Michael Corleone

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Snafu the Great

You cannot have a character respect forum without at least one thread with a character played the legendary Al Pacino.

So I flipped a coin...and Mikey was the winner over Tony Montana.

Michael's Background

Full Name: Michael Francis Corleone
Nationality: American (parents hailed from Sicily)
Date of Birth: October 15, 1920
Place of Birth: New York City
Date of Death: Christmas Day, 1996
Place of Death: Town of Corleone, Sicily
Age: 24-35 (Part 1); 38-39 (Part 2); 59-60 (Part 3); 76 (at time of death)
Height: 5'7" (this is Pacino's actual height)
Weight: Unknown
Family: Vito Corleone (formerly Andolini), father (deceased); Carmella Corleone, mother (deceased); Santino Corleone, brother (deceased); Tom Hagen, adopted brother (informally, deceased); Frederico Corleone, brother (deceased); Constanzia Corleone (formerly Rizzi), sister (deceased); Apollonia Viteli-Corleone, first wife (deceased); Kay Adams second wife (divorced); Anthony Corleone, son; Mary Corleone, daughter (deceased); Vincent Mancini Corleone, nephew
Occupation: Don of the Corleone Family (1950-1980)
Portrayed By: Al Pacino (all films)

Don Michael Corleone is the main character and protagonist in the Godfather film series, in which he was portrayed by Al Pacino. Corleone, as portrayed by Pacino, was ranked as the eighth greatest movie character of all time by Total Film Magazine, and was recognized as the 11th most iconic villain in film history by the American Film Institute.

Born in 1920, to Vito and Carmella Corleone, Michael was deeply loved by his father, even prompting Vito to murder blackmailer Massimo Fanucci so he could support Michael and the rest of his family. He became a bright and handsome young man, and of all of Vito Corleone's children, Michael was said to be most like him in terms of intelligence, personality, and cunning.

Michael initially wanted nothing to do with the Corleone's "family business," even though everyone assumed that he would take over from his father, and enrolled at Dartmouth College in order to escape it. After the United States' entry into World War II in 1941, he enlisted in the Marines and fought in the Pacific, despite his father's express command not to do so. For his bravery, Michael was featured in Life magazine in 1944. Michael was discharged as a Captain to recover from wounds in 1945 (unbeknownst to him, the doctor treating him had been bribed by his father to exaggerate his injury in order to send him home). He would later re-enter Dartmouth, where he would meet his future wife Kay Adams. However, when his father was nearly assassinated in 1945, he volunteered to murder the men responsible, Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey, a police captain who was acting as Sollozzo's bodyguard. Michael showed his cunning when he suggested that the Family use their contacts in the newspaper to play up McCluskey's connection to the drug lord Sollozzo, thereby relieving some of the flack that the Corleones would receive afterward. After committing the murders, Michael fled to Sicily under the protection of Don Tommasino and stayed in hiding for two years, where he learned of the Mafia's roots. While in Sicily, he fell in love with, and soon married, a beautiful young woman named Apollonia, but she was killed by a car bomb intended for Michael. After this, Michael decided to fully join his father's business.

While in Sicily, he learned that his older brother Sonny had been murdered and he returned to New York in 1950. There, he reluctantly became involved in his family's criminal enterprises, taking over for his deceased brother as head of the family under Vito's supervision and subtly attacking the other Families' businesses. He married Kay a year later. Michael tried to buy out casino owner Moe Greene's stake in the casino, intending to move his family to Nevada.

After his father's retirement in 1950, he became Don of the Corleone crime family. Before his death in 1955, Vito had warned Michael that after he was gone, the head of the rival Barzini family would make an attempt on his life under the pretense of organizing a meeting to make peace between the two families. After his father's caporegime, Salvatore Tessio, inadvertently revealed that he had conspired with Emilio Barzini against him, in one of the film's most iconic scenes, Michael arranged the murders of the leaders of the New York Mafia's other ruling families Dons: Emilio Barzini, Phillip Tattaglia, Carmine Cuneo, and Victor Stracci, as well as Greene, Tessio, and Carlo Rizzi , his brother-in-law, who beat his sister Connie and sold out Sonny.

A few years after the move to Nevada, Michael, now in his mid-thirties, had tried to remove all criminal ties to his family, and made Pete Clemenza head of the Corleone Family in New York. Clemenza died of a supposed heart attack, and was replaced by family friend and soldier Frank Pentangeli. His efforts at redeeming the Family were largely unsuccessful, however, as his many enemies kept him involved in the crime underworld. After beginning to work out a deal with business partner and rival Hyman Roth over control of casino operations, Roth manipulated Michael's brother Fredo into unwittingly providing him with information used to arrange an attempt on Michael's life. He also attempted to murder Pentangeli before convincing the Capo that Michael was to blame.

