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In the very first several minutes of Godfather I, Vito is disdainful of the mortician's request to have the boys who assaulted his daughter killed -- "That would not be justice; your daughter is still alive." And later Vito says, No matter what this undertaker says, we are not murderers.

However, after Vito's death, at least one man is indeed killed for business reasons -- Moe Greene simply refused to agree to a purchase of his casino as far as we know.

So did the family change with Vito's death or was Vito being disingenuous and in fact, was willing to murder for business reasons all along? In II, the murder of the "Black Hand" guy was in response to a threat of violence -- Vito had seen the man hold a knife to the throat of the young actress so his murder was not just for business reasons.

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  • I can't remember the detail - but its one thing to respond to a request to murder someone, where you take the risk of the action for little benefit to yourself, or when you are directly benefiting.
    – iandotkelly
    Dec 15, 2021 at 18:59
  • @iandotkelly: Good point. But we also see no actual murder (of humans) for financial reasons until after Vito's death. I think Moe Greene's very gruesome murder was an indication that indeed Michael was more ruthless than Vito.
    – releseabe
    Dec 15, 2021 at 19:13
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    La Famiglia have no problems murdering for their own cause. Sonny was murdered, Carlo was murdered, Luca Brazzi was murdered. The issue is whether or not Don Vito wanted to be "murderers for hire" a la "Murder, Inc." during the days of Al Capone. Dec 15, 2021 at 19:33
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    Having read the script of this specific scene - its a poor example. Vito is distainful of the request, because the person has ignored him for much of his life and been happy with the protection of the police and the law. He has only turned to Vito for this revenge. If he had been his friend over the years he might have done this. He isn't a 'murder on demand' thug.
    – iandotkelly
    Dec 15, 2021 at 20:34
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    Agreed but that's not your fundamental question. The undertaker asked for justice and killing would not be that. Its not relevant to your primary question.
    – Paulie_D
    Dec 17, 2021 at 8:57

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