The Godfather (1972) Poster

(1972)

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  • It was in fact Luca Brasi that did it but certain sections of this scene, and also the following scene where Tom, Vito, and Sonny are meeting in the living room, that indicate this were cut from the final edit of the film. Tom left Woltz's home then returned to New York where he was meeting with Sonny and Vito. At the end of this meeting, Vito asks Tom more info about Woltz, and then finally says "All right - send Luca Brasi to me. I think we're going to find a way to reason with this Mr. Jack Woltz." A cross-fade then occurs to the beginning of the horse head scene outside Woltz's home, as opposed to where this scene is placed in the final film. Edit

  • The film is mainly a representation of how Michael, the only honest son of Vito and Carmela, who at first does not want to enter "the family business", becomes a ruthless Mafia Don, a murderer and a liar. Edit

  • There's no identification of the man or men sent to kill Moe but it's not really necessary to know anyway.

    As for the lens and blood, the FX crew rigged the glasses Moe was wearing with two small tubes. One tube shot a blast of compressed air to shatter the lens -- likely made of sugar glass, which is significantly weaker than real glass -- and the 2nd tube sprayed fake blood on actor Alex Rocca's face. The two tubes were carefully concealed in Rocca's hair and ran behind him to the FX crewmember(s) who triggered the effect. Edit

  • His cheek was shattered when McCluskey punched him in the face outside the hospital. It's explained in the novel that McCluskey aimed for that spot very deliberately because that area of the cheek has a nerve bundle, so the blow was very painful and damaging. While Michael hides out in Sicily, a doctor named Taza says he can have surgery to fix it but Michael is reluctant because the man doesn't have a good reputation for his work.

    Michael eventually has his face fixed when he returns to the United States and the surgery works well to restore his looks. Edit

  • Because of an old Italian tradition which was also practiced throughout the Old World IE, Europe: parents, no matter how powerful they may be, will not interfere in the married lives of their children.

    There's a scene in the novel that explains Connie's parents' position: she goes to them to complain that Carlo is beating her and they coldly tell her to go back and learn how to be a more obedient wife to Carlo. When Connie further objects, the Don says "Not even the King of Italy would interfere in a marriage." So Connie is left powerless without the support of her father.

    There's another brief moment during the lunch scene right after the Don returns home from the hospital: Carlo tells Connie to shut up, Sonny tells Carlo not to talk to his sister in such a harsh tone and their mother tells Sonny "Don't interfere." Edit

  • Michael had achieved the rank of captain, indicated by the silver bars on the shoulders of his uniform.

    According to Wikipedia, Michael was awarded the following medals:

    Navy Cross

    Silver Star (later upgraded to the Navy Cross)

    Navy and Marine Corps Medal

    Purple Heart

    European Campaign Medal

    Asia Campaign Medal

    World War II Victory Medal Edit

  • This was made in 1972 - No major film company (run by white people, obviously) cared one bit about black people in 1972! Edit

  • For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Godfather can be found here. Edit

  • Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the aging Don (head) of a New York Mafia family consisting of three sons—Santino "Sonny" (James Caan), Fredo (John Cazale), and Michael (Al Pacino), daughter Connie (Talia Shire), and adopted son Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall)—wants his youngest son Michael to take over the family business. However, Michael doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps until the Don is unceremoniously gunned down in the street by drug dealer Virgil "the Turk" Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) when Vito refuses to back him in his fledgling heroin business. The assassination attempt leads to Michael beginning a violent mob war against Sollozzo, one that promises to tear the Corleone family apart. Edit

  • The Godfather is based on a novel of the same name (written by Italian-American author Mario Puzo [1920-1999]. The novel was published in 1969. Puzo also wrote the screenplay for the movie. The book was later developed into a trilogy of films, including The Godfather: Part II (1974) (1974) and The Godfather: Part III (1990) (1990). The Godfather won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture. Edit

  • The story spans about 10 years, between 1945 and 1955. Edit

  • The obvious reason was that the guy was getting too close to the party (he was standing near the gate to the Corleone compound) taking photos of who came to the wedding and their cars, even license plates. The event was, of course, a private one and the Corleones had hired their own photographers. The photographer was probably working for the FBI, whom Sonny had spit at when the agent flashed his badge moments earlier.

