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"We're not murderers..." #746807
11/01/13 11:50 PM
11/01/13 11:50 PM
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New York, NY
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OK. Godfather I, Scene I. Bonasera prevails upon Don Vito to send some goons to beat up the young thugs who had attacked Bonasera's daughter. Just after Bonasera leaves the room, Vito turns to Tom Hagen and says:

"Give this to, uh, Clemenza. I want reliable people, people who aren't going to be carried away. After all, we're not murderers, in spite of what this undertaker says."


Not murderers? After all the hits that the Corleones had done over the years, against so many people? Including some done by Vito himself? In that context, what could "We're not murderers" really mean?

Could it mean that in the world of the Mob, killing those two punks would have crossed over a moral or ethical line (because Bonasera's daughter was still alive), while all the other killings were considered justifiable for "business" reasons - and therefore were not murders? Can anyone shed some light on this question?


"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #746825
11/02/13 08:55 AM
11/02/13 08:55 AM
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waynethegame Offline
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That's pretty much what he meant in my view. The mafia murders people, this is true, but in their eyes all murders are generally justified with a reason. Bonasera wants the two guys killed for, in Vito's eyes, petty reasons and not for a legitimate reason; he simply wants vengeance because they beat the shit out of his daughter because she wouldn't put out. To Vito, that's not an acceptable reason to go and have people killed (although as he indicates, had they killed her THEN murder would have been acceptable. An eye for an eye, and all that).


Wayne

"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."
Don Lucchesi
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: waynethegame] #746859
11/02/13 12:54 PM
11/02/13 12:54 PM
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Yes. I think in Vito's "code of ethics," killing a rival or someone who stood in his way wasn't "murder," it was "business." Killing the two punks wasn't justified because Bonasera's daughter was still alive.


Ntra la porta tua lu sangu sparsu,
E nun me mporta si ce muoru accisu...
E s'iddu muoru e vaju mparadisu
Si nun ce truovo a ttia, mancu ce trasu.
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #746877
11/02/13 02:45 PM
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I wonder what Vito's reaction would have been if some punks did the same thing to Connie?


You shit-kicking, stinky, horse-manure-smelling motherfucker you! If you ever get out of line over there again, I'll smash your fucking head so hard you won't be able to get that cowboy hat on. You hear me? Fucking hick. -Nicky (Casino)
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: LittleMan] #746879
11/02/13 02:51 PM
11/02/13 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted By: LittleMan
I wonder what Vito's reaction would have been if some punks did the same thing to Connie?


I think that would have qualified as "business".


"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #746880
11/02/13 03:13 PM
11/02/13 03:13 PM
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Stewartstown, PA
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It should be noted that the word "murder" is generally used in two different ways. One in a legal sense, and one in a moral one. I don't think you'd see many people stop referring to the Nazi killing of Jews in the Holocaust as murder, even if it was shown that what the Nazis did was completely legal. On the other hand, Carl Lee's killing of the men who raped his daughter in "A Time to Kill" was clearly murder, or at least manslaughter, from a legal standpoint. But many people (including me) would not consider Lee a murderer, because they would see his actions as morally justified.

While almost all of the killings the Corleones did were legally murder (perhaps Vincent's shooting of the men who broke into his apartment in Part III was an exception), I have a hard time seeing most of them (at least in the movies--I haven't read the book) as murder in a moral sense, since they were killings of other underworld people or their associates for reasons the "victims" themselves would have considered legitimate. For example, not only was Moe Greene a gangster himself, but there's very little doubt he would have killed Michael had their positions been reversed.

Last edited by VitoC; 11/02/13 03:18 PM.

Let me tell ya somethin my kraut mick friend!
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: VitoC] #746902
11/02/13 06:14 PM
11/02/13 06:14 PM
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Tampa, FL
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Originally Posted By: VitoC
It should be noted that the word "murder" is generally used in two different ways. One in a legal sense, and one in a moral one. I don't think you'd see many people stop referring to the Nazi killing of Jews in the Holocaust as murder, even if it was shown that what the Nazis did was completely legal. On the other hand, Carl Lee's killing of the men who raped his daughter in "A Time to Kill" was clearly murder, or at least manslaughter, from a legal standpoint. But many people (including me) would not consider Lee a murderer, because they would see his actions as morally justified.

While almost all of the killings the Corleones did were legally murder (perhaps Vincent's shooting of the men who broke into his apartment in Part III was an exception), I have a hard time seeing most of them (at least in the movies--I haven't read the book) as murder in a moral sense, since they were killings of other underworld people or their associates for reasons the "victims" themselves would have considered legitimate. For example, not only was Moe Greene a gangster himself, but there's very little doubt he would have killed Michael had their positions been reversed.


