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Ideology and Genre in the Godfather I

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When he later asserts that ‘ ..that’ s my family Kay. It’ s not me’ , he acknowledges the violence that is part of his family and at the same time distances himself from it. Michael epitomises a post-war immigrant who is proud to be an American. Though he has his roots firmly in his Italian culture, he does not hesitate to adopt into his new environment which is bolder and more outgoing. The sexual exploits of the eldest son combined with his hot temperament depict a typical young man of that time of America.

The daughter, Connie is a submissive wife who defends her husband in spite of the fact that he abuses her physically. The projection of women, throughout the film, tells a lot about their status in the post-war era of America. Be it immigrants like the protagonist’ s family or Kay, who is Michael’ s girlfriend who later becomes his wife, women all through the film, have been shown as someone who needs protection and looking after rather than as individuals with decision making powers. Their world is confined to their home and family.

The film is outstanding in its narration of the theme of violence with overtones of justifications of survival. The killers and murderers are shown as human-being who is kind and understanding with a strong sense of family. Money is not the criteria for killing. The purpose behind it may make it imperative but even then it is taken up as the last resort. The severed head of the prized stallion in the bed of the Hollywood film director Woltz was a way of convincing the director to heed the advice of Tom Hagen, godson of Godfather, and make Johnny as ‘ hero’ of his forthcoming film!

The connotations indeed were violent and it is a fact that the mere hint of the violence makes people compliant. The film has successfully endorsed this theory. The film uses the violence either as a business strategy or as a punishment for family betrayal.

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