    An event like this one would have many of the Corleone's own operatives in attendance (for security purposes) and perhaps even some of Vito Corleone's rivals there as well -- which is the case with Barzini. It's also entirely possible the man was a reporter and doing a story on the wedding. Sonny was angered at the fact that someone would try and violate his family's privacy, especially at his sister's wedding. (The scene also serves to introduce us to Sonny's famous hair trigger temper.) Yet, Sonny, after breaking the guy's camera, throws him some cash out of his own wallet obliviously to compensate him for destroying the camera as well as to prevent the guy from suing him and the Corleones for assault and battery and destruction of personal property (the camera).

    Real life mafioso dons, bosses and under-bosses of the era, unlike the modern dons like John Gotti, mostly maintained a very low profile by avoiding talking to the press and kept up a modest lifestyle (at least publicly) to such an extent that even photos of Mafia heads were rare. There were a few exceptions, like the flamboyant Bugsy Siegel who cavorted with movie stars and maintained a glamorous life-style, which caused great consternation among his fellow mob confederates, as it called attention to their illegal dealings. Most Mafia Dons of the era represented in The Godfather (mid-'40s to the late '50s, the time-frame altered slightly from the novel) were unknown to the general public and even the FBI was unsure of which individuals actually ran the rackets and who answered to whom.

    Also, the very hierarchical structure of the Mafia was largely unknown until major figures turned federal informants decades later. By observing Mafia figures at weddings and funerals, the only public events the press-shy and camera-shy Dons would regularly attend, hints as to the ranks and strengths of the various families could only be ascertained by observing them in the public sphere. This is why the FBI regularly stalked Mafia members at public events, which were considered "civilian" family events by the families, and off-limits for business and crime dealings, which would have added to Sonny's frustration at their privacy being invaded. This is why Barzini makes sure to personally destroy the negatives of any photos taken of him and his associates, which might have been passed on to law enforcement. The Corleone photographer taking the wedding photos himself might even have been an FBI plant, though it's unlikely since the Don would have him screened extensively to make sure he wasn't. Edit

  • Vito, as the Don of the Corleone family, was against allowing his people dealing narcotics. Vito considered such a product to be much more dangerous than alcohol, gambling and prostitution, the mainstays of business conducted amongst the Five Families. He believed that the politicians and judges that did business with his family, enabling them to become as powerful as they were, wouldn't be willing to continue to do so if his business was drugs. Virgil Sollozzo, a big-time drug dealer, wanted the Corleones on his side because of their numerous connections with politicians and judges. Sollozzo hoped those people could be influenced, coerced or bribed to be lax on the trade of illegal drugs, but Vito refused. However, Sollozzo noticed that Sonny was interested in doing business with him, so he arranged for a hit on Vito, which would place Sonny as the new Don and then, hopefully, a deal with the Corleones would soon follow. Edit

  • For the rehearsals, the horse's head was fake. When they shot the scene, however, the head was indeed a real horse's head Coppola got at a dog food factory. Actor John Marley's reaction was also real, as he had no clue there would be a real horse's head in his bed. Edit

  • In the canon of The Godfather, there are five organizations, or "Families," in the New York area— (Vito) Corleone, (Emilio) Barzini, (Philip) Tattaglia, (Anthony) Stracci, and (Carmine) Cuneo. While the Tattaglia and Barzini Families weigh pretty heavily into the plot, due to the tensions between their organizations and the Corleones, there is little mention of the Cuneo and Stracci families, who are mentioned only as part of the Commission "sit down" with all of the major mafia bosses from around the country. The idea of the "Five Families" is based on real-life Cosa Nostra structure. Believe it or not, there are rules and an expected code of conduct within the mafia, and there are certain actions that require the approval of a family Boss. The "Commission" acts as a kind of mafia board of directors or mini U.N. to ensure that all of the families stay in line and avoid actions that might be dangerous to organized crime as a whole.

