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The Godfather: A First-Timer Reflects And Wants More

30 June 2008 2 Comments

I love The Godfather series. I think it can teach us tons of manly skills in several aspects, and my wife finally got a chance to see I and II today for the first time (III doesn’t really count since Bobby Duval was not invited). She spent nearly the entire day in front of the television, completely enthralled with what the Corleone’s would do next.

I was working in the other room for most of the day, and every 10 minutes or so she would scream my name and I would have to run to see what she was going nuts about. There are countless lessons to be learned from this epic American masterpiece, and I thought what a great idea for a post (or at least two).

Today, let’s just focus on a few winners from The Godfather Part I:

Al Pacino/Marlon Brando: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

This is arguably the most notable of the quotes from the movie. It is a classic piece of American lexicon. It all started with Al Pacino (Michael Corleone) telling his future bride to be about the time when his father had to make someone an offer they could not refuse. He tells Kay (Diane Keaton) that “Luca Brasi, held a gun to his head, and my father assured him, that either his brain or his signature would be on the contract.” How is that for an offer?

Look, does this make any sense for any sane person? No. But the lesson learned here is to find the hot buttons and only at the most opportune moment, go ahead and push them to get to what you need. This fits under another core Manliness Trait: Nothing is ever given. If you want something, you have to take it.

Al Pacino: “My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a President or Senator.”

To this, Kay says rebuts (she was very new to the whole mob thing at this point in the movie): Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed!

To which Michael says: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?

Really, this one point is very telling. I know we would all like to believe this has never happened, and maybe it doesn’t happen any more like what it implies in the movie, but it still holds true. Powerful men (and women) send the message to have folks killed all the time. Most of the time it does not happen the way the Corleone’s handled it, but nevertheless, it happens in one way or another.

Al Pacino: “Fredo, you’re my older brother and I love you, but don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.”

This one is a classic. It foreshadows the fate of the lovable Fredo who went all Brutus on his brother Michael. The lesson here is also a core Manliness Trait: Protect Your Family At All Costs. Don’t underestimate this lesson. I have found throughout my life that even some of my best friends don’t have invested in me what my own family does. Even if they did, you never take sides with anyone over your wife or your family. This piece of advice could have probably saved half the marriages that end in divorce.

In summary, there are so many more to get to, I will have to do another post on this. I will do The Godfather II tomorrow and maybe address my personal thoughts on the entire series in a third post. These are two movies that are legendary manly movies. Michael Corleone, regardless of terrible of a person he was, he exhibited many manly characteristics that most men, I believe, wish they could follow in their lives.

I know that after watching the first two movies, my wife was clear what she wanted to see more in her man and other men she interacts with. I think there are plenty of good things to come out of these movies. If you have not seen them yet, get out there are rent them.

Finally, check out this video. This is the original trailer of the movie when it first came out in 1972.

What are you favorite manly lessons learned from The Godfather?


  • Alex Kay said:

    Lesson #1: You can get away with anything if you have a gun. Seriously.

    Nah. Great movies though, and fun reads over here!

  • Charity B. said:

    I can see why your wife would love these films — I do too! Ironically, that’s how I first found this website, by doing word searches for Michael Corleone. I discovered the trilogy last year, but recently re-watched it, and spent an unusual amount of time attempting to discern why I liked Michael so much, in spite of his horrific actions. The bottom line is what you wrote in your article, that he exhibits manly behavior. There is nothing more attractive than a man willing to do anything to protect his family, who has the intelligence and self-control to remain calm in even the most dire of situations. And although I cannot condone his behavior, it is a far cry from the vast majority of wimpy men I have encountered.

    Keep up the good work on this blog / website. The world could use more manly men in it.

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