The Most Iconic Quotes from The Godfather Trilogy

On April 28, Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless film trilogy, plus the first three episodes of The Offer, will begin streaming on Paramount+. When it comes to The Godfather, of course there’s violence, betrayal, and the occasional horse’s head. But underneath the mob mentality, there is also plenty of wisdom to be discovered. After all, the world is a hard place and sometimes you need a godfather to look after you.

Join us as we put the hit on all of The Godfather trilogy’s best quotes, plus a few from the original novel by Mario Puzo. Take the quotes, leave the cannoli.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” – Don Vito Corleone

Owners of aspiring businesses can learn a lot from the Don. When your rivals are closing in or customers aren’t buying, simply make an unforgettable offer. Intimidating lighting is optional, but encouraged. The cat is a must.

“Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me.” – Don Vito Corleone

A successful business owner also knows how to call in a favor. You never know when you might need a helping hand to get through a tough moment, even when you’re Don Corleone. By earning the trust of your peers (and accumulating favors), you won’t be left out in the cold. Which reminds us…

“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” – Don Vito Corleone

If there’s anyone who understands revenge, it’s a mobster. Whether it’s a double cross, an ambush, or a betrayal, there’s not much that can’t be solved by revenge. What does the Don mean by cold? Let’s just say, it’s best to make sure — by any means necessary — the traitor won’t do it again. Capisce?

“It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” – Peter Clemenza

You know what they say about fishes, don’t you? Well, sleep with one eye open and you won’t have to find out. Otherwise hope you brought your floaties.

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” – Michael Corleone

When dealing with an enemy, never turn your back on them. In fact, the closer the better so you can keep an eye on them. Sun Tzu said it best with this ancient proverb, which Michael repeats in The Godfather Part II. Surprise is an enemy’s greatest weapon. Just ask Sonny — any man can turn a traitor.

“Falling in love is great but being in love is a disaster.” – Mario Puzo

Bet you never thought The Godfather had lessons on love, but love and tragedy go together like Sunday and pasta sauce. Author Mario Puzo puts it all in perspective when he writes that sometimes the journey is more meaningful than the destination.

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” – Michael Corleone

Running a business takes a thick skin. People will mess up, they’ll disappoint you, they’ll even try to take advantage of you. If you remember it’s not personal, your head will be clearer to make those big business decisions, like which rivals to take care of first.

“Behind every successful fortune, there is a crime.” – Mario Puzo

Ah, the American Dream … an ideal for some and an excuse for others. As shown by the Five Families, it takes a lot of guts (spilled or otherwise) to make it in America. Puzo attributed this quote to Honoré de Balzac and the grim reality of this statement is still true today.

“I can’t remember the last time you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee.” – Don Vito Corleone

Now this one is just common sense. It’s about manners. Nobody respects a fair-weather friend. So don’t go expecting favors from the Don when you haven’t been a real friend.

“You lived like a fool and you have come to a fool’s end.” – Don Vito Corleone

Pretty straightforward. Act a fool and you get a fool’s reward. In a world as ruthless as The Godfather, it pays to keep your wits about you. The end is never too far off.

“But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.” – Michael Corleone

Of all the lessons from The Godfather, this is perhaps the most important. You never go against the family. Why? Because they’re family, of course. Blood is thicker than water — and blood is a big expense.

Just when you think you’re out, those Godfather collectibles pull you back in. Will you be adding the Don to your collection for a little extra protection? The family never lets you down.

To take a closer look at all the Damtoys collectibles featured in this article, check out: The Godfather (1972 Edition) Lize-Size Bust, the Vito Corleone Sixth Scale Figure, the Vito Corleone (Golden Years Version) Sixth Scale Figure, and the Vito Andolini Corleone (1972) Statue.

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