Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

Organized Crime
Mario Puzo has said that he wrote The Godfather as a compendium of tales about criminals that he heard...

(The entire section is 1034 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

Throughout most of the book, there is no particular antagonist to create dramatic tension in the story. The Corleone...

(The entire section is 1107 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

It is neither the narrative presence of Vito Corleone nor an identification of the narrative point of view with his view which unifies the...

(The entire section is 556 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Axthelm, Pete, "Happy Families," in Newsweek, March 10, 1969, pp. 69-70.

Barra, Allen, "The...

(The entire section is 339 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Cawelti, John G. “The Godfather and the Literature of Crime.” In Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976. Argues that Don Vito is the archetype of a new myth of crime that views the criminal as a tycoon, not a sinner or sociopath.

Ferraro, Thomas J. “Blood in the Marketplace: The Business of Family in The Godfather.” In The Invention of Ethnicity, edited by Werner Sollors. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Argues that the novel’s success is based on a denial that ethnic groups succeed by assimilating. Reviews academic criticism...

(The entire section is 240 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

1940s: American support for American involvement in World War II is overwhelmingly strong. The Godfather's anger that his son enlisted...

(The entire section is 332 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

Conduct a mock trial of Michael Corleone for the shooting of Virgil Sollozzo and Captain Mark McCluskey. Have legal teams from each side...

(The entire section is 188 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Godfather displays little narrative originality other than in its skillful amalgamation of elements of popular fictional genres....

(The entire section is 303 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The fact that Mario Puzo did not follow up the success of The Godfather with another novel continuing the story of the Corleone family...

(The entire section is 400 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The extraordinary success of the motion picture version of The Godfather, which was released in 1972 and won the Best Picture Academy...

(The entire section is 417 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

The Godfather was adapted as a film by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972. Starring Marlon Brando as the Godfather, Al Pacino as Michael,...

(The entire section is 287 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

Puzo is often considered to have been a serious, artistic writer before he "went commercial" with the publication of The Godfather....

(The entire section is 347 words.)