    It is mentioned in the novel that Anthony Stracci's crime organization operates mostly in Northern New Jersey & on Staten Island. Carmine Cuneo operates mostly in the Bronx. However, every family don of the five has ambitions to take over as much of the others' territory as they can, Barzini & Tattaglia being the two most ambitious and ruthless. Edit

  • During a gang war, the soldiers stay in "safe houses" set up by the Family, instead of in their own houses—in order both to keep dependents out of the line of fire and to ensure secure communications. These safe houses are apartments, the majority of whose rooms are filled with mattresses for soldiers to sleep on. Thus, to "go to the mattresses" is to begin a war with the other Families. Another explanation comes from the novel: during a gang war, both sides would make use of vacated apartments owned by the crime family in question at key strategic points in the city. The apartments would be used to house soldiers that could be deployed to conduct "battles" between the families at a moment's notice. Because the war could go on for months or years, the apartments would be outfitted with mattresses for the men to sleep on. There would probably also be a phone in the apartment so they could be contacted quickly to move to an area to conduct family business. Clemenza, Rocco Lampone, and Paulie travel to New York to inspect some of the apartments and to begin the process of buying the actual mattresses to stock them with. At one point you hear Clemenza talking about how the mattresses need to be clean and disinfected. Paulie tells him that his contact for obtaining them has assured him they've been "exterminated" or checked thoroughly for vermin like bedbugs. Clemenza makes a joke of it. However, the whole task was partially a ruse designed to throw Paulie off so they could take him to a remote location and kill him. Clemenza was probably scouting locations for their men to stay in but it was still a convenient way to eliminate Paulie, who believed that he was being given an important task to complete for the impending war. Edit

  • Clemenza mentions the 1938 Munich Agreement when he talks to Michael about the impending war that will occur right after Michael assassinates Sollozzo and McCluskey. In September 1938, Hitler had sought to annex the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia populated mainly by ethnic Germans, to Germany. An international crisis ensued and a major conference was held in the German city of Munich to resolve the issue. At this conference, the western powers, led by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, agreed to allow Hitler to annex the Sudetenland in exchange for his promise to leave the rest of Czechoslovakia alone. Chamberlain felt that Hitler's territorial ambitions could be contained with minor concessions and, after Munich, declared that they had achieved "peace in our time". However, Hitler promptly violated his promise and occupied the entirety of Czechoslovakia. After the outbreak of war in 1939, Chamberlain was widely criticized for failing to stand up to Hitler at Munich. The conference, and the concept of appeasement, came to be derided as examples of political cowardice in the face of an aggressive upstart foe. So Clemenza is comparing the Corleone's position to that of Britain in 1938. They face an aggressive upstart with Sollozzo. In Clemenza's opinion it is better to deal with Sollozzo now, rather than try to appease him and have to deal with him in the future when he's much more powerful. Edit

  • Here is a translation of what they say in Italian:

    Sollozzo: I'm sorry.

    Michael: Leave it alone. ( or ) Forget about it.

    Sollozzo: What happened to your father was business. I have much respect for your father. But your father, his thinking is old-fashioned. You must understand that I am a man of honor.

    Michael: I understand those things. I know them.

    Sollozzo: You do? You must understand that I helped the Tattaglia family and once I make a deal, I seek nothing but peace. Leave aside all this nonsense.

    Michael: How do you say? [Then Michael returns to speaking English.]

    [After Michael returns from the bathroom]

    Sollozzo: Everything all right? I respect myself, understand, and cannot allow another man to hold me back. What happened was unavoidable. I had the unspoken support of the other Family dons. If your father were in better health, without his eldest son running things, no disrespect intended, we wouldn't have this nonsense. We will stop fighting until your father is well and can resume bargaining. No vengeance will be taken. We will have peace, but your Family should interfere no longer. Edit

  • "This Loneliness" by Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola's father. Mr. Coppola is playing the song live in the scene. The song is not on the soundtrack album but was on the LP "The Godfather Wedding Album" which is out of print and not available on CD. It also is not the same as the one on the Godfather Wedding Album LP. The version in the film is piano only, whereas the version on the album lasts a little longer and has other instruments. Edit

