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Glorification of villainous characters as heroic

Glorification of villainous characters as heroic

in the film GOD FATHER

SUBMITTED BY: ALMAS NAZAR

SUBMITTED TO: MAM HAYAM

PROGRAM: MS MEDIA SCIENCES

[image: ]

DEPARTEMENT OF ARTS AND MEDIA FOUNDATION UNIVERSITY RAWALPINDI

Table of content

Abstract

Introduction

Literature review

Theoretical framework

Problem limitation

Problem statement

Research objectives

Methodology

Content categorization

Data collection

conclusion

Abstract

Promoting villainous characters as heroic is not a new concept in Hollywood, GOD FATHER is one of the movies which promoted the villainous character. This research will focus on the two main characters’ Don Vito Corleone and Don Michael Corleone of the film GOD FATHER and will analyze how both characters presented as hero by doing content analysis.

Introduction

Mario puzo is one of the most famous and widely read writers in the world and the novel “GOD FATHER” is by far his most successful novel, although he had written a lot of novels like the DARK ARENA and THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM but he did not get recognition until in 1969 when the GOD FATHER was published. After the publishing of the novel god father immediately became the best seller.

Based on the novel in 1972 director Francis ford coppola and producer albert s ruddy made film of the same name. The film stars Marlon Brando and alpacino as the lead characters of the American crime family. Paramount pictures reserved the rights to the novel for the amount of $80″,000, after the novel got successful studio tried to find out the suitable director for directing the film, some directors rejected their offer of directing the movie and then they choose coppola for directing the movie.

The film was the highest grossing film of 1972 and later became one of the best and highest grossing movies of Hollywood.it won the academy award for best actor, best picture, best adopted screenplay. GOD FATHER is considered as one of the most influential movies in gangster genre, the movie was followed by the sequels god father 1 and god father 2.

The film god father is a story of New York most powerful mafia family headed by don Vito Corleone which is the main character of the novel. The character don Corleone is portrayed as a kind, loyal, powerful, responsible family man though he is in reality a mafia boss. God father is not only about violence underworld mafia, murder but also about family, relationships, friendships, pride, respect and honor. The aim of the study is to study and analyze the character of don carleone”,how a mafia boss who is responsible of destroying many lives and who is a murderer is shown as a hero in the movie, how don is shown as a man to whom everyone came for help, ask him favors and he fulfils their demands .how the character is shown as the family man.he is the character who has many friends from all walks of lives and friendship is the thing that is very dear to him, he is shown as generous influential person who meets all his friend requests that later make them to like and respect him.

Don Vito Corleone was portrayed as an ideal husband and an ideal father to his children who is ready to do anything for his family, his character has all the qualities that a good father and husband should have which try to gain sympathies from the audience despite of all the evil things that he does for living.it was shown that like all the fathers all he wants for his family is good life and for his children good school everything he did was to provide them a better life and to protect them, he was a responsible head of the family in his own terms and conditions.

“Don Vito Corleone was the man whom everybody came for help, and never were they disappointed. He made no empty promises nor the craven excuse that his hands were tied by more powerful forces in the world than himself. It was not necessary that he be your friend, it was not even important that you had no means with which to repay him. Only the thing was the required. That you, you yourself, proclaim your friendship. And then, no matter how poor or powerless the supplicant, Don Corleone would take that man troubles to his heart. “(Puzo:)

Another important character of the film is don Michael Corleone, he is the younger son of don Vito Corleone and a complicated protagonist, his journey of becoming crime family boss is quite different from others, from military war hero to mafia boss his character transforms from killing people for his country to killing people for his family. When we first get to introduced the character of Michael we saw him as a lovely military guy who came to his sister wedding with his girlfriend kay and who is not interesting in his family business but later with time and after his father gets weak he had to join his family business. What make Michael different from his brothers was he was not short tempered like his brothers and he did not make decisions with emotions. He is a great negotiator, planner and decision maker and stick to his decisions and do not like to take no.

