Good.

    [He places his hand around Bonasera in a paternal gesture] 

    Don Corleone : Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this justice a gift on my daughter's wedding day.

    [a gratified Bonasera offers his thanks and leaves] 

    Don Corleone : [to Hagen]  Give this job to Clemenza. I want reliable people, people who aren't going to be carried away. I mean, we're not murderers, in spite of what this undertaker thinks...

  • Sollozzo : Bene, Don Corleone. I need a man who has powerful friends. I need a million dollars in cash. I need, Don Corleone, all of those politicians that you carry around in your pocket, like so many nickels and dimes.

    Don Corleone : What is the interest for my family?

    Sollozzo : Thirty percent. In the first year your end should be three, four million dollars. And then it would go up.

    Don Corleone : And what is the interest for the Tattalgia family?

    Sollozzo : [smiles at Tom]  My compliments.

    [Hagen gives a formal nod] 

    Sollozzo : I'll take care of the Tattaglias, out of my share.

    Don Corleone : So, I am to receive thirty percent for finance, for legal protection and political influence. Is that what you're telling me?

    Sollozzo : That's right.

    Don Corleone : Why come to me? What have I done to deserve such generosity?

    Sollozzo : If you consider a million dollars in cash merely finance...

    [raises his glass] 

    Sollozzo : Te salut, Don Corleone.

    [the Don gets up to take a drink and sits closer to Sollozzo] 

    Don Corleone : I said that I would see you because I had heard that you were a serious man, to be treated with respect. But I must say no to you and let me give you my reasons. It's true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn't be so friendly if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling which they consider a harmless vice. But drugs, that's a dirty business.

    Sollozzo : No, Don Corleone...

    Don Corleone : It makes no difference, it don't make any difference to me what a man does for a living, you understand. But your business is a little dangerous.

    Sollozzo : If you're worried about security for your million, the Tattaglias will guarantee it.

    Sonny : Whoa, now, you're telling me that the Tattaglias guarantee our investment without...?

    Don Corleone : Wait a minute.

    [the Don gives his son a cold stare, freezing Santino into silence. The others fidget with embarrassment at this outbreak, but Sollozzo looks slyly satisfied...] 

    Don Corleone : [dismissive]  I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should listen. Anyway, Signor Sollozzo, my no to you is final. I want to congratulate you on your new business and I'm sure you'll do very well and good luck to you. Especially since your interests don't conflict with mine. Thank you.

    [Sollozzo leaves] 

    Don Corleone : Santino, come here.

    Don Corleone : What's the matter with you? I think your brain is going soft with all that comedy you are playing with that young girl. Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking again. Go on.

  • [at midnight, Don Corleone walks into his office and finds Tom Hagen taking a drink] 

    Don Corleone : Give me a drop.

    [Hagen hands the Don his glass of anisette] 

    Don Corleone : My wife is crying upstairs. I hear cars coming to the house. Consigliore of mine, I think it's time you told your Don what everyone seems to know.

    Tom Hagen : I didn't tell Mama anything. I was just about to come up and wake you so that I could tell you.

    Don Corleone : But you needed a drink first.

    [Hagen nods] 

    Don Corleone : And now you've had your drink.

    Tom Hagen : They shot Sonny on the causeway. He's dead.

    [the Don accepts this news without any sign of emotion, except to close his eyes and remain silent for a few minutes] 

    Don Corleone : [speaking at last]  I want no inquiries made. I want no acts of vengeance. I want you to arrange a meeting with the heads of the Five Families. This war stops now.

  • Don Corleone : [to Michael]  Listen, whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, he's the traitor. Don't forget that.

  • Don Corleone : Oh, I want you to arrange to have a telephone man check all the calls going in and out of here because it could be anyone...

    Michael : I did that already, Pop. I took care of that.

    Don Corleone : Oh, that's right. I forgot.

    Michael : What's the matter? What's bothering you? I'll handle it. I told you I can handle it, I'll handle it.

    [the Don rises as if to leave, but changes his mind midway and seats himself closer to Michael] 

    Don Corleone : I knew Santino was going to have to go through all this and Fredo... well, Fredo was... But I, I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life, I don't apologize, to take care of my family. And I refused to be a fool dancing on the strings held by all of those big shots. That's my life, I don't apologize for that. But I always thought that when it was your time, that you would be the one to hold the strings. Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone, something.

