Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Purple Heart. European Campaign Medal. Asia Campaign Medal. Michael Corleone is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Mario Puzo 's novel, The Godfather. Michael is the youngest son of Vito Corleone , a Sicilian immigrant who builds a Mafia empire. Upon his father's death, Michael succeeds him as the don of the Corleone crime family. In June , Michael Corleone was recognized as the 11th most iconic villain in film history by the American Film Institute , although some critics consider him to be a tragic hero.
Corleone crime family
In a story about crime, Vito was a character who was as anti-gangster as you can think of. He was a family man who chose the mob life to bring security to his loved ones, and conducted his business very close to the legitimate level. While he was still a criminal, he was also a sharp man with a lot of wisdom to impart. It was here when Vito swiftly silenced Sonny and excused the interruption as him having spoiled his son. The Don knew what he was talking about when he wanted his kids to listen, not talk.
He was known to be a quiet child. In , when Vito was fourteen, his father was murdered by a Sicilian Mafia boss named Don Ciccio because he refused to pay tribute to him. His older brother, Paolo , swore revenge, but was himself murdered soon after, during the funeral procession for his father. Desperate, Vito's mother took Vito to see the Mafia chieftain herself to beg for her last son's life. When she went to see Don Ciccio, she begged for forgiveness, but Don Ciccio refused, reasoning that the younger boy Vito may be harmless now, but would also seek revenge as an adult. Upon Don Ciccio's refusal, Signora Andolini put a knife to his throat, giving Vito a chance to escape. Moments later, as Vito watched, his mother was shot dead by one of Ciccio's lupara -wielding bodyguards. Later that night, he was smuggled away with the help of sympathetic neighbors, fleeing Sicily to seek refuge in America on a cargo ship full of immigrants. Unable to speak English, he was renamed on Ellis Island as "Vito Corleone" when the immigration clerks saw the tag pinned to his clothes labelled "Vito Andolini from Corleone". A doctor diagnoses him with smallpox and he is quarantined for a period of time.
Shortly afterward, he founded the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company as a front for his criminal activities. Around , Vito formally organized the family, with Genco as his consigliere and Peter and Sal as caporegimes. It was during this time that Vito's eldest son, Sonny , made his reputation and eventually became a capo himself. The family were instrumental in establishing the Commission in In , a business proposition from drug kingpin Virgil Sollozzo nearly destroyed the family, hospitalising Don Vito and forcing his eldest son Sonny in action. The family were dealt another crippling blow with their biggest asset Luca Brasi getting taken by surprise and murdered by Sollozzo. The situation went onto even further escalate when the youngest Corleone brother Michael killed Sollozzo and his bodyguard, Captain McCluskey , forcing him to flee to Sicily. This event triggered the Five Families War. The war claimed the life of acting don Sonny, and the still weak Don Vito sued for peace with the other families , realising that his true enemy was Emilio Barzini , who was attempting to crush the Corleones and become the most powerful don in New York. After Don Vito's retirement, followed by his death from a heart attack in , the family business was taken over by Michael, who exacted vengeance on the rival family's dons along with Moe Greene , Carlo Rizzi and Tessio for conspiring with the rival heads.