“I’ll make him an offer he cannot refuse”Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather I
Telling the compelling story of an Italian crime family, the Corleone Family, named after the town of its Sicilian origination, the Trilogy of The Godfather has become one of the greatest sagas in movie history. Written by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the 10 hour epic narrates the story of eight-year old Vito Andolini (Brando), escaping from the town of Corleone out of a deadly threat of a local mafia killing. Being sent to New York at the break of the 20th century he makes his way to the top of the five New York mafia families. Now feared and respected, Don Vito is known by all as the Godfather. In the course of the trilogy the aging Don rules his empire with the aid of his four sons: quick-tempered Sonny (Caan), weak Fredo (Cazale), Ivy League-educated Michael (Pacino) and adopted Tom Hagen (Duvall), nearly each of which comes to a death tragically connected to the heritage of his father. As the next generation Don of the family, “Commendatore” Michael grabs for the power and expands the business beyond the US national borders becoming the ruthless and fiercely powerful head of a conglomerate of drug and gambling businesses, backed by top-level corruption, killings and betrayal. Distinct to common gangster movies, the often colliding interests of old friends, business partners and enemies makes this movie a fine tuned masterpiece on the complexity of friendship, trust, honor and politics.
For the purpose of this paper, prior knowledge of the movie eases the understanding of the sometimes long reaching and fine notions in the characters actions. Nonetheless the presented background information on the course of actions will be sufficient to enable the reader to fully understand the implications of each analyzed move. Subject of this analysis will be the Don’s reach for the control for an international business conglomerateImmobiliare.Several parties are striving for this position in the third part of the epic, often using third parties for their moves, following different but not always mutually exclusive objectives.
Parties and Interests
“Our ships must all sail in the same direction…”Michael imitating Don Lucchesi
Being at the height of his powers at the end of Part II, Michael concludes that all his effort to protect his family from the horrors of this world has put him in the position of a feared and respected billionaire business man. In part III however the aging Don realizes, that he would have to cut loose all his illegitimate roots to his past to finally secure his family’s and in particular his children’s future. Also being troubled by the mistakes of his past, he feels that turning his vest to a legitimate member of the society would in addition enable him to make peace with his mind. Striving for Legitimacy, peace of mind and protection of his family he enters the conquest ofInternational Immobiliare.
Being a European based conglomerate managing assets in real estate around the globe, worth more than 6 billion dollars, Immobiliare’s recent losses of about 700 million dollars caused by badly managed operations led its major shareholder, the Vatican Bank into serious liquidity trouble. Immobiliare clearly offers a once in a lifetime chance for Michael to clear his family’s name having the reputation of the Vatican attached to his businesses. However, the potential of Immobiliare attracts the attention of several other parties. The Vatican Bank’s vote as the majority shareholder is necessary for the approval of any new shareholder.
The Vatican Bank
Suffering from Immobiliare’s recent write-offs the Vatican Bank faces a deficit of 769 million dollars. Looking for new financing to close this gap, Michael Corleone apparently is the only available source of financing at short notice. The Church however is concerned about Michael’s criminal reputation and hesitates to enter the deal.
The Other Families
Michael’s past and current business partners, the other Dons in the US organized crime business are grateful to Michael since he earned a fortune for most of them and has been a reliable and honorable partner in the past. Nevertheless, they feel that Immobiliare could become a century deal. They feel that Michael’s effort to cut loose his past and his current partners is meant to keep them out of this deal. They demand to become partners in Immobiliare to use it to turn their money legitimate as well. Michael obviously cannot agree and faces their anger. To Michael it is not yet clear who is pulling the strings behind this conspiracy or how to reveal it.