    Michael : Another pezzonovante.

    Don Corleone : Well, there wasn't enough time, Michael. There just wasn't enough time.

    Michael : We'll get there, Pop. We'll get there.

    [the Don kisses his son on the forehead] 

  • Don Corleone : I hope you don't mind the way I keep going over this Barzini business.

    Michael : No, not at all.

    Don Corleone : It's an old habit. I spent my whole life trying not to be careless. Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.

  • [first lines] 

    Bonasera : I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom but I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a "boy friend," not an Italian. She went to the movies with him. She stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago he took her for a drive, with another boy friend. They made her drink whiskey and then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her. Like an animal. When I went to the hospital her nose was broken. Her jaw was shattered, held together by wire. She couldn't even weep because of the pain. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life. A beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again.

    [He breaks down at this point, and the Don gestures to his son to get him a drink] 

    Bonasera : Sorry...

    [He regains his composure and carries on] 

    Bonasera : I went to the police, like a good American. These two boys were brought to trial. The judge sentenced them to three years in prison, and suspended the sentence. Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool, and those two bastards, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, "For justice, we must go to Don Corleone."

    Don Corleone : Why did you go to the police? Why didn't you come to me first?

    Bonasera : What do you want of me? Tell me anything. But do what I beg you to do.

    Don Corleone : What is that?

    [Bonasera gets up from his seat and whispers into the Don's ear; for a long moment the Don is silent] 

    Don Corleone : That I cannot do.

    Bonasera : I will give you anything you ask!

  • Don Corleone : You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you, or my boy to me? I forgo the vengeance of my son. But I have selfish reasons. My youngest son was forced to leave this country because of this Sollozzo business. All right, now I have to make arrangements to bring him back here safely cleared of all these false charges. But I'm a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall him... if he should be shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he's struck by a bolt of lightning, then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room, and that I do not forgive. But, that aside, let me say that I swear, on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not be the one to break the peace we have made here today.

  • Tom Hagen : When I meet with Tattaglia's men, should I insist all their drug middlemen have clean records?

    Don Corleone : Mention it, don't insist. But Barzini will know that without being told.

    Tom Hagen : You mean Tattaglia...

    Don Corleone : Tattaglia is a pimp. He never could have outfought Santino. But I didn't know until this day that it was Barzini all along.

  • Don Corleone : Call Bonasera. We need him now.

    [Tom Hagen calls Amerigo Bonasera] 

    Tom Hagen : [on the phone]  This is Tom Hagen, calling for Vito Corleone at his request. Now, you owe your Don a service. He has no doubt that you will repay him. In one hour he will be at your funeral parlor to ask for your help. Be there to greet him.

    [as ordered, a nervous Bonasera meets the Don at his parlor] 

    Don Corleone : Well, my friend, are you ready to do me this service?

    Bonasera : Yes. What do you want me to do?

    [the two walk into the embalming room, where a corpse lies on a table...] 

    Don Corleone : [staring at the table]  I want you to use all your powers, and all your skills. I don't want his mother to see him this way.

    [he draws back the sheet to reveal, to a horrified Bonasera, the bullet-smashed face of Sonny Corleone] 

    Don Corleone : [breaking down for a moment]  Look how they massacred my boy...

  • Tom Hagen : Sollozo is known as the Turk. He's supposed to be very good with a knife. But only in matters of business, or of some sort of reasonable complaint. His business is narcotics. He has the fields in Turkey, where they grow the poppy. In Sicily he has the plant to process it into heroin. He needs cash and he needs protection from the police for which he gives a piece of the action, I couldn't find out how much. The Tattaglia Family is behind him here in New York so they have to be in it for something.

    Don Corleone : What about his prison record?

    Tom Hagen : Two terms, one in Italy, and one here. He's known as a top narcotics man.

    Don Corleone : Santino, what do you think?

    Sonny : There's a lot of money in that white powder.

    Don Corleone : Tom?

    Tom Hagen : Well, I say yes. There is more money potential in narcotics than anything else we're looking at now. If we don't get into it, somebody else will, maybe one of the Five Families, maybe all of them. And with the money they earn they'll be able to buy more police and political power. Then they come after us. Right now we have the unions and we have the gambling and those are the best things to have. But narcotics is a thing of the future. If we don't get a piece of that action we risk everything we have. Not now, but ten years from now.