  • It's explained in the book, but not very well in the film. Sicilian and Italian tradition dictates that NO ONE, no matter how powerful or influential, will interfere in an Italian/Sicilian marriage. Vito is a very traditional man and had no intention of intruding in his daughter's marriage, even if it meant that Carlo (Gianni Russo) was abusive and unfaithful. There's a brief moment in the film when everyone is eating lunch after Vito returns home from the hospital where Connie and Carlo are arguing. Carlo tells Connie to shut up, Sonny tells Carlo never to say that to her, and Sonny's mother quietly tells Sonny "don't interfere." In the novel, Connie goes to her parents a few times to tell them how abusive Carlo is but her parents, especially the Don, are very coldly unsympathetic to her plight and tell her to go home and learn how to be an obedient wife who won't be physically abused. Of course, no matter how Connie acts in the film or novel, dutiful or not, Carlo continues to beat her and eventually uses his abuse as a ruse to entice Santino to leave his compound without protection which is when he was murdered on the causeway. One aspect of the novel is that Vito and the rest of the family disapproved of Connie getting married to Carlo because they correctly sensed that Carlo is a cowardly thug and bully who targets and abuses weaker people, and probably abuses his own authority over family business. But once Connie made up her mind and got married to Carlo anyway, Vito decided to allow the abuse as a means of saying "I told you so" about Carlo being abusive and violent. Another aspect of the novel, that's not very well-explained in the film, is that Carlo is deeply and angrily resentful that he wasn't given a higher post in the Corleone family, e.g., a lieutenant's rank like Clemenza or Tessio. Instead, Vito gives Carlo charge of a family gambling office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Carlo is given a "living", a fine apartment, possessions, and money, but he's not allowed any more than that. In the novel, only after Michael starts to take over the family does Carlo get a better position. Carlo's bad habits of battering Connie and cheating on her ultimately diminish into almost nothing. Edit

  • Although the film makes this pretty obvious, it still gets asked a lot. Vito asks Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto) to patch up Sonny's dead body so that he looks presentable for his mother at his funeral. Sonny's body was probably shot up so badly by the Barzini hitters (and kicked in the face) as an insult to the Don so they couldn't have an open casket at the funeral. Given how many shots were pumped into Sonny with Thompson machine guns, it must have been an incredibly difficult process for Bonasera, which is why the Don says, "I want you to use all your powers and all your skills..." Also, such a job probably would have cost the Don tens of thousands of dollars, even at that time, and Bonasera's "favor" must have also included waiving his fee or at least reducing it greatly. The condition of Sonny's body after the assassination is much more graphically explained in the novel—Sonny's face was purposefully shot up heavily so that it would be unrecognizable. Edit

  • It is more apparent in The Godfather Saga as there is additional footage shown pertaining to this. However, Paulie (John Martino) calls out sick on that day, forcing the semi-incompetent Fredo to drive Vito and knowing that Fredo is incapable of defending Vito during the hit. Similar to the Carlo situation, it's just too convenient that Paulie was out sick on the day of the hit; therefore, they got rid of him. In the book, the Corleones have a contact at the phone company that gives them a log of calls by Paulie and Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano), who was also a suspect. By these, they figure out that Paulie was the traitor. In the film, while we now know for certain that Paulie did in fact betray the family, in the original cut of the film, Sonny gives the order to eliminate Paulie without any hesitation or concrete evidence. This could have been meant as a foreshadowing of Sonny's reign as Don; it shows that he'd rather just act on impulse and have a member of his crew killed without any concrete evidence that he did betray them. Edit

  • Yes, but the scene didn't make it into the final version of the film. There's a deleted scene in the DVD extras that shows Fabrizio (Angelo Infanti) getting into a car outside a restaurant. The car explodes an instant later. In the novel, the scene is much different. Fabrizio is found working in a pizzeria in Buffalo, New York and is shot by a Corleone operative. The killer indentifies Fabrizio by an elaborate tattoo he had on his chest. Edit

  • Indeed there was. It was an somewhat obscure cover by Mike Patton's band "Fantomas". The song "The Godfather" can be found on the The Director's Cut album. Edit

  • Actually, he's quite the opposite. In the books, Sonny is described as being a kind and loving man to both his wife and children. Although he is most certainly a bad Don (something that his own father, even after Sonny's death, couldn't deny) he is a wonderful father and husband. His infamous temper is never taken out on his children or wife; Sonny is described as never being able to bring himself to hurt something helpless, especially women and children. As for his infidelity with Lucy Mancini, there's an explanation for that in the book as well. In a highly unusual turn of events, Sonny's wife, Sandra, is well aware that Sonny sleeps with other women and actually prefers it that way. It is described in the book that Sonny Corleone has an abnormally large penis, so large that it actually gives his wife stomachaches. Lucy Mancini, who it turns out has a congenitally loose vagina, is able to deal with the size of Sonny's penis and thus they start an affair. Their affair, however, is purely sexual: Lucy doesn't love Sonny and barely knows him outside of their affair, and Sonny is purely in love with only his wife. This is slightly alluded to in the film. During the wedding at the beginning, Sonny's wife is talking with other women at the table and she holds her hands up in a "this big" pose and gradually holds her hands out wider and wider, much to the amazement of the other women. She turns to Sonny, but sees that he's gone and a slight look of hurt and/or despair crosses her face. The scene then cuts to Sonny having sex with Lucy. Lucy has a much larger role in the novel, mostly due to an entire subplot, including several main characters not found in the film, including a plastic surgeon, who "repairs" her large vagina, his and Lucy's back-stories, plus their eventual involvement after her affair with Sonny ends (due to his death). This subplot has little to do with the main story of Vito and Michael, and so it was easily excised for the screen version. Edit

