Puzo, Mario. "The Godfather" (1972)


The movie starts off as "Don" Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia "family", oversees his daughter's wedding. His beloved son Michael has just come home from the war, but does not intend to become part of his father's business. Through Michael's life the nature of the family business becomes clear. The business of the family is just like the head of the family, kind and benevolent to those who give respect, but given to ruthless violence whenever anything stands against the good of the family. Don Vito lives his life in the way of the old country, but times are changing and some don't want to follow the old ways and look out for community and "family". An up and coming rival of the Corleone family wants to start selling drugs in New York, and needs the Don's influence to further his plan. The clash of the Don's fading old world values and the new ways will demand a terrible price, especially from Michael, all for the sake of the family. Long story short, This movie is about Michael Corleone as he deals with his life as the don of his father's mafia family. - taken from imdb.com

My Review and Analysis

This movie is okay in my opinion; it does a good job of reflecting on the history of how the Italian American Mafia takes care of their business to support themselves or their loved ones. This movie also reflects on how these people can be in their lives, as well as shows them trying to gain power through drug trafficking, murder or any other type of criminal activity; they also make ends meet or take their revenge by committing criminal acts. Not all of these acts involve violence, but they are pretty brutal. An example of some of their nonviolent acts would be the part in this movie where Johnny Fontaine is asking Vito Corleone to help him land a role in a movie that Jack Woltz is directing. Vito sends his consigliere (counselor) Tom Hagen to meet with Woltz, to try to persuade him to cast Johnny in his movie. When Hagen and Woltz meet up, they talk for a bit, however Woltz refuses to cast Johnny in his movie. The next morning, Woltz gets shocked to find the head of his racehorse in his bed. Some good examples of the criminal activity and things that the Italian American Mafia deals with, is shown in this movie. One of them is in the part where Michael is arranging all of the dons of the five Italian mafia families to be killed. One of the characters in this movie named Moe Greene is based heavily on a real time gangster named Bugsy Siegel who like Greene, ran a hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Greene is also similar to Siegel in the way that he is described as “flying off the handle once and a while” and “slapping Fredo around in public.” Greene also states that he “has to kick ass just to make his business run right and goes on to say that he hurt Fredo because he has been screwing up on the job.” The way that Moe Greene got killed also is similar to the way Bugsy Siegel died, because both of these people were shot to death, except Moe Greene died from being shot once in the eye and Bugsy Siegel was shot several times when he was killed. Moe Greene reflects the very bad, short-tempered gangster that is Bugsy Siegel and he made his living as a gangster in Las Vegas, he also ran a hotel just like Greene did in the movie. This is one of the many aspects of the movie that involves crime and gangsters.

Despite the true events that this movie is reflecting on, this movie is a lot different from other gangster movies in the way that it shows more depth to the Italian America Mafia lifestyle and what they were like with their family and criminal lives. This movie also shows the morals that the members if the Mafia live by in the scene where Michael protects his wife Kay from being shot by assassins that were sent to kill Michael. Another scene shows Sonny Corleone beating up Carlo for abusing his wife, which is Sonny’s sister. “Although many films about gangsters had been made before The Godfather, Coppola's sympathetic treatment of the Corleone family, their associates, and his portrayal of mobsters as characters of considerable psychological depth and complexity was hardly usual in the gangster movie genre” (allmovie.com). “The Godfather” was the cinematic influence for a lot of other movies that came out much later down the road, like “Goodfellas,” “Casino,” “Mean Streets” and “The Sopranos.” The same thing could be said about its sequel “The Godfather Part II,” which continued right where the first movie left off. “The Godfather parts 1 and 2” were successful both critically and financially as well as influenced other mob movies that came out later. Several things about the film became popular, like the scene in "The Godfather" where Moe Greene gets shot once in eye and dies from it. This shot to the eye became popularized and became known as a 'Moe Greene Special.' The popularity of "The Godfather" became such a great film that it was also refernced and parodiedin other works like the animated cartoon series called "The Animaniacs" where it shows a parody character of Don Vito called The God Pigeon. Many aspects about the criminal activity that goes on in "The Godfather" is referenced in the movie called "Shark Tale" which has a plot that is similar to that of "The Godfather," except it shows it in a more comical light.


- Mario Puzo. The Godfather. Longmans Canada Limited. 1972. Toronto, Canada.
-Pileggi, Nicholas. Wiseguy. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1985. New York, NY.
- Pileggi, Nicholas. Casino. Simon & Schuster, Inc. 1996. New York, NY.


· N/A. 2009. FEB 14 1929: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. N/A. N/A.
· Von Lampe, Klaus. 2009. Recent publications on organized crime. 1Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY. New York, NY.
· Heber, Anita. 2009. The networks of drug offenders. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. Stockholm, Sweden.


- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646/plotsummary
- http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/the_godfather/7.html
- http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_166.html
- http://www.allmovie.com/work/20076