    Sonny : Well, what's your answer gonna be, Pop?

  • Don Corleone : [to Michael]  So, Barzini will move against you first. He'll set up a meeting with someone that you absolutely trust, guaranteeing your safety. And at that meeting, you'll be assassinated.

  • Tessio : Barzini's people chisle my territory and we do nothing about it. Pretty soon there won't be anyplace in Brooklyn that I can hang my hat.

    Michael : Try and be patient.

    Clemenza : I'm not asking for help, Mike, just take off the handcuffs.

    Michael : Be patient.

    Clemenza : We gotta protect ourselves. At least give me the chance to recruit some new men.

    Michael : No. I don't want to give Barzini any excuse to start fighting.

    Tessio : Mike, you're wrong.

    Clemenza : Don Corleone, you once said the day would come when me and Tessio could form our own families. Until today I would never think of such a thing but now I must ask your permission.

    Don Corleone : Well, Michael's head of the family now and if give his permission then you have my blessing.

    Michael : After we make the move to Nevada you can break off from the Corleone Family and go off on your own. After we make the move to Nevada.

    Clemenza : How long will that take?

    Michael : Six months.

    Tessio : Forgive me, Godfather, but with you gone me and Pete will come under Barzini's thumb sooner or later.

    Clemenza : And I hate that Goddamn Barzini. In six months time there won't be nothin' left to build on.

    Don Corleone : Do you have faith in my judgement?

    Clemenza : Yes.

    Don Corleone : Do I have your loyalty?

    Clemenza : Yes, always Godfather.

    Don Corleone : Then be a friend to Michael. Do as he says.

    Michael : There are negotiations being made that are going to answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems. That's all I can tell you right now. Carlo, you grew up in Nevada. When we make our move there you're going to be my right hand man. Tom Hagen is no longer Consigliari. He's going to be our lawyer in Vegas. That's no reflection on Tom it's just the way I want it. Besides, if I ever help who's a better Consigliari than my father. That's it.

    [Everyone except Hagen leaves] 

    Tom Hagen : Mike, why am I out?

    Michael : You're not a wartime Consigliari, Tom. Things could get rough with the move we're making.

    Don Corleone : Tom, I advised Michael. I never thought you were a bad Consigliari. I thought Santino was a bad Don, rest in peace. Michael has all my confidence as do you. But there are reasons why you must have nothing to do with what's going to happen.

    Tom Hagen : Maybe I could help.

    Michael : You're out, Tom.

  • Tom Hagen : The Senator called, he apologized for not coming but said that you would understand; also some of the judges. They've all sent gifts.

    [raises his glass to the Don] 

    Tom Hagen : Salut.

    [Both men are suiddenly startled by a huge roaring cheer] 

    Don Corleone : What is that, outside?

    [Both look out the window and see famous singer Johnny Fontane has arrived] 

    Don Corleone : He came all the way from California to the wedding. i told you he was gonna come!

    Tom Hagen : It's been two years. He's probably in trouble again.

    Don Corleone : He is a good godson.

  • Don Corleone : [crying, staring at Sonny's body]  Look how they massacred my boy!

  • Don Corleone : How's your boy?

    Michael : He's good.

    Don Corleone : You know, he looks more like you every day.

    Michael : He's smarter than I am. Three years old, and he can already read the funny papers.

    Don Corleone : [laughs]  Read the funny papers...

  • [the Corleone Family poses for the wedding photo] 

    Don Corleone : [to Sonny]  Where's Michael?

    Sonny : Don't worry. He'll be here.

    Don Corleone : We're not taking the picture without Michael.

  • Don Corleone : [to Luca Brasi]  I'm a little worried about this Sollozzo fellow. I want you to find out what he's got under his fingernails. Go to the Tattaglias, and tell them you're not too happy with our Family, and find out what you can...

  • Don Corleone : My godson has come all the way from California. Give him a drink.

  • Don Corleone : I like to drink wine more than I used to...


    Don Corleone : Anyway, I'm drinking more.

    Michael : It's good for you, Pop.

    Don Corleone : Ah, I don't know...

See also

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