That's a good point too IMO. The majority of murders that the Mafia did, at least in the context of the films, were for "business" reasons and were to people involved in and associated with the "business". They weren't just random killings because some guy looked at you funny or called your wife a whore.

I think that Vito might have decided to kill the two guys if Bonasera was a known associate and the beating of his daughter was done by, say, Tattaglia thugs. In that case, the victims would be involved in the business and doing the act for business-related reasons.

Since they were just punk kids, and Bonasera wasn't involved or associated with the business (in fact remember he's in the doghouse because he rebuked Don Corleone's friendship!) and the beating of his daughter was a "civilian" matter, murder isn't on the table because "That is not justice. [His] daughter [is] still alive"

Last edited by waynethegame; 11/02/13 06:15 PM.

Wayne

"Finance is a gun. Politics is knowing when to pull the trigger."
Don Lucchesi
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #746909
11/02/13 07:55 PM
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I think that what Vito meant was that they were not "murderers for hire". It was an insult to Vito that Bonasera (or anyone) could just stroll into his house,throw out a figure,and have someone killed. Bonasera asking "How much shall I pay you" added salt to the wounds by assuming that the Family was just a bunch of goons that would kill anyone if the price was right.
Vito even wondered what he had done to be treated so disrespectfully. Bonasera was just an out of touch immigrant who figured that one gangster was the same as the next,and that they would do anything for money.
He didn't catch on to the fact that if He had treated Vito as a friend from the get-go,and his daughter had actually been killed,that Vito would have ordered the murders of the two guys responsible as an act of friendship,and would have been insulted by any offer of money.

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #746916
11/02/13 09:19 PM
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The irony is funny, though.

We're not murderers. But if you invited me over for a cup of coffee, then we'd whack your enemies for free!


You shit-kicking, stinky, horse-manure-smelling motherfucker you! If you ever get out of line over there again, I'll smash your fucking head so hard you won't be able to get that cowboy hat on. You hear me? Fucking hick. -Nicky (Casino)
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Lou_Para] #746921
11/02/13 10:40 PM
11/02/13 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted By: Lou_Para
I think that what Vito meant was that they were not "murderers for hire". It was an insult to Vito that Bonasera (or anyone) could just stroll into his house,throw out a figure,and have someone killed. Bonasera asking "How much shall I pay you" added salt to the wounds by assuming that the Family was just a bunch of goons that would kill anyone if the price was right.
Vito even wondered what he had done to be treated so disrespectfully. Bonasera was just an out of touch immigrant who figured that one gangster was the same as the next,and that they would do anything for money.
He didn't catch on to the fact that if He had treated Vito as a friend from the get-go,and his daughter had actually been killed,that Vito would have ordered the murders of the two guys responsible as an act of friendship,and would have been insulted by any offer of money.


Excellent point. Yes, no doubt that Bonasera had insulted the Don greatly by essentially treating him and the family as if they were just common street thugs. Under the circumstances, I think Bonasera was fortunate that Vito was not the vindictive type, prone to holding petty grudges - or at least that he was in a good mood on his daughter's wedding day - else the undertaker might just have unwittingly made a powerful new enemy for himself that day. Not a good place to be at all.


"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #746927
11/02/13 11:43 PM
11/02/13 11:43 PM
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Actually... Connie's husband did hit her, and spent all of the money in her bridal purse on whores and gambling... it states this in the novel... this pissed off The Godfather, however he didn't relay this to Connie as he knew she would say something to Carlo... and well.. Carlo got what he deserved at the end of the first movie...he was a greedy pig and a lousy disrespectful husband. As far as when the godfather said "we are not murders, I agree with the rest of you as first of all, if they killed the guys who beat up the undertaker's daughter then they wouldn't be wise hitmen and would have been easier to catch if the police wanted to press charges, if the undertaker was more thugish he would have approached a black man and paid them to kill the guys who beat his daughter, or some money hungry russians. I'm actually shocked the undertaker wanted them dead, I would have wanted them beaten severely and robbed instead. plus their parent's houses robbed as well... just to teach them all a lesson for thinking they are so high and mighty.

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: paprincess] #746929
11/03/13 12:18 AM
11/03/13 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted By: paprincess
and well.. Carlo got what he deserved at the end of the first movie...he was a greedy pig and a lousy disrespectful husband.


