Thanks in part to its incredible script, The Godfather is one of the few movies that has truly stood against the test of time. Released in 1972, The Godfather movie is a timeless masterpiece that is still enjoyable to watch today. With the book by Mario Puzo that the film is based on already beyond its 50th anniversary, let’s take a look at some of the most memorable quotes from The Godfather.
His Brains Or His Signature
- Michael Corleone: My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
- Kay Adams: What was that?
- Michael Corleone: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract. That’s a true story.
- Michael Corleone: I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So, I stole a bike and asked him for forgiveness.
- Don Vito Corleone: Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It’s more than the government. It is almost equal to the family.
- Calo: In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.
- Sonny Corleone: Do you think this is the army, where you shoot ’em a mile away? You’ve got to get up close like this and – bada-bing! You blow your brain over your nice Ivy League Suit.
NERD NOTE: James Caan’s character, Sonny Corleone, first popularized the catchphrase “bada bing” in The Godfather. Decades later the phrase was used in tribute as the name of a fictional strip club in the HBO series The Sopranos. The Bada Bing! was a central filming location for the TV series.
Being A Businessman
- Sollozzo: I don’t like violence, Tom. I’m a businessman. Blood is a big expense.
- Don Vito Corleone: I have a sentimental weakness for my children and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should listen.
A Family Man Is A Real Man
This is one of the great Godfather quotes about family.
- Don Vito Corleone: A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.
Family Comes First – Quotes From The Godfather
- Michael Corleone: Fredo, you’re my older brother and I love you, but don’t you ever go against the family again. Ever.
Do What I Beg You to Do
- Bonasera: What do you want of me? Tell me anything but do what I beg you to do.
What’s The Matter With You?
- Don Vito Corleone: You can act like a man! What’s the matter with you? Is this how you turned out, a Hollywood finocchio that cries like a woman?
Justice As A Gift
- Don Vito Corleone: Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. Until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.
- Don Vito Corleone: Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Friends And Enemies
- Don Vito Corleone: A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults.
- Michael Corleone: I respect those who tell me the truth no matter how hard it is.
- Don Vito Corleone: I have learned more from the streets than in any classroom.
- Don Vito Corleone: Great men are not born great, they grow great.
Keep Your Friends Close But Your Enemies Closer
This is definitely both one of the most famous and most memorable quotes from The Godfather.
- Michael Corleone: There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
The Secret to Success
- Michael Corleone: Never let anyone know what you’re thinking.
- Don Vito Corleone: Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.
Never Go Against Family
- Don Vito Corleone: You can do anything but never go against the family.
Leave The Gun Take The Cannoli
Clemenza finishes taking a leak after he and his companion kill Paulie.
- Clemenza: Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.
A Lawyer’s Career
After discussing Tom Hagen’s legal career.
- Don Vito Corleone: A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.
Never Hate Your Enemies
- Michael Corleone: Never hate your enemies. It clouds your judgment.
An Offer He Can’t Refuse
Talking to Johnny about Jack Woltz.
- Don Vito Corleone: I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Why These Famous Godfather Quotes Are So Memorable
A big reason why these quotes from The Godfather are so memorable, is that it’s more than just another crime film. It was a reflection of how life in the mob was back then and its impact on the Corleone family. Realism grounded the Godfather movie and made it more relatable to those living during those times.
Despite the movie being decades old, the plot, cinematography, and direction by Francis Ford Coppola hold up alongside modern-day films. Throw in the amazing performances by its cast, including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall, and you have a film that can become an instant favorite by anyone who watches it. We only have these famous Godfather quotes thanks to the talented actors that delivered them.
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NERD NOTE: Don Vito Corleone’s distinctive voice was based on real-life mobster Frank Costello. Marlon Brando had seen him on television during the Estes Kefauver hearings in 1951, and imitated his husky whisper in the film.