The Godfather

Question: What is the name of the melody/song that is played just after Michael shoots Sollozzo and McCluskey? It is played while you see some newspapers with big headlines etc.

don_corleone

Chosen answer: The mattress montage music is called "This Loneliness." It is written and performed by F.F.C's father.

Question: Why did Don Corleone send Luca Brasi to gather intel on Sollozzo? Wouldn't it have been obvious to the Don that sending his bodyguard, who was widely known to be unquestionably loyal, wouldn't fool his adversaries, which would eventually, with Brasi dead, lead to his own death?

Answer: Luca wasn't Vito's bodyguard, Paulie Gatto was. In Mafioso circles the bodyguard is also usually the chauffeur which was the other part Paulie played. Luca was an independent who had loyalty to Vito. Unlike other members of the family, Luca had his own operation and his own scams. He was usually only called into service by the Don when some particularly nasty piece of business needed to be taken care of for which Luca was paid handsomely. Few people knew why Luca was loyal to Vito, it had to do with a bit of trouble Luca got into with a young girl, Luca was looking at some hard time and Vito was able to get him out of it. As explained in the books, Luca didn't care if he lived or died, he didn't even care if he was killed, but he cared very deeply that he wouldn't be killed by Vito. That was the hold Vito had on Luca which made his loyalty so deep. So far as the rest of the underworld was concerned Luca was just an independent contractor who worked for the Corleone's from time to time. If you'll recall when Kay sees Luca Michael tells her "he helps out my father sometimes." Barzini was probably the only other one who truly understood how deep Luca's loyalty went. So, why did Vito send Luca: Vito thought he was dealing with the Tataglias. Ten years prior to the Sollozo meeting there had been a Mafia war. Vito planned the strategy of the war while Sonny handled the tactics. The war was bloody and costly but the Corleone's were able to out maneuver the other families and come out on top. After that war Vito was top dog of all the 5 families. Had Vito been correct that Philip Tataglia was behind Sollozo, sending Luca would have been a smart move. As Vito mentions after the meeting of the commission "Tataglia is a pimp, he never could have out fought Santino." Tataglia would have seen getting Luca as a huge win, not only would he have Vito's special muscle, but he'd probably also believe he'd be able to get information from Luca. Where Vito made the mistake was not seeing Barzini pulling the strings, had he believed Barzini was involved he'd have handled it differently.

The line in Goodfellas seems illuminating here where Henry Hill explains that the Mafia is essentially an organisation that offers protection for those who can't turn to the legitimate law of regular society. This suggests that these "family" ties are not as strong as we imagine. These criminals are not a definite part of an orderly corporation, like head of HR at IBM, but a loose confederation of connections and loyalties that are rather more fluid. This is a theme also explored very well in the book and film, Donnie Brasco. Therefore, it wouldn't be totally unthinkable that someone in Luca Brasis position could turn to another "family" if he felt it expedient. However, these kind of guys have a tendency towards mistrust.

Answer: Luca was instructed by Don Corleone to act as if he was unhappy with his current position with the Corleone family. In the book, this mission was planned more thoroughly and it was spread out over a longer period of time with Luca frequenting the Tattaglia family's bars and bordellos, where he bitterly complained to the prostitutes and anyone who'd listen about how he was underpaid and undervalued by the Godfather. Either this ploy did not fool Sollozzo or, if he did believe it, he didn't care and used it to send a message to the Corleones by killing Luca.

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Answer: Being a Don for such a long time, Vito has probably seen most every dirty trick used by the other families.

Answer: The Corleones are the most powerful of the New York Five Families. With Don Corleone now retired, Michael is perceived as an inexperienced and weak successor, making him a likely target for the other dons. He would be the most vulnerable at a closed meeting. Vito knows this and that if Michael were assassinated, the Corleone empire would fall apart and their territory taken over.