Literature review

HUGE NUMBER OF ITALIANS MOSTLY FARMERS, craftsman and unskilled labors migrated to America in late 19th and early 20th century. They moved for better opportunities and financial and economic facilities. In 1880 they were20000 in number which rose to 500″,000 by 1910.they slowly started to grew and contributing. They were the first generation of Italian Americans.

In 1920s American constitution implemented ban on the manufacturing and suppling of alcoholic beverages so amercan-italian gangs started smuggling and transformed money launders, smugglers “,drug dealers and mafia.in late 1950s and early 60s there was rise of crime and violence in America and people started showing interest about knowing American mafia.in the same time, an Italian American artist named Mario Puzo wrote an crime novel named God Father in 1969.the novel was about an Italian – American mafia family involved in organized crime. The novel became the best seller and in 1972 director Francis Fog Coppola, directed the film God Father inspired by the novel of the same name.

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One of the main reason of the film’s unmatched success was its portrayal of gangsters, before this film, gangers were always shown as monsters, murderer, and cruel men. But this film changed their image and showed them as family man, having children, spending time with family, attending wedding, eating together so that the audience could also know the human side of these gangsters, the characters shown in the movie in such a way that they are not different from us but also humans with rightful human traits.

(Kelsey McClure Terri Hasseler, april 2014)in God father Don Vito is strong Italian-American man who is known for his methods to obtaining the power and keeping it. Don has politicians and police in his pocket in order to keep his interest safe, he uses blackmailing and torture to get what he wants like in one of the scenes where he kept head of horse in bed in order to gain a role for a family member in film. On the other hand, by killing his middle son and showing his attachment with his family and attacks on himself and family accrued out by other mob family draw sympathy from viewer.

Although he has significant amount of power and influence, throughout the movie he was shown as family man who put his son and family before everything and do anything to keep them safe. Don was a gangster but his character was loved because of his love for his family and his old age, the film also focuses on Italian-American culture, there problems, religion, class difference and went beyond the crime and violence that way the movie was huge success because audience enjoy relatable movies more relatable and sees themselves in these characters.

(boddu, april 2015)early gangster movies were shown and produced from non-criminal point of view. The stories were narrated from the point of view of character or system who tries to stop the crime, later directors and writers starting to explore the other side of the story, which was the gangster point of view. Many critics consider the film underworld (1927) by Joseph von Sternberg as the first movie that highlighted the gangster point of view.

(Doležalová)Although god father is one of the most successful movies in Hollywood cinema but after the release of first part of the god father saga the Italian American were not happy as they believed that the movie showed their culture wrong and portray them as criminals and mafia and when the shooting of the movie began in new York city the Italian American civil rights league blocked it with several protests.to avoid the problem the producer of the film addressed the community and announced that the movie is focusing on fictitious characters and not in any case defaming the Italian American community.

There are so many genres for making a film like thriller, sci-fic, rom-com, horror, and among those genre crime genre is another one. Gangster movies or crime movies centered on thieves, gangsters and on people who do not believe in laws and rules and make their own rules, often disrespecting human life. The portrayal of these criminal varies in every movie it depends on film maker to show them as hero or villain. Gagster genre started to boom in 1920s and 1930s when in Hollywood they started to shoe them as influencer in society. Little Caesar (1930) and Scarface(1932) are among the most influential crime movies “,those were the movies that changed the cinema and marked as the beginning of gangster genre.

The director of the film showed the influence of religion on the gangster family, despite the fact that they are criminals and their sinful way of their living, the link with the religion of family was dominant. Religion is thrust upon the viewer even before watching the film. Even the name itself GOD FATHER represent about a person who is guardian of a child or family. The terminology god father subconsciously prepares the audience for a spiritual movie about a good person.[footnoteRef:1] [1: The Godfather: An Analysis of Religion and Pop Culture

]

Ferraro writes in regards to Puzo and Coppola”,

“The Godfather is saturated with the imagery of paternity, family, and intimate friendship; with the rhetoric of respect, loyalty, and the code of silence; with references to Sicilian blood and the machismo attributed to it; with the social events- -weddings, christenings, funerals, meals, and so forth—that embody the culture of family honor. The business of crime is always interlaced with the responsibilities of family.”[footnoteRef:2] [2: Ferraro, Thomas. Ethnic Passages: Literary Immigrants in Twentieth-Century America. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.]

