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Comparison Between the Movie and Novel “The Godfather”

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Italian writer Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather in 1920. In 1972, the book was made into a movie. Part two followed in 1974, and part three in 1990. The plot follows the feuds between five big New York mafia families. Compared to the movie, the book had many more side stories featuring supporting characters. Of note is how the novel version had an epilogue that the movie completely ignored. Although there are some changes and flaws, the 1974 film adaptation of the book has a similar plot and is a very good film version. It is one of the best book adaptations ever.

One of the main things that made the movie different from the book were the side stories of relatively unimportant minor characters. In the novel, side characters with side stories include Johnny Fontane, Al Neri, Lucy Mancini, and Luca Brasi—even Nino, who was completely ignored in the film. These characters were relatively unimportant to the main plot, however, in the book, they had their own stories and backgrounds and subplots. In the movie, Johnny Fontane was just mentioned as Don Vito Corleone’s godson and had gotten help from the Don on his way to the top as a singer and actor. However, in the book, Johnny Fontane was given much more background information, such as about his personal life with his two divorced wives, and describing his first as “pretty, petite, and brunette, the girl next door who would never fool around with another man” (167). The book also elaborates on his weak voice and journey into his acting career. As well, there were some looks into Al Neri’s past, while in the movie, there was only one scene of him—in the police uniform, shooting Phillip Tattaglia. Same with Lucy Mancini; the book describes her intimate affair with Sonny Corleone as “the only man in the world who could make her body achieve the act of love” (324).

The book also describes her moving to Las Vegas and falling in love with a doctor; however, the movie only shows her having a love session with Sonny Corleoni. Nino Valenti, was also given a little story, as Johnny Fontane invited him to “fly out tomorrow morning and sign a personal contract for five hundred a week for a year” (185). Five hundred might not sound like a lot to us; however, back then, around the 1920s, five hundred dollars was a fortune. This is quite odd because in the book, Johnny calls him out of nowhere, asks him to come out to Las Vegas to be his right hand-man and offers him a fortune; however, in the movie, Nino was never even mentioned. The directors of the movie had done a great job in cutting the unnecessary parts out, as Nino was nowhere near relevant towards the main plot. In this case, the movie has a stronger plot compared to the book as it gets right to the point, and does not take the side detours on other supporting characters.

The Godfather is considered one of the best books about gang violence during and around The Great Depression. Its blockbuster movie came out just a few years later, and boosted the title’s reputation tremendously. The Godfather transitions through its scenes very well, and runs through the playing time nicely as well. Even with its subject matter, The Godfather is definitely classic literature, and the film is also a classic.

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