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Answer: Because at the end of the olive oil war in 1934, Vito used the exact same plan to execute his falling enemy Mariposa, and the traitor in Mariposa's family was his capo Emilio Barzini, and Vito figured out that Barzini will use the same plan to get rid of Michael, an unexperienced boss of a falling family (as known to Barzini).

Question: Two people kiss Michael's ring in the final scene. Clemenza is one, who is the other?

Answer: First, Clemenza kisses Michael's ring, then Rocco Lampone. Al Neri is the one who closes the door, but he is not shown kissing the ring.

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Question: At the start of the film, Michael says that he doesn't want anything to do with the family business. However at the end of the film, he is the don. I've been wondering where exactly does he change his beliefs in the film. Mates have told me its when Vito dies, but I believe its either after the hospital (when Vito is shot the first time) or after Michael's wife in Sicily dies. Are any of these true?

Dra9onBorn117

Chosen answer: It is a gradual process and it happens long before Vito Corleone's death because Michael had already taken over as Don. Michael was deeply affected by his father being shot and nearly dying. Michael changes and will now do anything to protect his father, and in the hospital tells him, "I'm with you now." Michael kills Sollozzo because he knew his father would never be safe while Sollozzo lived. His first wife's death certainly had an effect, but it really is when his brother Sonny, the heir apparent, is murdered that Michael's path is cemented. He also knows that Don Corleone cannot live forever, and with Sonny gone and Fredo being incompetent, the Corleone family will be vulnerable once he dies. To ensure the Corleone empire stays protected and in tact, Michael takes over as Don. He and his father (now retired) then plot to murder the remaining mob heads. Don Corleone had also never wanted Michael, his favorite son, to join the family business, knowing what it would do to him. Ultimately, there was never anyone else capable of succeeding Vito Corleone.

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Answer: Michael's decision is between love and power. These are the two roads of life and you can only go down one, as an ancient Roman said. At the start of the film, his road is obviously love. There's no single moment when he abandons this path - indeed, you can argue that the whole film rests on his gradual, incremental abandonment. The process begins shortly after his father's shooting. In terms of cinema, we first see the process unfolding when he's sitting out in the yard, thinking things over, just before being called in to the telephone. (Notice how, in the next scene, Clemenza mocks love.) Shortly thereafter, Mike is with Kay in the hotel and he's distancing himself from her emotionally. Then comes the hospital scene and "I'm with you now" to his father. He notices his hands are steady during the cigarette lighting. He's well on the path now. Then comes the sock in the jaw and the killing. Now, to be sure, the interlude in Sicily suggests that he is wavering somewhat in the direction of love rather than power - the expression of his face, while they're dancing, suggests that he perhaps might, at this point, opt for love. But then, in rapid succession, he is informed of his brother's murder and his wife is blown to pieces. His fate is sealed.

Question: At the wedding, Vito Corleone says that Carlo is to be given a living, but not allowed in the family business. Before Michael has him killed, he tells him that his punishment for setting up Sonny's murder is that he is out of the family business. When was he let in?

Iain

Chosen answer: He was initially let into the family business when he married Connie, the Don's daughter, but only in a minor way. Vito Corleone knew Carlo only married Connie because of who her family was, and that Carlo was now expecting an important position within the Corleone empire. Because he was mediocre and incompetent, he was relegated to a minor job, and never allowed into the upper ranks, making Carlo angry and resentful. When his involvement in Sonny's murder was learned, the Don couldn't bring himself to have Carlo killed, not wanting to be the one to make his daughter a widow. He knows that Michael will execute Carlo after he becomes Don. Michael kills Carlo for revenge, but he waited to aid his plot to murder the heads of the five families. Killing Carlo before then would tip them off that the Corleones knew Carlo was involved in Sonny's murder. Michael even lulls Carlo into believing he will play an important role when the family moves to Nevada. Michael waits until the opportune time to have him executed, first confronting Carlo to extract information.

