I have only watched it start-to-finish once, I believe, and that was twenty years ago. Now that I knew what was going to happen, I was able to appreciate the nuances of the film, particularly the ground-breaking portrayal of gangsters as complex characters who love their families and look upon what they do as “just business.”
In that spirit I offer you five life lessons from The Godfather.
1. “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
Vito Corleone backs this statement up. He works part of the time from his home office so that he can be with his family as much as possible. Children and grandchildren overrun the family compound, sometimes even darting into his workspace. When he comes home from the hospital, family surrounds him as he lifts a hand in blessing. He dies playing in the backyard with his grandson.
2. “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family.”
The family bond is sacred. Internal disagreement is one thing; Don Corleone encourages the input and listens to the counsel of his sons before making his decisions. But once that decision is made, a united front should be presented to outsiders at all times.
3. “We don’t discuss business at the table.”
There’s work time, and there’s family time. When you are with your family, you should be with them.
4. “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
Priorities are important, and so are the promises we make to the people we love. Don’t let work responsibilities stand in the way of family obligations.
5. “I’ll take care of you now. I’m with you now. I’m with you.”
We owe something to the people who raised us. Someday we may be called upon to care for them as they cared for us.
What lessons have you learned from the movies?