Dr. Nirmal Trivedi
January 30th, 2010
Two Men’s World
----An Analyses of Godfather and Apocalypse Now
Godfather and Apocalypse Now, both are great movies, and both are the first windows, through which I first saw America. At the first sight, these two movies seem to have a lot of similarities: both are one of the best hits in history, both starred by Marlon Brando and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, both slow-paced and 3-hour long, and both had a deep influence in the American society. On the other hand, two movies have so little in common: one is talking about the Mafia in New York, yet the other is demonstrating the wars in the Indo-China Peninsula; one is completely rational and calm, where the old Don hearing that his son was killed, just showed his grief for one second and then turned to business, yet the other went to another extreme, showing an entire insane world, where men were either mad or going mad. However, if we examine the two movies carefully and only grasp the kernel, we’ll find that both movies are actually between two men Don Vito Corleone and his counterpart in the other film Colonel Kurtz, who are both strong in mind, worshipped by people and is the center of power in his world, Thus, both movies together, the Godfather
and Apocalypse Now are demonstrating a two-man world, filled with philosophy, wisdom and a strong will.
Let’s look at the Godfather, Don Vito Corleone first. Don Corleone appeared at the very start of the film, which was the wedding party of Don’s daughter Coney, and the beginning scenes already fully demonstrated the Godfather’s high and divine place. As Sicilians never refused any requests on a wedding day, many people came to the Godfather for “justice”, one of whom was Bonasera, an Italian-American undertaker. The film started by his famous line, “I believe in America”, at which time the screen was still dark; then his face and forehead appeared on the screen, and he continued “America has made my fortune”. However, America failed to give him justice: His daughter was beaten to disfigurement and almost raped but the suspects only received a suspended sentence. Thus he came to Godfather, who was awed y because of not only his personally charm but also influence and deterrence. Interesting the reply of the Godfather was that he didn’t agree or decline at the beginning, but he began to mock that Bonasera never treated him as a friend and never invited him to café. Sadly, the obtuse Bonasera didn’t get Godfather’s message, and proposed that he could pay money. Then the Godfather had implicitly pointed out:”If you'd come to me in friendship, then the scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day…...” Then the most interesting scene comes: When Bonasera tentatively asked “be my friend”, Godfather did not answer and was just casually looking around; Finally Bonasera realized what he should do: he then bowed, kissed Corleone’s hand and called him “godfather”. And Corleone replied with “Good”, which was enough to bring justice to this
poor undertaker. From the dialogue above, it is not hard to get the implicit message from the Godfather, that though he was asking people to come in “friendship” and to treat him to a café just like a friend, he did not really want to people do so; Every action he did and every word he spoke was suggesting that they did not deserve to call him “Corleone”, instead they should call him “Godfather” and bow and kiss his hand. It is this kind of worship, that though he stays close to you, he is always overlooking at you and that though he never forces you to do anything, he just makes you fear.
Colonel Kurtz, also portrayed by Marlon Brando, built a similar worship in the other movie Apocalypse Now. Opposite from the Godfather, Colonel Kurtz did not appear until the last part of the movie. His image, however, has been impenetrate through the movie, though is vague most...