Skip to main content

The Godfather (1972)

By Michael Schilf · May 26, 2011


Screenplay Genre: Crime / Drama / Thriller

Movie Time: 175 minutes


Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) attends his sister’s wedding with his girlfriend Kay Adams (Dianne Keaton) at the Corleone family estate. It’s a high society affair, with all the top Italian families are in attendance. When Kay mentions that Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), one of the guests, looks like a scary guy, Michael explains that Luca does the dirty work for his father, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). He uses strong arm tactics, forcing people to sign contracts with guns to their heads. Kay is visibly stunned. Michael responds, “That’s my family Katie, it’s not me.” (00:22:20)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

After refusing to finance Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) in a new narcotics business venture, Don Vito Corleone is shot down in the street. Michael, during a night on the town with Kay, learns of this from a newspaper headline and rushes to his father’s side – right into the arms of the family that he had worked so hard to distance himself from. (00:45:15)


Michael realizes that the attempts on his father’s life are not going to stop. He suggests that his brother Santino “Sonny” Corleone (James Caan), the new Don, set up a meeting between himself and The Turk and Capt. McCluskey (Sterling Hayden), a dirty cop on The Turk’s payroll, in the guise of establishing a truce. But instead, Michael murders The Turk and McCluskey with a planted gun and flees to Italy, where he is protected by “The family”. (01:27:28)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

After Santino is murdered in a hail of bullets, Don Vito makes a deal with the rival Italian families to ensure Michael’s safety. Michael returns from Italy and takes his place as the new Don Corleone. (02:16:32)


During the ceremony where Michael is to become godfather to his sister’s baby, members of the Corleone gang strike at all the heads of the rival families, murdering the key players. This official ceremony where he is becoming godfather to his niece is in essence also where he officially becomes the true Godfather of the Corleone family, taking back any lost power through a tremendous force of violence and cunning. The Corleone legacy is safe and will live on into the future under the competent guidance of Don Michael Corleone. (02:40:13)