(sangimino)Don Corleone is the first fictional mafia who is not presented as psychopath in the movie, rather he was presented as hero in the movie. The film portrays him as a man to whom everybody came for help and he never disappoint anyone, he is a mafia hero who never made empty promises. Audiences acknowledge Vito character as the truest ethical marker, he is not just god father in movie but in fact GOD.

Critic Christian Messenger responds to the sensation of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, stating”,

“The Godfather decrees that, in America, one can achieve anything through force without denying origins or becoming legally or morally culpable. An immigrant can retain ethnic identity and yet succeed in America beyond belief in an open society without becoming ‘open’ him- or herself.”

(rehman)Throughout in the movie god father it was shown that female characters have no value, they were shown as an object which male characters of the movie used for their benefits and has no major part to play in the movie. All the focus was given to the male characters and females were shown as good housewives who are obedient to their husbands and take care of their children. Women who are outside of the main family were shown as the prostitutes, the movie also shown that how women are unaware of their rights and rather seems happy and satisfied at their objectification.

There is a rise of antiheros in Hollywood “,now they are showing bad guy as a hero and try to justify them, Movie suicide squad has the history’s biggest and baddest villains who are given the task by the united states government to join forces to carry out a mission and save the world, the film which has villains such as joker, Harley Quinn and dead shot contain sequence of violence “,disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.in the movie villains of all time were presented as heroes and all of their bad things were tried to cover by presenting them as heroes.

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(Hamidah, 2007)Don Vito life shows us another side of the life that existed in this world, it shows that part of humans who are neglected by the society and authorities and thus they do not believe in any society or authority and make their own rules and laws and spend their lives on their conditions, don character shows that he is a good man with good heart even when he is head of crime mafia, all he did was to save his family and to provide them good life, the character also suggest to not judge anyone so easily or not to judge book by its cover. The motivation behind don evil actions was to gain power so that he can control people around him because he knew that with power comes money and if he wants his business to expand than he need power, other motivation for his actions was his family, he was trying to save them and wanted to provide them better life. He wanted to make his own rules and laws and tried to create a world that runs on his terms and conditions. He wanted higher respect and status from the people beneath him and wanted to control them.

Theoretical framework

the main concept of the framing theory is coming from the agenda setting theory, framing theory expands its research and focus on the essence of issue rather than any particular topic. The main concept of framing theory is that media focuses on specific event or issue than places them within a field of meaning. Framing theory suggests that how something is presented to the audience which is called frame and then influence the audience about processing that information. Framing theory not only tells audience what to think about but also how to think about a particulate event.

The theory was first presented by Goffman under the title of frame analysis in 1974.goffman was impressed by the magicians how they trick people and hide reality from them by showing them something completely different, he said that framing is the same thing, media hide the reality from the people and show them what they want us Tobe seen and perceived.

Goffman study media very closely and worked in radio as well, he said about the advertisement that women are presented in a specific way in advertisements and our perception about the women is mostly influenced by the advertisements. women are frame as useless objects and models who does not have anything to do in most of the advertisement and Goffman said that they are presented in certain way on purpose to build our perception about them as only a showpiece.

Goffman said that information and framing are two different things, frame is modified and filtered information.in the same way persuasion and frame is also different, in persuasion we know that it is persuasion like in advertisements we know that they are trying to persuade us to sell their product but in framing we do not know that that it is framing.

There are some framing techniques which were describe by fair Hurst and sarr in 1996″,

First is the metaphor technique which is to conceptualize an idea through comparing it to something else. Second technique is stories which is to frame topic through narrative in a memorable way. Third technique was tradition which is cultural values that instill significance in the mundane. Forth technique is artifact which is cultural phenomenon that has more meaning than the object itself. Contrast is another technique of framing which is to show an object or person in term of what it is not. Spin is the last technique of the framing which present a concept in such way that it conveys a value judgement that might not be immediately seeming to create an essential bias by definition.

The research will analyze the character of don Vito and Michael Corleone in movie god father within the framework of the theory discussed above.

