The Godfather really is the story of American capitalism


The Five Families is a commercial institution that determines specific geographic territories. Like any chamber of commerce, they arbitrate disputes and enforce regulatory oversight. The Corleone family operates in New York, controlling politicians, the press, and the police, as well as their day-to-day business interests.

Vito Corleone is the boss, managing director of the company and sits on the board of directors. Sonny Corleone (James Caan), the underboss, is CFO. Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), the consiglier who knows that “a lawyer with his briefcase can rob more than a hundred men with guns”, is general manager. Fredo (John Cazale) seems to be the human relations manager. Over the course of the film, the family explores operational diversification and expansion, leading to rapid succession planning. As new boss Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) disrupts the competition while transforming operations into a global organization.

Leadership qualities

“My dad is no different than any other powerful man, any man responsible for other people, like a senator or a president,” Michael tells his girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton), a WASP from New Hampshire who clings to traditional America. values. “Do you know how naive you seem,” she asks. “Senators and presidents don’t kill men.” It’s a punchline that Michael can only roll his eyes at.

Nicholas Machiavelli The prince is one of the most cited books in the upbringing of a mob father. He is mentioned in Puzo’s novel and in Joseph Bonanno’s autobiography, A man of honor. He also sits on the shelves of many successful businessmen, alongside Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People and The art of War by Sun Tzu. A Prince is not only above the law but the source of the law, structuring the political and social order. He does not accept the rules that condemn him to a life that does not suit him. Vito considers himself the equal of presidents and ministers. He intends to enter society with power because society does not protect the powerless.

Machiavelli writes that a leader must know how to imitate both the lion and the fox, to use force and cunning. Corleone can be loosely translated as “lion heart” and Sonny represents the king of the jungle. Hagen is the fox. Michael combines trickery and violence from his very first job in the family business. He is the civilian that Sollozzo will not suspect, the prodigal son as sponsor. The assassination of upstart entrepreneur and NYPD captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) destroys a monopoly.

Beat the competition

The Corleones are skilled media players. During the reprisals against Sollozzo, Michael points out that there are journalists on the family pavement. They would love a story about a rogue cop caught up with drug dealers who got his due. It constitutes an alibi, poisons public perception and protects the family brand. When Hagen forces the Hollywood studio executive to cast Johnny Fontane in a movie, it’s also with an eye on the future of the Corleone family legacy. The notoriety of the singer is essential for the expansion of the company towards the west.


Comments are closed.