A cinematic masterpiece, The Godfather is regarded as one of the best films of all time. The casting alone contains an impressive list of stars such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and James Caan. Awards and high praise by movie critics were rained down on The Godfather after its release in 1972 and quotes from the film would be remembered for years to come.
Although The Godfather is almost 50 years old it remains relevant to this day. It is often parodied in pop culture, television, and movies. Fans of The Godfather can still quote it’s most famous lines to a tee. Do you remember these iconic quotes from the film?
“You Come Into My House On The Day My Daughter Is To Be Married And You Ask Me To Do Murder”
The opening scene of The Godfather is one of the most iconic in cinematic history. In this sequence we are introduced to Don Vito Corleone, quietly listening to the pleas of a fellow Italian man. The first few lines of the film establish that Vito is incredibly powerful. The Italian man, Amerigo Bonasera, admits to him that the police did not give him justice for the brutalization of his daughter and he begs The Godfather for help. It is apparent that Vito possesses a higher power than even the police.
Vito eventually grants Bonasera’s request, but not without chiding him for approaching him on his daughter’s wedding day when he had never reached out in friendship before. It was, however, in Bonasera’s best interest to make his request on this day. Tom Hagen later explained that a Sicilian man cannot refuse a request on his daughter’s wedding day.
“Luca Brasi Sleeps With The Fishes”
The death of Luca Brasi is a pivotal scene in The Godfather. It marks the beginning of the violence orchestrated by Sollozzo against the Corleone family. Although it is pretty apparent early on that The Godfather is a violent mafia crime film, Luca Brasi’s death is the first time an actual murder is shown on screen.
Luca Brasi is the muscle of the Corleone family and he was sent to spy on Sollozzo. During his mission, Luca Brasi is garroted to death in a surprise attack. The Corleone family then receives a dead fish wrapped in Luca Brasi’s bullet-proof vest. Clemenza remarks that this is a Sicilian message meaning, “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”
“My Father Assured Him That Either His Brains Or His Signature Would Be On The Contract”
This quote ties in with a famous line of Don Vito’s which will appear later in this list. In this scene, Michael tells Kay the story of his father getting his godson, Johnny Fontane, out of a personal service contract.
When the band leader initially refused to sign the paperwork releasing Johnny from his contract, Vito returned with a gun-toting Luca Brasi. He assured the bandleader that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I Never Wanted This For You”
This quote, spoken by Don Vito to his son Michael, is an extremely poignant moment in The Godfather. In his conversation with Michael, Vito discusses how hard he worked his whole life. He says, “I refused to be a fool, dancing on a string held by all those — big shots.” Then he expresses his dismay that Michael got mixed up in the family business just as his older brothers did. He had hoped that Michael would have been the one to hold the strings in a legitimate way, perhaps as a Senator or Governor.
In the film’s movie poster, the title is held up by puppet strings, symbolizing The Godfather’s ability to control the moving pieces in his empire. Despite the power experienced by Vito, there is also a sense of defeat in this quote. Although Don Vito was able to control his empire, he was unsuccessful in keeping even his youngest son away from a life of crime.
“Leave The Gun, Take The Cannoli”
When Peter Clemenza leaves his home for the day, his wife calls after him, “Don’t forget the cannoli!” Then he and Rocco take a drive with Paulie, with the intention of killing him for betraying the Corleone family. The three pull over on a country road so Clemenza can “take a leak” and Rocco fires three shots into Paulie’s head.
As Clemenza returns to the car, he instructs Rocco, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” This popular quote from The Godfather was also improvised by Richard Castellano. We’re pretty glad he thought of that line.
“I’m Gonna Make Him An Offer He Can’t Refuse”
Don Vito’s mantra is repeated throughout the film. The first time he speaks this quote is to assure his godson, famous singer Johnny Fontane, that he will get the part in a movie he’s been eyeing. The sinister implications of these words are explained in Michael’s quote mentioned above.
This famous line shows the duality of The Godfather. On the surface he might appear to be simply a shrewd, intimidating businessman. However, upon deeper examination, he is far more terrifying and powerful.