Problem limitation

Research focuses on the main characters DON VITO CORLEONE and MICHEAL CORLEONE of the film THE GOD FATHER, how the characters are portrayed in the movie and how all his negative actions were justifying by showing the good side of both characters.

Problem statement

Problem statements that will be analyzed are listed below.

1. How the characters of Don Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone are portrayed in the film?

2. How his evil actions are justified in the film?

3. How the characters are shown as hero of the film?

research objectives

the objective of the research is to study the main characters Don Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone in the film THE GOD FATHER and

1. To analyze the portrayal of Don Vito and Michael Corleone characters.

2. To analyze their evil actions been justified.

3. To identify glorification of villainous characters as heroic in the film.

Methodology

The research type is quantitative research method and content analysis is being used to gather the data, the film GOD FATHER is being selected for the research purpose because of the reason that it is one of the most influential, successful movie in the history of cinema. For identifying the factor of glorification of villainous characters as heroic in film researcher take GOD FATHER as the population.

Two main characters of the film Don Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone are selected as the sample to gather the data.

Content categorization

DON VITO CORLEONE

Don Vito Corleone is the main character of the film godfather, he is the head of the crime family who is engaged in smuggling, gambling murdering and threatening other for getting what he wants, in content categorization the researcher will look into the negative things in which he is indulge and then will look into the factors by which his positive image is shown and showed him as hero of the film.

Table 1

Variables

Content categorization

rule

Misusing power

Threatening others

Murdering

Smuggling/gambling

Misusing power

Threatening others

Murdering

Smuggling/gambling

Content that showed misusing of his power will be coded as misusing power

Content that shows threating other will be coded as threatening others.

Content that shows murdering will be coded as murdering.

Content that shows involvement in smuggling/gambling will be coded as smuggling/gambling.

Portraying don Vito Corleone as positive character and hero

Table 2

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Variables

Content categorization

rule

Family guy

True friend

Kind heart

Losing family members

Businessman

Family guy

True friend

Kind heart

Losing family members

Businessman

Content that shows him with his family will be coded as family guy

Content that shows him helping his friend will be coded as true friend

Content that shows him helping others, playing with children will be coded as kind heat.

Content that shows murder of his family members will be coded as losing family members.

Content that shows that whatever he does is a part of his business will be coded as business man

DON MICHEAL CARLEONE

Don Michael Corleone is the younger son of don Vito Corleone, he work in military and showed as king loving guy who is not interested in his family business, later when his father got weak he had to take care the family business and become the new god father of the family who is even worse than his father in terms of doing evil.

Table 1

Variables

Content categorization

rule

Misusing power

Threatening others

Murdering

Smuggling/gambling

Misusing power

Threatening others

Murdering

Smuggling/gambling

Content that showed misusing of his power will be coded as misusing power

Content that shows threating other will be coded as threatening others.

Content that shows murdering will be coded as murdering.

Content that shows involvement in smuggling/gambling will be coded as smuggling/gambling.

Portraying don Michael Corleone as positive character and hero

Table 2

Variables

Content categorization

rule

Family guy

True friend

Kind heart

Losing family members

Businessman

Family guy

True friend

Kind heart

Losing family members

Businessman

Content that shows him with his family will be coded as family guy

Content that shows him helping his friend will be coded as true friend

Content that shows him helping others, playing with children will be coded as kind heat.

Content that shows murder of his family members will be coded as losing family members.

Content that shows that whatever he does is a part of his business will be coded as business man

Data collection/analysis

DON VITO CORLEONE

DURATION

CONTENT CATEGORIZATION

FAVOURABLE

UNFAVORABLE

31:00-34:15

20:00-21:00

4:00-6:00

34:30-36:00

Misusing power

Threatning others

Murdering

Smuggling/gambling

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

discussion

In the famous horse scene( 31:00-34:15) it was shown that how don Corleone misused his power and put head of dead horse on the bed of a film director in order to get part for his godson in the film.in another scene (20:00-21:00)Michael tell his girlfriend that how his father threatened people to get what he wants.in the first scene of the movie (4:00-6:00)it was shown that a friend of don asked him to kill people who brutally beat his daughter.in the scene(34:30-36:00) it was disclosed that smuggling and gambling is their family business.