Michael and Roth travelled to Cuba under Fulgencio Batista to forge a partnership with the Cuban Government, allowing them to be free to conduct their operations in Cuba without interference from the authorities, in return for generous payments to Batista. While in Cuba, Michael sent his loyal bodyguard Bussetta to eliminate Roth on New Year's Eve, while the old man was hospitalized. That night, he discovered Fredo had been in cahoots with Roth, leading Fredo to flee during Castro's takeover that night, during which Bussetta failed to kill Roth, and was instead killed. Roth survived and attempted to flee to Israel.

Back in the US, Kay became unable to accept her husband's criminal activities. Kay revealed she had aborted their child because she did not want to give Michael another son. Hurt and angered by this second betrayal, Michael divorces Kay and severs ties with her, forbidding her to take care of the children. This happened at the same time as the Senate Mafia Hearings, where Frank Pentangeli had been persuaded to testify against Michael, but the arrival of his brother Vincenzo made him renounce his testimony. Fredo returned to Tahoe at this point, and Michael severed all ties with his brother following the revelation that Fredo had encouraged Dominic to attack the Manganos after a supposed hit, and withheld vital information from him about the hearings, namely that the Senate lawyer, Questadt, belonged to Roth.

Following the death of Carmella Corleone and at the behest of his sister Connie, Michael appeared to reconcile with his brother, but secretly ordered Fredo's murder to be carried out, an act he would regret for the rest of his life and eventually confess to the future pope. He also sent Rocco Lampone to kill Roth at JFK airport.

Michael's troubles were only momentarily halted, for his treacherous capo, Nick Geraci soon re-emerged, having lived in a cave near Lake Erie following his departure from the Family. Michael sent out a manhunt against him, led by Tommy Neri and the DiMiceli brothers, but this failed due to the unreliability of Michael's CIA contact, Joe Lucadello. At this time, Carlo Tramonti, the Don of New Orleans caused a stir in the Commission by announcing his plans to assassinate President James Shea.

Eventually, Geraci was brought out into the open with the help of Don Stracci and Don Frank Greco. Michael had his former associate executed by Eddie Paradise during an ambush on Staten Island. Don Tramonti and the treacherous Lucadello were also killed.

Snafu the Great
By 1979 Michael, an old man now, had taken great steps to making the family legitimate, preparing to hand over his interests in gambling to the other Mafia families, setting up a charitable foundation, and even being recognized by the Vatican for his good works. This new connection to the Church gave Michael the opportunity to purchase a controlling stake in the large property company, Immobiliare. He also began to rekindle his relationship with Kay, as well as taking Sonny's illegitimate son, Vincent "Vinnie" Mancini, under his wing, after the headstrong youth attacked Michael's subversive New York Boss, Joey Zasa at a party. Zasa later wiped out most the Commission, yet Michael and his old friend Don Altobello escaped. Michael had a stroke, and whilst incapacitated, Connie gave Vincent and Al Neri the go-ahead to kill Zasa.

Michael soon discovered that Immobiliare, specifically the wily Liccio Lucchesi and the scheming Archbishop Gilday were out to fleece him, and he sought the assistance Don Tommasino. Tommasino directed him to the honest Cardinal Lamberto, to whom Michael confessed his sins, including the murder of Fredo.

Michael later returned to Sicily to watch Anthony perform at the Teatro Massimo. However, he soon became aware of an assassin, Mosca de Montelepre, whom Don Altobello, in league with the plotters, had hired to kill him. Montelepre killed Tommasino, and Michael vowed before his dead friend's coffin, to sin no more.

Following this vow, weary of the bloody, lonely life of a Don, Michael retired and made his nephew the new head of the family, on condition that he end the relationship with Mary. Realising that powerful interests in Italian politics and business were working to prevent the family's takeover of Immobiliare, Michael, with Vinnie's assistance, once again prepared to move against his enemies. This bloody wave of murders took place as Michael, reconciled with Kay and Anthony, watched his son perform in the opera Cavalleria Rusticana. That same night, however, Mary was inadvertently killed in an assassination attempt on her father, being shot to death in front of her whole family. Devastated by this loss, Michael retired to Sicily and died there Christmas Day 1997, seemingly distraught and alone, of a stroke in the film's final scene while sitting in a chair in front of the villa where he and Apollonia had made love.

Sadako of Girth
Excellent character. Epic saga.

Respect to Don Corelone.

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