Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola's trilogy of organized crime masterpieces, collectively known as The Godfather trilogy, have impacted America unlike any movie since. Rather than filling the movies with hours of bloodshed and unnecessary gore like so many mafia-oriented movies, Puzo and Coppola instead chose to write a great story, focusing on issues left out of most mob movies, and then supplement this story with tasteful, almost theatrical violence used to make a point about the style of life depicted in the movies. The story of the Corleone family, the New York City organized crime family The Godfather trilogy focuses on, is one of mixed emotions, of love for family, but at the same time of murder, ruthlessness, and cutthroat business tactics.
[...] While Don Corleone recovers in the hospital from gunshot wounds, the rest of the family tries to figure out what to do. When Tom, who has been raised by the Corleone family since he was orphaned at age twelve, tries to advise the Don's eldest son Sonny not to rush to attack the other families in revenge, Sonny replies by saying “That's easy for you to say, it's not your father they killed” (Puzo, 98). Hagen responds by reminding Sonny he is just as much as son to the Don as any of them, and Sonny apologizes to Tom. [...]
[...] However, the most obvious sign of Michaels unfortunate conversion comes when he learns it is his younger brother Fredo who helped Hyman Roth make an attempt on Michael's life at the Corleone compound. Despite Fredo's protests that he did not know Roth was going to attempt a hit, Michael has Fredo killed shortly after the death of their mother. It is at this point in the story that it becomes obvious that greed has turned Michael into a leader quite unlike his father, a leader who has allowed greed and corruption to seep in and ruin every aspect of his life. [...]
[...] The wedding is a huge event, and every relative and employee of the Corleone family attends, including Vito's godson Johnny Fontaine, who travels all the way from Hollywood to attend. Ironically, it is Vito, known amongst the family as Don Corleone, who speaks most about the importance of family. When talking to a prospective business associate, the Don asks, you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real (Puzo, 102). [...]
[...] It is within this cursed fate, however, that Vito Corleone ultimately finds redemption and justice, albeit an ironic form of the latter. Through hard work, determination, and ruthless, cutthroat business tactics, Vito Corleone builds himself up from a penniless peasant into a millionaire mobster. He is able to support his family, he treats his friends well, and he removes his enemies from competition, the same way any great businessman would. Perhaps Puzo's most bunt commentary on Vito's realization of his own “American dream” comes in a short conversation between Michael and Kay. [...]
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