Spoilers

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The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • It's not explained in the film but they likely, out of respect for his years of loyal service (The Godfather: Part II (1974) reveals that he has been working with Vito and Clemenza since the late 1910s or early 1920s) to the family and Vito, took him somewhere they could kill him quietly and dispose of his body in a non-messy fashion. Edit

  • When they are about to kill somebody they want to be sure that he doesn't suspect anything. In this case Michael still needed to extract information from Carlo. Michael told him about the ticket and that he wouldn't widow his sister like that. Carlo bought into it and admitted his betrayal and revealed who hired him. Only after Michael got what he wanted, the kill was executed. One could still argue why he wasn't killed right away in the house after the confession, though. Killing him in the car avoids a mess inside the house. If needed, the car could be dumped or disposed of. Edit

  • In Italian/Sicilian tradition, a Mafioso's wife is not allowed to ask their husband about their affairs, so Michael was quite frustrated at Kay's inquiries about his affairs. But Michael allows her to ask one time since, as an outsider, she was unaware of this tradition. He lies to her because he knows that if she was told the truth, she wouldn't want to stay with Michael. It also signifies that Michael has completed his transformation into the cold, ruthless mafioso that we see in Part II. Moreover, Michael's answer of "no" to Kay's question is technically correct. Remember, Kay's question was "Is it true?" what Connie claimed: which was that Michael killed Carlo. Clemenza was the one who actually killed Carlo, so Michael can rationalize in his mind that he's not 'really' lying to Kay. This is very similar to earlier in the film, at the big meeting of the five families, when Vito vows that he would not be the one to break the peace (again, Vito was technically honest; it was Micheal who implemented the murders of the Mafia bosses, despite that fact that Vito clearly helped orchestrate them in advance before his death). Edit

  • Although Michael knows Carlo had a tendency to beat up Connie, the 'farce' that he's talking about is the specific beating that led to Sonny's death. Connie gets a call, presumably from Carlo's mistress. She goes haywire, smashing things-which leads Carlo to beat her with his belt. Connie calls Sonny, who races out to help her-and is ambushed along the way by rival thugs who kill him. It seems like a spontaneous tragedy, but Michael knows it was all staged--the fight and the beating--to lure Sonny out so he could be assassinated. He gets Carlo to admit it. Edit

  • The scene of Micheal firing the lupara at Fabrizio was possibly deemed too far from the main storyline to be included in the final film. Also, in terms of the film, it could be said that not everyone gets their comeuppance. No matter how deserving. Edit

  • He was with Luca Brasi sleeping with the fishes. Edit

  • Bonasera owns a very successful mortuary. The Don, at Connie's wedding, promised Bonasera he would punish the two men who beat and raped the man's daughter in exchange for providing his services as a mortician. When Sonny was killed, his assassins made sure to shoot him to death in a manner that would make it difficult for the Don to have an open casket at the funeral. The description of Sonny's wounds is told in greater detail in the novel: the reason the last man at the scene kicked Sonny in the face deliberately to disfigure his face and one of Sonny's eyes had been blown out by a bullet. Other shots had also hit him in the face making his corpse look even more gruesome. The grievous injuries to Sonny's body would make Bonasera and his staff's job of making the corpse at least presentable for an open casket very challenging and likely would have cost more than the mortician's usual fee for his work. The Don also didn't want his wife to see how badly Sonny's injuries were, which would have left her and the rest of the family more emotionally devastated than they already were. Knowing that, the Don cashed in the favor he'd asked of Bonasera, who would either do the work for free or at a greatly reduced rate. Edit

  • Remember that Barzini is a very shrewd and crafty don; he's able to turn Carlo against the family he married into and betray Sonny. Barzini likely had dozens of his own men doing spy-like work to monitor Sonny's habits: when he would leave the Corleone compound, where he'd go, who he would meet with. So Barzini would rely on intelligence reports from his men to eventually figure out a pattern that would allow him to launch an attack.