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Question: In the scene from the wedding why did Luca Brasi "not expect to be invited", considering he is such a loyal comrade of Godfather?

shikharpande

Chosen answer: Because Brasi was such a vicious killer that he terrified everyone. Even Don Corleone became nervous in Brasi's presence, although the Godfather was the only person who could control him. In the book, Brasi was so monstrous and inhumane that he killed a prostitute immediately after she bore his child, then forced the mid-wife who delivered the infant to throw it into a burning furnace while it was still alive. Terrified for her life, the woman went to Don Corleone for protection. He intervened, and kept Brasi out of prison, earning him Brasi's undying loyalty and service. Don Corleone invited Brasi to the wedding only as a courtesy, although he would have preferred not having him there. The Don is also a diplomatic person (eg, always preferring to reason first), so he would have seen inviting Brasi as a good diplomatic move - showing Brasi that the Don truly values him as a "friend" (you invite friends to weddings).

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Question: When Clemenza is explaining to Michael how to shoot Sollozzo and McCluskey why does he keep on telling Michael to 'drop the gun' when he's finished. Why can't he bring the gun home?

Answer: For one thing, Michael isn't going home. The plan is for him to immediately be taken to a ship headed for Sicily. Secondly, the last thing a murderer wants is to be caught with the gun he just killed someone with. Clemenza tells Michael the gun is "cold," meaning it cannot be traced to any owner. The handle had also been wrapped in a special tape to prevent fingerprints being left on it. Even if Michael had been detained by police, they could not tie the gun to him, and the Corleone family could buy off any witnesses.

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Question: Why did Barzini rip the picture that was taken of him? Sure he's one of the heads of the 5 families which I guess you can say brings a lot of heat to his family, but all he's doing is attending Connie's wedding.

Answer: Barzini does not want anything publicly known about his private affairs, regardless of how innocuous or mundane. If photographers can get away with taking pictures of a mafia don at a wedding, then they'll photograph him and other key mob figures in all type of situations, some more compromising than others. Barzini is warning the press to stay away or risk retaliation. Continuing to take unwanted photos could result in a photographer getting killed.

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Question: When Michael is doing his first "godfather-job" they are in a very big church/cathedral. Does anyone know what that is named?

don_corleone

Chosen answer: The church is St Anthony's in Staten Island. It's no longer in use.

Answer: Mount Loretto Catholic Church. It burned down in 1973 and rebuilt later on with just the front stone kept of the original structure.

Question: What's the name of the music heard when Tom Hagen first arrives to Hollywood to meet with the film Director?

Answer: It's 'Manhattan Serenade' performed by Tommy Dorsey.

ChiChi

Question: Were the pictures from newspapers used in the montage during the War with the other families real pictures from the 30's when the real Italian Mobs were around?

Answer: It appears to be a compilation of staged photos with actors in the movie, and also actual historical ones from that era.

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Question: Just before Michael shoots Sollozzo and McCluskey, what are Michael and Sollozzo saying to each other in Italian?

Cubs Fan

Chosen answer: Solozzo: (indicating Michael's broken jaw) I'm sorry. Michael: Are you serious? Solozzo: You must understand that what happened between me and your father was a business matter. I have great respect for your father, but your father is an old-fashioned man. He doesn't understand that I am a man of honor. Michael: Don't tell me these things. I know them. Solozzo: You know? You know, I have helped the Tattaglia family. I think, we can come to an agreement. I want peace. And let's stop all that nonsense. Michael: Do you want to play...um Solozzo: What? Michael: How do you say..? What I want, what is most important to me is that I have a guarantee.

ChiChi

Question: After Michael shot the Turk and police captain he ran out the front door and the Turk's car was still there. Where was Lou, the driver? Wouldn't he have been standing guard there while the Turk was inside?

MARC6314

Chosen answer: Not necessarily. Both sides were wary of each other, and many arrangements were made on exactly how the meeting would be conducted. The Corleones would have insisted that none of Sollozzo's men other than McClusky be present inside the restaurant. Captain McClusky was Sollozzo's personal bodygaurd, and both he and Sollozzo were convinced that Michael did not have access to a weapon. As Michael was immediately picked up after the murders by a waiting car, it would be reasonable to assume that any nearby Corleone men were watching Lou and would act if he made any attempt to interfere after the shootings took place.

