If I recall correctly, during the beginning of The Godfather Tom Hagen is sent out to Hollywood to convince a producer to use an actor, when the producer balked, he ended up waking up snuggled up to his favorite horse's head.

Do we know if that implied threat actually worked? The wiki states that Woltz was unmoved until the horse head incident, but is there ever any indication that it actually worked as intended?

2 Answers 2


Yes, it worked. You may recall that, a couple of scenes later, Vito receives a large bouquet of flowers:

Vito: What -- what is this nonsense? 

Tom: It's from ah Johnny, starring in that new ah film.

It isn't spelled out, but since Johnny gives Vito the flowers as a gift and Tom refers to "that new film" rather than "a new film," it is pretty clear that this is the Woltz film Johnny wanted to be in.

  • I don't remember the scene, but it's on tonight, so I'll watch for it, thanks.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 23:55

Late to this but as others have mentioned, indeed it worked.

Two details: One is I think I read that the actor himself was not told of this -- his reactions were real. Hard to believe, but I think it may be true.

As far as the story, imagine how incredibly effective this was: Not only did they manage to get through what must have been considerable security to kill the horse but also through even tighter security to place the horse in his bed while he was sleeping (he must have been drugged) -- he knew he was utterly vulnerable, he could not trust his own servants or security.

Moreover, as urbane and civilized as Tom appears, we see that he is as much a thug as any of the family; he had to have been involved in the plan intimately or at a minimum provided key details.

  • Do you have any sources that the producer was drugged? It's irrelevant to the question, but, since you added it in your answer...is there any proof that the actor was unaware of what was happening with the horse head in this scene? Thanks :) Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 9:33
  • 1
    I did not mean that the actual actor was drugged and I don't think you are saying that. As far as the book saying this, not that I recall. But if he is anything like me, the mere presence of someone in my room would wake me up so if this happened in real life, I would guess he had been drugged. I sort of remembered it wrong. He knew there would be something there from rehearsal but that it was from a slaughterhouse in the filmed scene was supposed to be a surprise to the actor: reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1tqukr/…
    – Jeff
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 13:43

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