Portraying don Vito as positive character

Time

Content categorization

favorable

unfavorable

26:00

4:00

2:30:00

1:58:00

2:07:00

Family guy

True friend

Kind heart

Losing family members

Businessman

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Discussion

In the scene(26:00)don Vito Corleone is seeming attending his daughter wedding, taking pictures with family, dancing with his daughter which all give soft image of the character.in scene(4:00)he was shown as friend who is ready to do anything for his friends even can murder someone for them.in another scene(2:30:00)he is shown playing with his grandchild which again give soft image to the character.in (1:58:00)his son is being shot by his opponent and sympathies of audience were gained by showing him suffer.in scene(2:07:00) he arranged meeting with the heads of all big families and offer them his friendship and said whatever he has done was part of his business and by showing this the writer tried to justify his evil actions.

DON MICHEAL CORLEONE

TIME

CONTENT CATOGRIZATION

FAVOURABLE

UNFAVOURABLE

2:21:00

2:23:28

1:29:20

2:22:00

MISUSING POWER

THREATNING OTHERS

MURDERNING

SMUGLING/GAMBLING

YES

YES

YES

YES

DISCUSSION

AFTER MICHEAL father got shot by their opponent Michael decided to take the revenge and in scene (1:29:20) he killed both men who were involved in attacking his father.in another scene (2:21:00) Michael make his father’s godson sign a contract according to which he is supposed to performed in his casino five times a year and also convinced his fellow actors to do the same, in the same scene Michael threatened Moe green to handover him his hotel so that he can open his casino their and expand his business of gambling and smuggling to las Vegas as well.

Portraying Michael character as hero

Time

Content categorization

favorable

unfavorable

2:26:00

1:39:30

13:00

1:58:00″,2:06:15

2:23:00

Family guy

True friend

Kind heart

Losing family member

businessman

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

yes

Discussion

Despite being an evil character and involved in various evil activities, film showed the positive side of the character to make him lovable in the eyes of viewer”,micheal is shown as family guy who loves spending time with his wife and son(2:26:00) we can see him hanging out with friends in scene(1:39:30) and spending time with his family “,attending his sister’s wedding(13:00).character of Michael gain sympathies of audience when they showed his brother and wife been killed(1:58:00”,2:06:15) by their opponents. He was shown as a businessman (2:23:28) who does everything for his family business.

Conclusion

By collecting and analyzing the data regarding the two main characters of the film GOD FATHER, it is concluded that both the characters are villainous characters according to their actions weather it is murdering or smuggling or using political figures and judges for their benefits or threatening people to get what they want, but the way both the characters are shown in the movie and all of their evil actions are being justified it make them hero in the eyes of viewer. Weather it is the murder of don Vito’s son or Michael’s wife.it is shown in the film that whatever both character did was to save their families and it is part of their business but truth is that both characters are not heroic but tried to presented as heroes.

References

Kelsey McClure Terri Hasseler, April 2014, The Evolution of the Villain in American Cinema From the 1950s to the Present”,(16-18).

Abhilash srivinas buddu, April 2015, revenge, masculinity, violence in movie God Father.

Lucie Doležalová, Masaryk University Faculty of Arts, The Godfather: Francis Ford Coppola’s Adaptation”,

[1] https://medium.com/@sebastianpugliese/the-godfather-an-analysis-of-religion-and-pop-culture-b09e8a034c4d

Marissa Sangimino”,Rewriting the Mafioso: The Gangster Hero in the Work of Puzo, Coppola, and Rimanelli Author

Hafsa rehman”,FEMALE IDENTITY IN GANGSTER MOVIES: A STUDY OF THE GODFATHER MOVIE.

Rasmawati Hamidah, SEBELAS MARET UNIVERSITY SURAKARTA, THE INFLUENCE OF DON VITO CORLEONE TOWARDS THE ATTITUDES OF HIS MEN AS REFLECTED IN MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER (A SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACH)

https://www.utwente.nl/en/bms/communication-theories/sorted-by-cluster/Mass-Media/Framing/

Framing Theory

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