Michael Corleone (March 23, 1920 - 1997) is the villainous protagonist of Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather, and the deuteragonist of The Sicilian, as well as the titular main protagonist of The Godfather film trilogy by Francis Ford Coppola.
Born in 1920 as the youngest son of Vito Corleone, he was the younger brother of Sonny and Fredo, the adoptive brother of Tom Hagen and the older brother of Connie Corleone. He later succeeded his father as Godfather of the Corleone family following his retirement. Thanks to Michael's expert manoeuvering, all of the family's enemies and rivals were killed and the Corleone family rose to be the most powerful mafia in New York.
In the film trilogy, he was portrayed by Al Pacino.
Why He Rocks
- Al Pacino is at the top of his game in his role as the titular Don, especially in the second film. Pretty impressive, considering he was 31 when was acting in the first film.
- Prior to the story's major events, he has served as a World War II marine captain, and had won the Navy Cross during his time in the war.
- He starts off as the white sheep of the Corleone family, and has an eventual turn to the corrupt mob side that doesn't fell forced at all. He starts things off with his attractive girlfriend planning to have a non-criminal future, then after his father's near assassination, he decided to visit his wounded father in a seemingly deserted hospital, sensed someone else was nearby and chose to get protective and defensive over his father against Sollozzo and McCluskey (both of whom tried to kill him). Eventually, he discovers how calm and patient he can be in danger and under pressure, murdered Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey, had to escape to Sicily, returned to New York after his brother's assassination, officially decides to become Don and orders a massacre that wipes out the leading rivals and the traitors within their midst.
- He earns his reputation as one of the franchise's most complex characters, as he's kind of a tragic hero and a ruthless villain. That part especially begins to show as Part II kicks in where he completely eradicates his conscience from the first film and becomes one of the deadliest assassins in the city. That being said, he also somehow becomes a tragic figure due his past haunting him and him going against why his father had created the Commission.
- Another notable thing he did as Don was that he had expanded the business empire to other territories and gave Peter Clemenza, Joey Zasa, and Salvatore Tessio their own to manage.
- As a Don, Michael is smart, observant and a master manipulator and savvy figure like his late father. He's also mainly able to keep a subtle tone and staying calm even when threatening someone, which makes him very unpredictable. This is a stark contrast to his older brother Sonny, who spent most of his Don time being very intense, taking everything personally and not always thinking things through.
- Michael had faced more threats to his life than Vito himself and he impressively managed to dodge them all. Plenty of opponents from Hyman Roth to Lucchesi tried to kill him but failed. The fact that there were many attempts on Michael's life yet none succeeded showed just how smart and careful he was as a boss.
- Michael Corleone came in 11th place in the Villains category on AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains countdown.