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Is “The Godfather” Based On True Story

The Godfather

Based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling 1969 novel of the same name, The Godfather is a 1972 American crime movie that was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and for which he also co-wrote the screenplay. Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, and Diane Keaton are among the actors that appeared in the movie. It is the first film in the trio about The Godfather. The narrative, which spans the years 1945 to 1955, follows the Corleone family under patriarch Vito Corleone (Brando), with particular attention paid to how his youngest son, Michael Corleone (Pacino), went from being a reluctant family outcast to a cunning mafia leader.

The Godfather, official trailer (Credits: YouTube)

On March 14, 1972, The Godfather had its world debut at Loew’s State Theatre. Moreover, on March 24 of the same year, it received wide distribution in the U.S. With between $250 and $291 million in box office receipts, it was the greatest movie of 1972 and the highest-grossing movie ever for a while. Critics and viewers alike praised the film’s direction, writing, cinematography, editing, score, and representation of the Mafia, in addition to the overall performance, especially those of Brando and Pacino.

Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in The Godfather (Credits: YouTube)

A classic of the gangster genre, The Godfather, is recognized as one of the finest and most impactful movies ever filmed. It was chosen in 1990 for conservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress after being judged to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.” The American Film Institute ranks it as the second-greatest movie ever made in America, just behind Citizen Kane. The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III were the sequels that came after it (1990).


The Cast of The Godfather:

The cast of The Godfather includes-

  • Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone
  • Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
  • James Caan as Sonny Corleone
  • Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
  • Diane Keaton as Kay Adams
  • Talia Shire as Connie
  • John Cazale as Fredo
  • Abe Vigoda as Tessio

The cast of The Godfather (Credits: Parade)


The plot of The Godfather :

Don of the Corleone mafia family, Vito Corleone, attends requests at his daughter Connie’s wedding to Carlo in 1945 in New York City. At the celebration, Michael, the youngest child of Vito and a former Marine, presents his girlfriend, Kay Adams, to his family. Vito’s godson Johnny Fontane, a well-known singer, asks Vito for assistance in landing a movie part. Tom Hagen, Vito’s consul, is sent to convince studio chief Jack Woltz to provide Johnny with the role. After discovering the decapitated skull of his cherished steed in his bed, Woltz agrees.

Decapitated skull of his cherished steed in his bed (Credits: YouTube)

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, drug lord Sollozzo solicits Vito’s financial support and legal immunity. Vito declines, stating that taking part in drugs would cause his political ties to become hostile. Vito sends his henchman Luca Brasi to speak with the Tattaglias because he is concerned about Sollozzo’s association with the Tattaglia criminal family. Brasi is killed by being garroted at the meeting.

Later, enforcers shoot and kill Vito while capturing Hagen. Sonny Corleone, the family patriarch, is now in charge, and Sollozzo puts Hagen under strain to convince Sonny to agree to the drug trade. Sonny hits Bruno Tattaglia in retaliation for the death of Brasi. Following the clearing out of Vito’s guards by NYPD cops working for Sollozzo, Michael visits Vito in the hospital after he escapes the gunshot and discovers him there defenseless. Michael stops a second try on his father’s life, but Mark McCluskey, a dishonest police captain, beats him.

Michael visits Vito in the hospital after he escapes the gunshot (Credits: YouTube)

To resolve the conflict, Sollozzo and McCluskey want to meet with Michael. While seeming to be interested and agreeing to the meeting, Sonny and Corleone capo Clemenza come up with a scheme for Michael to kill the two men and then flee. At a cafe in the Bronx, Michael runs into Sollozzo and McCluskey and murders both of them to death with a revolver Clemenza had hidden in the restroom.

The Five Families engage in open combat in spite of a crackdown by the government following the murder of a police captain. While Fredo, Vito’s second son, is protected by Moe Greene in Las Vegas, Michael seeks safety in Sicily. Carlo is publicly attacked and vilified by Sonny for beating Connie physically. When he mistreats her once again, Sonny rushes to their house but is ambushed and killed by criminals at a toll plaza on the highway. In Sicily, Michael falls in love with and marries Apollonia, a local lady, but she is killed soon after by a vehicle bomb meant for Michael.

Apollonia killed by a car bomb (Credits: YouTube)

Vito arranges a conference with the Five Families after learning of Sonny’s passing and growing weary of the battle. He promises them that he will stop opposing their drug operation and forego exacting revenge for Sonny’s murder. After being assured of his safety, Michael goes back home to start the family company and marry Kay. Two children are born to Kay in the early 1950s. Michael takes over as Leader of the Corleone family as his father approaches the end of his life, and Fredo is unqualified to do so.

Michael is informed by Vito that Don Barzini was the one who gave the order to kill Sonny, and Vito also forewarns him that Barzini would make an attempt on his life at a gathering called by a treacherous Corleone capo. Michael demotes Hagen to overseeing operations in Las Vegas since he is not a “wartime consigliere” with Vito’s assistance. Michael is shocked to discover that Fredo is more devoted to Greene than to his own family when he flies to Las Vegas to buy out Greene’s part in the family’s casinos.