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Question: After Paulie is shot, Clemenza says, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli." Do the two men then walk home, catch a cab, take a bus?

stella01

Chosen answer: No, and this is explained in the book. Everything was pre-arranged, and the entire trip was a ruse solely to execute Paulie for his part in setting up the hit on Don Corleone. Clemenza had Paulie drive them in Paulie's car on the pretense of looking for apartments to house Corleone "soldiers" in the event of a gang war. He directed him to drive and then stop at that specific isolated location (supposedly to relieve himself) where Rocco then shot him. Another car is waiting nearby to pick up Clemenza and Rocco.

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Question: When Clemenza is explaining to Michael how to shoot Sollozzo and McCluskey, he says to take no chances and shoot them both twice in the head. I know he shoots McCluskey twice, but am I correct that he only shot Sollozzo once in the head? (I realize this was Michael's first murder and he was extremely antsy and nervous and may have forgotten and it doesn't really matter since Sollozzo died anyway.) I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing a shot.

Answer: He did shoot Sollozzo only once. This is explained in the book. After shooting Sollozzo, Michael instinctively knew the first shot was fatal, and he purposely ignored Clemenza's instructions.

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Question: Is Don Tommasino a paraplegic?

Answer: Yes. As revealed in Godfather Part II, he was shot in the legs with a shotgun in Sicily while helping Vito Corleone exact revenge on Don Ciccio for the murder of his (Vito's) family. This rendered his legs disabled for the rest of his life.

Question: Why does Sonny write the time that Solozzo calls him at his home to tell him that he has Tom Hagen? He writes "8:30" on the cabinet. I think it's explained in the book, but there is some significance to it.

Answer: Because Solozzo says Hagen will be released in three hours with Solozzo's proposition, i.e., the new terms in the wake of Don Corleone's death (at this point, Solozzo believes he is dead). Sonny writes down the time so he knows exactly when to expect Hagen to be released, and he writes it on the cabinet because he has no paper nearby (he quickly looks around for some before writing on the cabinet).

Question: What was Fabrizio saying in Italian to the Italian soldiers when they were driving by?

Answer: They weren't Italian soldiers, they were American. He was jestingly suggesting they take him with them back to America, as well as a few names of famous Americans. He says: "Hey, hey, take me to America! G.I.! Hey! Hey, hey, hey, take me to America, G.I.! Clark Gable! Hey! America, America, ha! Take me to America, G.I.! Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth!"

This foreshadows Fabrizio's treachery. He badly wants to emigrate to America, so he betrays Michael for money to get there, only to be executed on Michael's orders some years later.

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Question: What is the source of that strange, echoing voice heard as Michael, in the hospital to visit his father, realises that all of Don Corleone's bodyguards are gone and even many of the staff seem to have abandoned the place (the better to facilitate Solozzo's second attempt on Don Corleone's life)? It sounds like a male voice almost chanting the words 'two-nine, two-nine, two-nine'.

Answer: It's a 45 (a small vinyl record that generally held one song per side...a "single") playing on a record player in the nurses' station. It is skipping, thus repeating the word "tonight" over and over. You can see it when Michael arrives at the desk; we also see a half-eaten sandwich.

Factual error: In the scene when Michael visits his father in the hospital in 1945 there's a NYC Fire Dept. Sign on the wall with the name of the Commissioner, Robert O. Lowery, who was commissioner from 1966 to 1973.

Ray Palermo

More mistakes in The Godfather

Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don't have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who's being naive, Kay?

More quotes from The Godfather

Trivia: In the scene where Vito is in the garden with his grandson, he puts a lemon (or an orange) peel in his mouth, and the kid looks scared. Well, the kid really is scared. Marlon Brando improvised that, and the kid wasn't expecting it.

More trivia for The Godfather

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