Carlo got clipped because he set up Sonny to be murdered. Being greedy and a lousy husband wasn't a factor....

Of course, that's based on the movie. In a real life situation, Paul Castellano had his son in law whacked because of spousal abuse and infidelity.


You shit-kicking, stinky, horse-manure-smelling motherfucker you! If you ever get out of line over there again, I'll smash your fucking head so hard you won't be able to get that cowboy hat on. You hear me? Fucking hick. -Nicky (Casino)
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: paprincess] #746932
11/03/13 02:14 AM
11/03/13 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted By: paprincess
Actually... Connie's husband did hit her, and spent all of the money in her bridal purse on whores and gambling... it states this in the novel... this pissed off The Godfather, however he didn't relay this to Connie as he knew she would say something to Carlo... and well.. Carlo got what he deserved at the end of the first movie...he was a greedy pig and a lousy disrespectful husband. As far as when the godfather said "we are not murders, I agree with the rest of you as first of all, if they killed the guys who beat up the undertaker's daughter then they wouldn't be wise hitmen and would have been easier to catch if the police wanted to press charges, if the undertaker was more thugish he would have approached a black man and paid them to kill the guys who beat his daughter, or some money hungry russians. I'm actually shocked the undertaker wanted them dead, I would have wanted them beaten severely and robbed instead. plus their parent's houses robbed as well... just to teach them all a lesson for thinking they are so high and mighty.
I believe in the novel there is more detail into the Connie /Carlo dynamic. Essentially,Vito feels that once married,the husband can do as he pleases with his wife. I believe that Mama once said that Vito treated her with love and respect,but only because she made sure not to give him any reason to beat her. That seemed to be the mentality,don't divorce an abusive spouse,but rather,stop pi**ing him off and you won't get a beatin'

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: LittleMan] #747031
11/04/13 12:27 PM
11/04/13 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted By: LittleMan
I wonder what Vito's reaction would have been if some punks did the same thing to Connie?


Sonny gave him one strike, and there is no telling what he had in mind when he raced out of the Mall. Whatever it was, however was probably not what Vito would have done.


"Io sono stanco, sono imbigliato, and I wan't everyone here to know, there ain't gonna be no trouble from me..Don Corleone..Cicc' a port!"

"I stood in the courtroom like a fool."

"I am Constanza: Lord of the idiots."

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: dontomasso] #747047
11/04/13 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: dontomasso
[quote=LittleMan]I wonder what Vito's reaction would have been if some punks did the same thing to Connie?


Sonny gave him one strike, and there is no telling what he had in mind when he raced out of the Mall. Whatever it was, however was probably not what Vito would have done.[/quote

Just for the sake of speculation,if Sonny would have made it to Carlo,I wonder if he would have been enraged enough to get carried away and beat him to death in public. Presumably the guys following in the car might have stopped him,but what if Sonny got convicted on a homicide charge and was locked up. He wasn't packing heat as far as I can tell from watching the Tollbooth scene,so instead of a quick shot to the head it would have been a jacked up version of the first Carlo beatdown with hands,feet and whatever else,giving Sonny's guys enough time to stop it from getting out of hand. Maybe his bodyguards would have just grabbed Carlo and put him in the car to be disappeared at a later date. I just think that it would have been ironic for Sonny to be neutralized by a prison term instead of a machine gun.

Last edited by Lou_Para; 11/04/13 02:01 PM.
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #747055
11/04/13 02:17 PM
11/04/13 02:17 PM
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I find the concept of an eye for an eye to be very inaccurate, and was partly how the movie romanticizing organized crime.

In real life, plenty of dons ordered killings that had nothing to do with avenging murders. And I'm sure each of the 5 families, at one time or another, had mobsters accepting murder contracts for money....and these contracts didn't have to include avenging a murder.


You shit-kicking, stinky, horse-manure-smelling motherfucker you! If you ever get out of line over there again, I'll smash your fucking head so hard you won't be able to get that cowboy hat on. You hear me? Fucking hick. -Nicky (Casino)
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #747102
11/04/13 06:46 PM
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I'm on the "it was business" train on the murders.

Also I do believe Sonny would have either shot or beaten Carlo to death if he would have gotten to him.

In mafia code generally you have to "break a rule" to get hit, and to most they consider that "justified" to commit murder and it makes it o.k. Of course we all know most rules are twisted during beefs to make it justified as well. The rules are only followed when its time to clip someone.

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Lou_Para] #747217
11/05/13 01:14 PM
11/05/13 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted By: Lou_Para
Originally Posted By: dontomasso
[quote=LittleMan]I wonder what Vito's reaction would have been if some punks did the same thing to Connie?