The Baptism Murders in The Godfather (Credits: YouTube)

Vito passed away after suffering a heart attack in 1955. Tessio’s treachery is indicated when he invites Michael to meet with Barzini during Vito’s burial. The meeting is scheduled on the same day as Connie’s child’s baptism. The Five Families dons and Greene are killed by Corleone vigilantes as Michael, the child’s Godfather, waits at the altar, and Tessio is put to death for his betrayal.

After getting Carlo to admit to being involved in Sonny’s murder, Michael assures him that he is merely being banished, not killed, and Clemenza then executes Carlo by garroting him. While Kay is present, Connie asks Michael about Carlo’s passing. Kay queries Michael about Connie’s veracity and is relieved when he replies negatively. Tessio attended Vito’s funeral Capos approached the office and saluted Michael as “Don Corleone” before actually shutting the door as Kay exits.

Is Godfather based on a true story?

Nevertheless, a lot of elements of the book are, at the very least, inspired by actual Mafia organizations and their operations in New York in the 1940s.

Five Families

The idea of the “five families of New York” is unquestionably grounded in reality. Although each Leader and his family borrow traits from actual New York families, there doesn’t seem to be a direct correlation between any of the families. For instance, the Gambino family in reality and the Tattaglia family in The Godfather both had a prostitute industry. Leader Philip Tattaglia, on the other hand, is rumored to be more of a Tommy Lucchese clone than a Gambino boss or relative.

The Godfather’s five families are as follows:

  1. The family of Corleone
  2. the family Tattaglia
  3. The Barzini household
  4. The Cuneo clan
  5. Familie Stracci

New York City’s five families are as follows:

  1. Families Genovese
  2. The family of Gambino
  3. The Lucchese household
  4. The Colombo household
  5. The family of Bonanno

The Five Families in The Godfather (Credits: YouTube)

The Council

Another family-based idea that was depicted in The Godfather and had a solid historical foundation is the Commission or the Mafia’s ruling body. In both the movie and real life, the Commission is in charge of arbitrating family conflicts and approving new employees and employers. Even though both fictitious and real stories have witnessed several rogue murders of Dons, only the Commission has the authority to remove a ruler from office.

The Council in The Godfather (Credits: YouTube)

Moe Greene

His death scene, in which the gangster gets shot in the eye, is a well-known moment in cinema. Many people assert that the assassination of actor Siegel in real life served as the basis for this killing. However, while Mario Puzo may have been inspired by the slaying, Siegel was really shot several times, including in the head. Although Siegel’s eyeball remained unharmed, the damage caused by these explosions to his eye socket gave the appearance that he had been fired in the eye.

A still-innocent Michael Corleone dines with Virgil Sollozzo and dishonest police chief in one of The Godfather’s most well-known sequences, then shoots both men dead in cold blood after a brief bathroom break. Public executions have a notorious past in American criminal history, but this specific scene is based on a 1931 occurrence that happened on Coney Island. Charlie’s “Lucky” Luciano attempted to unseat Giuseppe Masseria, his then-boss, as a result of the aforesaid intergenerational power struggle among New York City’s gangs.

Moe Greene and Fredo Corlene (Credits: Pinterest)

Luca Brasi

Moretti had a lighter temperament than Brasi, which was evident during the Kefauver trials in the 1950s and provided some insight into the Mafia’s internal workings. This is very different from Brasi’s more reserved personality and his frightened reverence for the authority he has inside the Corleone family.

Lenny Montana as Luca Brasi in The Godfather (Credits: Pinterest)

Tessio’s Disloyalty

As said, there are several examples of treachery inside the Mafia, but Tessio’s narrative is strikingly similar to that of Gaspar DiGregorio, who was Similar to Tessio, DiGregorio was high in terms of members of his family, the Bonannos, but Don’s own son was given the position of consigliere instead of DiGregorio. In retaliation, DiGregorio ignited the Banana War, which divided the family between Bonanno loyalists and DiGregorio backers between 1964 and 1968.

Tessio was guilty of questioning Michael’s leadership skills, despite the fact that ambition and envy weren’t his primary driving forces. He also attempted to set up a conference that was intended to be calm but ended up being violent. DiGregorio tried a similar meeting-concealed ambush with Joseph Bonanno, which would result in the murder of Michael.

Al Pacino and Salvatore Tessio together in The Godfather (Credits: Pinterest)

Vito Corleone

One of the best-known movie characters is Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando. However, the role was based on a number of real-life criminals, with Frank Costello, the former head of the Genovese family, having the most significant effect. There are many significant connections between Vito’s narrative and that of Frank Costello since Brando heard tapes of Costello’s oral confession while getting ready for his iconic portrayal as The Godfather.

Francis Ford Coppola in The Godfather (Credits: YouTube)

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