    Barzini must also have been crafty enough to have his spies monitor other aspects of the Corleone's dealings: how often they moved shipments of black market goods, where there men were stationed throughout the city, whom the Corleone's higher ranking lieutenants would meet with and when. One such aspect that's outside those bounds of the family's dealings was finding out about Carlo's bitter feelings toward his father-in-law. The beating that Sonny gives to Carlo earlier on was very public -- it took place on the street, right in front of the bookie's office that Carlo managed for the Don. Upon seeing that happening, Barzini's men could investigate further and probably found out that Carlo horribly abuses Connie and that Sonny was the fierce older brother who wouldn't hesitate to defend his sister's honor by beating up Carlo.

    As for hitting Sonny at Lucy Mancini's apartment in the city, Sonny, having taken over his father's position as Don, almost never went anywhere without several bodyguards. Not only would he have a few men in his car with him, but there would probably be at least one other car following them. So Sonny kept himself well-protected. Also, Lucy's apartment was likely in a neighborhood of New York that lay within the Corleone territory, providing further protection. If there was trouble of any kind, Sonny's men could call other Corleone men to action at the site for protection if an enemy made a move against Sonny. Such a move would be too risky for any enemy to make.

    Such a move by Barzini was years in the planning: they had to lure Carlo over to Barzini's side -- not that hard since Carlo was so disgruntled with his shabby treatment by the Don. They might have given Carlo a date and timeframe to spark the fight with Connie. The woman who called Carlo and Connie's number to cancel the "date" he had with her was probably a Barzini operative and the Barzini people knew that Sonny would rush to Connie's aid, thereby leaving the compound. Sonny, who was absolutely enraged at Carlo's brazen defiance, made a big mistake in racing out of the compound without waiting for his body guards. The Barzini's picked the toll booths as a perfect spot to bottleneck Sonny for the assassination. Edit

  • Don Vito was suspicious of Sollozzo. So he asked Luca to pretend to be unhappy with the Corleone family and go to the Tattaglias to find out what he could about their deal with Sollozzo. When meeting with Bruno Tattaglia and Sollozzo, Sollozo offers Luca $50,000 to come and work for him instead. When Sollozzo offers his hand to make the deal, Luca doesn't accept it. This may be because Luca thinks of himself as honourable, knowing he wasn't actually betraying the Corleones, he couldn't in good conscience shake Sollozzo's hand to make the deal, which tipped Sollozzo that Luca was trying to spy (or he simply took offense to the snub) which is why he stabs Luca in his right hand while one of Tattaglia's men strangled Luca. He may have also become suspicious that someone like Luca, who had a reputation for being a fiercely loyal Corleone enforcer would so easily betray them for some money. Michael may have become aware of this; as in The Godfather Part III, he tells Vincent to go to Don Altobello and act displeased with Michael, but if Altobello asked him to betray Michael, to act offended, because that would be his trap to determine his loyalty. Alternatively, Sollozzo needed Luca out of the way because he was already planning the hit on Vito and even if he hoped Luca's defection was real, Luca likely wouldn't be happy about them killing Vito. So Luca had to die. As Tom says, "Not even Sonny will be able to call off Luca Brasi", to which Sollozo replied, "Yeah, well let me worry about Luca", as he already had him taken care of. Edit

  • Because Sollozzo and the Tattaglia Family knew that Fredo was only a harmless and incompetent man. Fredo was not a major member of the Corleone Family and would never take on a position of power, so Sollozzo decides to have his men kill Vito and kill Fredo only if he poses a real threat to them, as killing Fredo would only cause additional bad blood and make Sonny even less likely to agree to a truce and commit further violent actions against the Tattaglias. Edit

  • After the meeting of the Five Families, Vito expresses to Tom his conviction that the Barzini family is running the narcotics operation and that they were behind Sonny's death, Tattaglia being too much of a "pimp" to "outfight" Santino during the Five Families War. During the meeting, it is Barzini who repeatedly reprimands Vito for refusing to share his police and political protection to the drug operation. Vito figures he would only be taking offense so strongly if he were the man behind the operation. Edit

