Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, is the main character in the Godfather movie trilogy. He is the youngest son of Vito Corleone, and brother of Sonny, Fredo, and Connie Corleone. In the first Godfather, Michael is introduced in his 20’s. He was enrolled in Dartmouth college, but to the chagrin of his family, he dropped out to join the Marines during WW II. He was awarded for his military service in the Pacific, and re-enlisted at Dartmouth. Michael did not want anything to do with his the Corleone family business.
His father knew that he was destined for better things as well, and wanted him to go into politics.
However, as his father got older and the mafia landscape evolved, Michael was forced to involve himself. After an attempted assassination on his father, Michael felt it was his duty to defend his father. In retaliation, Michael suggests that the people that tried to murder his father must be killed. He decides that he will be the one to avenge his father, and kills both men in a restaurant.
Shortly after, Michael flees to Sicily for two years. While in Sicily, he got married to a woman named Appollonia. After he is married, he learns that his brother Sonny was killed back home.
His wife was then killed by a car bomb which was intended for Michael. Since Sonny was murdered, Michael decides to return home to serve as the new heir apparent to the Corleone family. When Michael returns home Michael vowed to turn the family’s business completely legal within the next few years. He marries his college sweetheart Kay, and they have two children over the next few years. As Michael’s father goes into retirement, he becomes the official head of the family. His first act of business was to purchase an ownership stake at a casino in Las Vegas, and moves his family to Nevada.
He is informed that there will be an attempt on his life by a rival family. In retaliation, he orders the killings of the other mafia heads, as well as his sister Connie’s abusive husband who had set up the murder of Michael’s brother, Sonny. After the dust settles, the Corleone family was re-established as the most powerful family in the country. The murder of Connie’s husband sent her into a fit of rage; however Michael knew it had to be done. At the next family meeting, Michael is addressed as Don Corleone for the first time.
The next film, Godfather 2, resumes the story 5 years after the ending of the first movie. Michael is now in his mid-30’s, and although the family is still revered as the most powerful crime syndicate, he is still focused on going legitimate. Because the family has become so powerful, Michael has created enemies that keep pushing him towards criminal activity. He has started working with his father’s longtime friend, Hyman Roth, in order to move forward with his hopes of owning a casino. During the first communion of Michael’s son, there was an assassination attempt.
Michael thought it was Hyman Roth, and Hyman had been working with someone inside the family as well. In order to find out who tried to kill him, Michael continued to work with Hyman so that he could figure out who he could not trust in his family. After the assassination attempt, Michael travels to Cuba with his brother Fredo, and Hyman Roth, in order to finalize a business deal. Key people Vito “Don” Corleone – The strongest influence on Michael was his father. Although Michael was thought of as an outcast when he decided to go into the armed forces, he was always revered as Vito’s smartest child.
Once Sonny was assassinated, Michael knew that it was his duty to avenge his father and carry the family on his back. His only living brother, Fredo, was too weak to command the respect and loyalty needed to be head of the family. The most obvious influence that Vito had on Michael was the importance of loyalty and tradition. This is very clear when Michael decides to avenge his father by killing a police officer that was involved with an attempted assassination. Tom Hagen – Longtime friend of the Corleone family, and appointed advisor to Michael.
Michael considered Tom a brother, and looked to him for advice. Typically, the family only trusted those of Italian descent when dealing in the family business. Although Hagen was of Irish and German descent, he had been raised by Vito Corleone and was considered family. Although Michael was a very headstrong leader, Tom was able to reach him at certain points of the story. For example, when Michael decided to attack the rest of the mafia Dons, Tom urged him to be careful and use prudence. Fredo Corleone – Fredo Corleone is Michael’s older brother.
However, he was never considered as heir apparent when his father passed, and Fredo resented Michael for that. There were various instances where Michael knew there had to be a leak in the family. Information was getting to his enemies that he only shared with people from his inner circle. Michael later discovers that Fredo had been plotting to have him killed. His jealousy became too overpowering, and he was being influenced by outsiders. Key Events Death of Vito Corleone – The biggest transition we see in the entire trilogy is Michael’s evolution during the passing of his father.
He quickly goes from clean-cut Ivy League kid, to fearless leader. While his father was alive, Michael wanted nothing to do with the family business. However, after the death of his father and brother Sonny, Michael changed significantly. He became more a more callous, cold-hearted person and fully submerged himself into a life of crime. Attempted assassination at his son’s communion – After there was an attempt on his life at his son’s communion, Michael knew that he had created more enemies than friends. The worst part was that he knew there was a mole in the family.
After this event, we get to see how smart Michael really is. Rather than assuming the hit was external and acting hastily, he takes a more calculated approach. This led him to his discover his brother’s betrayal. What Michael stands for Tradition – In almost every mafia movie, we see the importance of honoring tradition. Michael was surrounded by those involved in the family business his entire life. He was very close with his father, and did his best to emulate him. Loyalty – Just like his father, Michael was loyal to his family and friends, and expected the same from them.
Those who were found to be disloyal were killed. This is simply because of the risk that was taken in order to perform illegally. One person could take down an entire family, by either informing the police or aligning with another family. Because of this, it was important that Michael communicated to the rest of the families that disloyalty would not be tolerated. If someone were to cross him, he had to take action. If no action was taken, he would be considered weak and risk everything. Decisiveness – As a leader, it was important for Michael to make decisions quickly and stand by them.
Many times he was faced with situations that compromised the well-being of his family, but he had to stand by whatever he thought was best for the future of the organization. Showing indecision to his subordinates would communicate weakness, and ultimately damage their belief in his leadership abilities. Why I chose Michael Corleone Michael Corleone is one of the most interesting personas in the last few decades. The reason why I chose to examine the leadership style of this character is because of how dynamic the context was in which he lead.
In such a short period of time, he was introduced to a world of business where crime and legacy were of great significance. For the most part, CEO’s today get to enjoy the separation of business and life at home. However, in this case, family and business were mutually exclusive. As we see in the trilogy, there are many instances where Michael has to make decisions that affect both. One of the most significant difficulties Michael faces is not only managing his organization, but avoiding criminal punishment.
Ensuring loyalty throughout the organization is essential, as one person could bring down the family if they decided to cooperate with the police. How his leadership style and ideas will help with my development as a leader The most admirable trait that Michael exhibited was his ability to lead through high pressure situations. No matter how dangerous things got, he was able to keep a cool head and weigh his options without the interference of emotions. This is something I definitely want to improve on, as sometime I tend to let frustration hinder my progress.