"A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
The truth of this statement lies in the individual minds that perceive it, but anyone who's seen this classic knows a father's influence can produce a variety of different results. Here's a road map to the complexity that is the Corleone offspring to help you get acquainted.
Which product of the family business do you resonate with most? (Hint: if you can't decide, ask your father).
Santino "Sonny" Corleone
Strengths: Physically attractive, head-strong, loyal, protective
Weaknesses: Hot-tempered, reckless, stubborn, sexually careless, lacks rational judgement
Development: Sonny is the definition of the age-old saying, "Only the good die young." Although only present for a short period of time in the first of the Trilogy, Sonny's impact on the entire family is tremendous. He was a fighter- a trait that turns out to be his rise and demise. Sonny spent his years making it clear he would lay down his life for his family, and ultimately, he did.
"I have a sentimental weakness for my children, and I spoil them, as you can see. They talk when they should listen." - Don Vito Corleone
At the wedding of his younger sister Connie to his good friend Carlo, an already-married Sonny embarked on an affair with the maid of honor; the affair resulted in an illegitimate child who grew into a chilling replica of his father.
Although ruthless with his enemies, Sonny refused to physically harm anyone or let anyone who couldn't defend themselves be harmed (including women and children)- a seemingly heroic characteristic that quickly turned fatal and didn't consider emotional turmoil.
Sonny making sure Carlo understands not to lay a finger on his sister ever again.
After receiving a phone call from his distressed sister (who was frequently abused by her dead-beat husband) Sonny didn't waste a moment to speed to the rescue.
However, that very moment could have saved his life. He didn't consider that it was a trap. He let anger cloud his judgement; he spoke and acted without thinking rationally, and he paid the price for it.
Do you find yourself seeking revenge when you or someone you love has been wronged? Do you let your emotions do the talking? Do you lead with your heart over your brain? If anger is your primary weapon, then you're probably a "Sonny."
Frederico "Fredo" Corleone
Strengths: Friendly, sympathetic, self-oriented
Weaknesses: Naive, easily manipulated, insecure, speaks without thinking
Development: Fredo is a follower. Plain and simple. After failing to pull the trigger in defense of his father (who was gunned down on his watch), Fredo fell into a sickly panic.
He couldn't cope with his actions (or lack thereof), so Sonny sent him to stay and recuperate with an ally of the Corleone family in Vegas. With the "help" of Moe Green, Fredo learned the casino business and developed a playboy persona.
In a negotiation meeting between Michael and Moe Green, Fredo took the side of Green. Michael gave Fredo a cold warning to choose his loyalty wisely.
"Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But, don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever." - Michael Corleone
It's pretty clear his self-portrayal as a player was just a mask of his insecurities. He didn't really know what he wanted or how to obtain it, and he certainly had no sense of predicting the consequences of his actions.
Fredo spent so much time focused on making something of himself, he never recognized he was already a part of something much bigger and more important.
Initially unbeknownst to Michael, Fredo betrayed him by striking a deal with a rival of the Corleone family. It wasn't until an attempt was made on Michael's life that Fredo was found out and admitted there was something in it for him personally to have accepted the deal.
He also admitted his frustration in being overlooked when his younger brother was chosen as the new Don, revealing that many of his actions were fueled by jealousy and insecurities.
A life of self-indulgence and ignorance to deceit lead Fredo to an execution ordered by his own brother.
Do you struggle with making important decisions, often letting others make them for you? Do you let your insecurities dictate your judgement more than you should? If you aim to have fun to drown out reality, then you're probably a "Fredo."
Michael "Mike" Corleone
Strengths: Persuasive, level-headed, confident, decisive, natural leader
Weaknesses: Ruthless, puts the family business before his marriage, closed-minded when it comes to tradition
Development: Michael wasn't always aware of his potential. He was the only son not interested in getting involved with the family business, and he devoted his youth to serving his country. However, the attempt on his father's life prompted Michael to take action against the enemy.
Michael giving his signature cold stare before his milestone murder, officially involving himself into the family business
Following the murder of the two main men responsible, Michael fled to Italy where he hid for the next couple years. He didn't mind sacrificing himself or his future for the good of the family; some would say he was just as ruthless as Sonny, although much calmer and more strategic.
His selfless actions continued throughout the remainder of his life, although the repercussions of his decisions began to pile up slowly but surely. The burden of killing his own brother ate away at his mental health and begins to cloud his judgement.
On top of his few but major regrets, romance was not one of his priorities. He left his girlfriend-turned-wife-turned-ex-wife in the dark since the beginning of their relationship; he refused to involve her in any of the family business in an effort to protect her, but once he became the Don, his frequent dismissal of her due to his devotion to his career crumbled their relationship.
Like his father, he had a knack for decision-making and thinking rationally for the most part; however, he desired vengeance more than peace: a flaw that led him and everyone around him into a web of destruction.
After the murder of Michael's teenage daughter when caught in the middle of an assassination attempt on his life, he ends up dying alone, a life of constant burden and war (mentally and physically) finally behind him.
Do people often say you take on too much, but you have a hard time admitting it's a burden? Do you struggle with the desire versus the capability of incorporating romance into your lifestyle? If you sacrifice your own well-being for the good of the group, you're probably a "Michael."
Constanzia "Connie" Corleone
Strengths: Resists abuse, feisty, develops weaknesses into strengths
Weaknesses: Mentally and physically drained, not taken seriously, encourages emotional decision-making
Development: Connie's character was severely influenced by her environment. She presented an outstanding case for the "nature versus nurture" debate as she spent most of her life in the shadows of her brothers. The culture of the Italian Mafia poses a paradox for women: they are claimed to be protected and left out of harm's way, yet marital abuse is swept under the rug.
A mistress calls for Carlo, instigating the argument between Connie and her husband that resulted in Sonny's death
Connie spent the majority of her life being put on a pedestal as a symbol. The opening scene of the first movie reiterated her as an important figure, considering her father could not refuse a favor on the day of his daughter's wedding.
However, Sonny was the only one who cared enough to get involved with her home life. Because interfering with her husband Carlo's domestic violence could put a strain on family business, it was overlooked.
Connie telling Sonny that the argument was her fault in attempt to prevent him from acting against Carlo out of anger
After Sonny's death, Michael had Carlo executed for setting the trap. Connie lost what was left of her mind over the matter and began to act out of spite against Michael. Over time, she slowly but surely picked up the shattered remains of her life and became the backbone of the family business as Michael deteriorated.
She convinced Michael to allow Sonny's illegitimate son into the business and ended up taking out her own godfather with a poisoned canoli for plotting against the family. Although Michael was part of the reason her life was in shambles, Connie still loved him and his children, and she wept as if she had lost one of her own when his daughter died.
Have you overcome some sort of mental or physical abuse? Are you picking up the pieces and rebuilding a new you? Has your pain and suffering made you that much stronger? If you're tired of being a doormat and ready to make a comeback, then you're probably a "Connie."
Which Corleone kid are you? Leave a comment below!