  • From the beginning, Carlo was never a trusted member of The Family, as evidenced by his low position as bookmaker (aka: "bookie", i.e., running a gambling office and not being given a higher post in the family's crime dealings) and Vito's instructions to Tom to allow Carlo to earn a living but to never discuss Family business in front of him. Carlo is a cowardly thug who knows that he is not valued by Don Corleone, but he cannot take his frustrations out on Vito, Sonny, or any of the other high-ranking members of the Family, so he does the next best thing - he is abusive toward Connie. Carlo's treatment of his wife leads to further distrust by Don Corleone. Additionally, it puts strain on his relationship with Sonny -- though the relationship isn't fully explained in the movie, in the novel we learn that Sonny and Carlo have been lifelong friends. When Sonny confronts Carlo about abusing Connie, Carlo instead flees and Sonny brutally beats him up on the street in his own neighborhood in front of Carlo's own men and several witnesses. In the scene, Carlo is clearly displayed as a coward since he makes no attempt to fight Sonny or hit him back. After Sonny beats him up, Carlo feels completely humiliated and seeks vengeance against Sonny. When Barzini (apparently hearing about the incident) asks for his help in setting up Sonny, Carlo is more than happy to comply.

    Vito himself likely suspected Carlo's role in Sonny's murder, but since he could not prove it (and he didn't want to tip his hand so early), he pretends not to know. Connie, being the youngest child of Vito, had been spoiled and doted upon all her life and Vito doesn't want to see her widowed during his lifetime, something that, despite how horribly Carlo treats her, would upset Connie greatly and make her resent him. A little later, Michael is informed of the sequence of events that took place on the day of Sonny's murder by Vito, Tom, Connie and others which as follows:

    A mystery woman phones Connie and Carlo at his home. The very pregnant and emotional Connie gets angry and starts to throw a tantrum giving Carlo an "excuse" to beat his wife knowing full well that she will call Sonny and tell him that Carlo has beaten her again. It is possible that Carlo may have somehow phoned the Barzini people to inform them that Sonny is on his way to the city, thus giving them the opportunity to ambush and kill him at the toll booth on the Causeway. It's all a little too convenient, and yet Michael still cannot be 100% certain that Carlo was involved in Sonny's murder.

    When Michael sits down with Carlo in the final scenes of the movie, he needs to know without a doubt that Carlo was responsible before giving the go-ahead. He decides to bluff to get the frightened and cowardly Carlo to admit to his role in Sonny's assassination. It works, and once Michael has confirmation that he has good reason to make his sister a widow, he gives the order to kill Carlo. Carlo's position as son-in-law was the only thing that allowed him to live as long as he did. When Connie finds out her husband is dead, she hysterically says to Michael, "you waited until Papa died so no one could stop you, and you killed him!" Had Carlo been anyone else in ranking, he would have been taken out right after Sonny's murder. Edit

  • Technically, no. Vito's goal in bringing the Commission together is to bring an end to the war in the hope of allowing Michael to return safely to America. Sonny has just been brutally murdered, and the war has gone on long enough, with heavy losses on both sides, both in resources and personnel. Despite their differences, the other men in The Commission know Don Corleone to be a man of his word, so when he swears that he will not seek vengeance for Sonny's death in the interest of ending the violence, the other heads of the Families believe that they will be safe from any acts of vengeance under Don Corleone's orders. However interested he may be in restoring the peace, Vito is hardly a pushover, so it is somewhat puzzling to Tom Hagen (and the audience) why Vito would be so quick to roll over and promise to not seek vengeance in the murder of his eldest son. However, if you listen carefully to the words Vito chooses, he says: "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." In that speech, Vito is only making promises about his own actions, but he says nothing about his successor (Michael) being able to seek revenge later on. When Michael returns from Sicily, he immediately begins learning the ropes from Don Vito, in preparation for the day when Vito would retire or die, and Michael would take over as head of The Family. This is specifically addressed in a deleted scene. Michael and Vito are talking in the garden after Michael has taken over as the Don, and Michael says "You gave your word that you wouldn't break the peace. I didn't give mine. You don't have to have any part. I take all responsibility." Vito smiles and responds, "We have a lot of time to talk about it now", showing that this is what he had always hoped Michael would do. Edit

