Michael Corleone

From Academic Kids

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Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II

Michael Corleone is a fictional character in Mario Puzo's novel, The Godfather. He was also the main character of the film trilogy that was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Michael Corleone was played by Al Pacino in all three films.


Michael is the youngest son of Don Vito Corleone; in the film played by Marlon Brando and in Part II as a younger Vito by Robert DeNiro. Michael becomes the new Godfather of the Corleone crime family towards the end of Part I, when his father passes away.</p>

Born in 1920, Michael initially wanted nothing to do with the Corleone "family business," enlisting in World War II and returning a decorated war hero. Upon his discharge from the Marines, Michael enrolled at Dartmouth College, but when his father was nearly assassinated in 1946, against Sonny's wishes, Michael volunteered to murder the men responsible. He then fled to Sicily and stayed in hiding for two years. While in Sicily, he was briefly married, but his wife was murdered by a rival.

Upon returning to New York in 1949, he learned that Sonny had been murdered the year before and became reluctantly involved in his family's criminal enterprises. He married his longtime girlfriend Kay Adams in 1950. After his father's death in 1955, he assumed control of the Corleone crime family, and arranged the murders of the leaders of the Mafia's five ruling families.</p>

Over the next decade, Michael tried to remove all criminal ties to his family, but his many enemies (as well as his own arrogance) prevented this. He ordered many murders, but without doubt the worst was that of his own brother, Fredo, in 1959 as revenge for unintentionally providing his enemy Hymen Roth with information Roth used to try to assassinate him. Having his brother killed haunted him for the rest of his life, and worsened his estrangement from Adams, whom he banned from his family for having an abortion.

By the late 1970s, Michael had made the family business legitimate, funneling all the money from his years of crime into a world bank, Immobiliare, and began to rekindle his relationship with Adams. He had begun to groom a successor, Vincent 'Vinnie' Mancini-Corleone, Sonny's illegitimate son, but abandoned all interests in the business (and, indeed, life itself) in 1980 after his beloved daughter, Mary, was killed in an assassination attempt meant for him. He retired to Sicily and died there in 1997.



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