The American Gangster’s Sacrifice
The aim of this paper is to shed light on the personal struggles of the American gangster in Little Caesar and The Godfather, and their incapability to balance true relationships with a life of organized crime. I will focus on the sacrifices made by these gangsters in order to achieve a life of power and wealth, the American dream. It is nearly impossible for a true gangster to have a traditional family. I will specifically examine the relationships and personal characteristics of Rico from Little Caesar and Michael Corleone from The Godfather Part II. I will explore how a theme of loneliness is portrayed in the two films and demonstrate how having an emotional connection to anyone can result in a downfall for a gangster in power. The theme of trust will be detailed through the analysis of both Rico and Michael. In Little Caesar, Rico’s one objective in life is to make it to the top. This is articulated well in the early scene at the diner where he tells Joe he will be known, and decides to move to Chicago in order join Sam’s gang. Rico’s only intent as a member in the gang is to become the most well-known, most feared, and ultimately the most powerful gangster. He was very jealous of the gangsters he read about in the newspaper because they were famous, powerful, and could not be caught by authorities. The lives he read about are attractive to him and what Rico aspired to be. Once he became a part of the gang, he is seen as a brutal and cruel character that will destroy anything or anyone in his way. He instills fear in his comrades in order to gain respect, by becoming a “shoot first, argue afterward” kind of gangster (Kamisky 39). Rico demonstrates his gangster mentality when he shoots down former comrade Antonio in front of the church. Rico explains to the others that you cannot trust anyone. Antonio, who helped Rico with many robberies prior, was going to try to leave the mob and Rico would not let anyone betray him....
Cited: Kamisky, Stuart. "The Individual Film: Little Caesar as Prototype." American Film Genres.
(1985): 21-42. Print.
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