  • There are many events in this film that cause him to take such a turn, the first being that he felt he was forced to join the family in order to help keep his father from being killed, e.g., the incident at the hospital. Also he committed two acts of cold-blooded murder (Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden)), because he felt he was the only one who could get close enough to those two men -- remember, Michael specifically says "Sollozzo's gonna kill Pop". Then he had to spend about a year hiding out in Italy and leave the woman he loved, Kay, behind with no explanation or chance to say goodbye to her. In the novel, Puzo makes mention of the boredom that Michael feels at having to wander Sicily. He learns much about the Mafia and its traditions as well as the frame of mind of men like his father. This is probably the point at which he turned into the Don he would become. He meets and falls in love with a young beautiful Sicilian woman, Apollonia. Shortly after they're married, they plan to move back to America. However, one of Michael's trusted bodyguards betrays him and places a bomb in a car that explodes and kills Apollonia causing Michael to close off his emotions from his business. In turn, this let him become a much more calculated and ruthless Don. Also it should be remembered that Michael is a World War II Marine Corps veteran who had killed men in combat prior to his career as a mafioso. Edit

  • While Michael is attending the baptism of his godchild, Carlo and Connie's new son, each of the Dons of the other leading Families in New York plus Moe Greene (Alex Rocco) in Las Vegas are murdered by Corleone assassins. Following the baptism, Michael ties up the rest of loose family business. First, he has Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) escorted away, presumably to be killed. He visits Carlo, having learned of his involvement in Sonny's murder, and gives him a plane ticket to Vegas. When Carlo gets into the car for his trip to the airport, he is garroted from behind. Michael goes home, where he is confronted by an hysterical Connie, who has figured out that it was Michael who ordered the assassination of Carlo. Kay (Diane Keaton) asks Michael if it's true, but he denies it. When Kay leaves the room to fix some tea, three of Michael's capos enter. One of them kisses Michael's hand and calls him 'Don Corleone.' Kay realizes then that Michael has become the new Don. Edit

  • There are probably many differing reasons for Michael's actions. Here are a few ideas:

    1. Michael was planning the massacre of the other heads of the New York crime families & Tom might have tried to talk him out of it. The war between the Five Families had been over for a few years and peace had generally been reigning for about that long & Tom might have tried to convince Michael not to commit any more violence. When the big meeting takes place between Michael, Clemenza, Tessio, Tom and Carlo where Michael 1st announces his desire to move the Corleone family to a legitimate business status, he talks about "negotiations being made that are going to answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems" in answer to Tessio's and Clemenza's frustration over Barzini moving in on their respective territories in New York. Those plans likely included the massacre. During the meeting the Don tells Tom, "... there are reasons why you must have nothing to do with what's going to happen", referring to the massacre that Michael was plotting to make the Corleone family the most powerful crime organization in New York again.

    2. Michael and Vito might have placed some of the blame for Sonny's assassination on Tom. Though it turns out that Carlo Rizzi plotted with Barzini to set Sonny up, Michael and Vito probably believed that Tom didn't do enough to stop Sonny from leaving the safety of the family compound that day to find Carlo. Part of Tom's job as consigliere is not only to advise the Don on strategy and business dealings but also to protect the don, especially during times of inter-family war. Think of Tom as the US President's chief of staff in that regard; a person who acts as both an ambassador to and organizer of the President's top advisers. During the meeting mentioned above the Don tells Tom, "I advised Michael" (on Tom's ouster), and further says, "I never thought you were a bad consigliere. I thought Santino was a bad Don, rest in peace."

    3. Michael also says, "you're not a wartime consigliere, Tom." The Don had convinced Michael that Tom wasn't up to the task of being consigliere anymore, especially when the tide was going to turn toward further acts of violence. Instead, Michael goes along with the idea of having his own father be his consigliere because Vito had reigned over the family during previous conflicts with their enemies/rivals. Though Vito dies before the massacre takes place, he was alive long enough to help Michael plan it. Tom wouldn't have wanted to take this course of action & would likely offer poor advice or have tried to stop it. Tom had the ability to advise the Don on what business dealings to secure, but violence wasn't his thing, at least in the later years of his being consigliere. Edit

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