Sonny gave him one strike, and there is no telling what he had in mind when he raced out of the Mall. Whatever it was, however was probably not what Vito would have done.[/quote

Just for the sake of speculation,if Sonny would have made it to Carlo,I wonder if he would have been enraged enough to get carried away and beat him to death in public. Presumably the guys following in the car might have stopped him,but what if Sonny got convicted on a homicide charge and was locked up. He wasn't packing heat as far as I can tell from watching the Tollbooth scene,so instead of a quick shot to the head it would have been a jacked up version of the first Carlo beatdown with hands,feet and whatever else,giving Sonny's guys enough time to stop it from getting out of hand. Maybe his bodyguards would have just grabbed Carlo and put him in the car to be disappeared at a later date. I just think that it would have been ironic for Sonny to be neutralized by a prison term instead of a machine gun.


If that played out Sonny would have beaten the rap and not done time.


"Io sono stanco, sono imbigliato, and I wan't everyone here to know, there ain't gonna be no trouble from me..Don Corleone..Cicc' a port!"

"I stood in the courtroom like a fool."

"I am Constanza: Lord of the idiots."

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #747426
11/06/13 08:51 PM
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If Sonny gets arrested for beating Carlo to death,that means the tollbooth hit never went down.So even if Sonny would have beat the rap,he still would be in jail,if only for a few days. Plenty of time for him to be "shot trying to escape", or to "hang himself in his jail cell".Barzini could still get to Sonny,and all the more so because at that point Vito didn't know that it was Barzini all along.
Of course Sonny could have made bail and still caught a couple hundred rounds at a later date.

Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Lou_Para] #747578
11/07/13 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted By: Lou_Para
Barzini could still get to Sonny,and all the more so because at that point Vito didn't know that it was Barzini all along.


Plus the fact that Vito was pretty much incapacitated at the time. Or just barely recuperated. Still weak and off his game, at the very least.


"A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns."
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #747802
11/09/13 04:55 PM
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It's important to keep in mind that Vito viewed the world quite differently from most people. As stated in several threads, Vito (and Michael) had a unique view of legitimacy and murder.


"Generosity. That was my first mistake."
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Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: dontomasso] #747805
11/09/13 05:15 PM
11/09/13 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: dontomasso
Originally Posted By: Lou_Para
Originally Posted By: dontomasso
[quote=LittleMan]I wonder what Vito's reaction would have been if some punks did the same thing to Connie?


Sonny gave him one strike, and there is no telling what he had in mind when he raced out of the Mall. Whatever it was, however was probably not what Vito would have done.[/quote

Just for the sake of speculation,if Sonny would have made it to Carlo,I wonder if he would have been enraged enough to get carried away and beat him to death in public. Presumably the guys following in the car might have stopped him,but what if Sonny got convicted on a homicide charge and was locked up. He wasn't packing heat as far as I can tell from watching the Tollbooth scene,so instead of a quick shot to the head it would have been a jacked up version of the first Carlo beatdown with hands,feet and whatever else,giving Sonny's guys enough time to stop it from getting out of hand. Maybe his bodyguards would have just grabbed Carlo and put him in the car to be disappeared at a later date. I just think that it would have been ironic for Sonny to be neutralized by a prison term instead of a machine gun.


If that played out Sonny would have beaten the rap and not done time.


Agreed, if the Corleones had the pull to get Michael off the hook for killing a police captain in a crowded resuarant, they could get Sonny off for beating a second-rate bookie (which Carlo essentially was) to death.

And Sonny pretty much did the opposite of what the Vito would have done, it also shows the differences (in Puzo's mind) about the differences between the generations. Vito was old school Sicilian, if a man beat his then that was own his business since men ruled their own house in the old country.

But to the more Americanized Sonny this was an affront to him, his sister and his family that a loser like Carlo would lay a hand on his sister, if he did not intervene then it would make it worse.


This life of ours, this is a wonderful life. If you can get through life like this, hey, thats great. But it's very, very unpredictable. There are so many ways you can screw it up.-Paul Castellano (he would know)

"I'm not talking about Italians, I'm talking about criminals."-Joe Valachi
Re: "We're not murderers..." [Re: Questadt] #752515
12/09/13 09:52 PM
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Sonny also felt especially responsible because he introduced carlo to connie and encouraged their relationship. In his mind he's responsible for it and wants to right his wrong

Last edited by littlemango; 12/09/13 09:52 PM.

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