I've just came out from below the rock I've been living under, and as such I watched The Godfather. What a masterpiece!

The entire movie made complete sense and I found it extremely well scripted. The only thing I could not figure out is why there seemed to be no retaliation at the end of the movie when Michael has the other Dons killed.

I thought of 2 explanations for this but I'm not 100% satisfied with them:

  1. The movie ended on the same day all that happned so there was no time for the other families to retaliate yet.
  2. There is retaliation except it is not shown.

If anyone has a better idea I would like to hear it

P.S I plan on watching the rest of the trilogy soon, please avoid spoilers. If my question is dealt with in the follow up movies please just say that. Thanks.

2 Answers 2


Once you watch the subsequent movies it'll start making more sense. The fact of the matter is that the other families had to go through the process of finding new Dons to run the family after the existing ones were killed off. So they couldn't all just retaliate after they found their leaders were dead, it would have been absolute chaos with no order or control which is a big part of the Italian crime families. Even if they had direct successors, they couldn't very well decide to start a war. All the families report to directly to their bosses in Italy, who would have to give them the go ahead.

Also, as you said, the speed and timing at which this took place had a major impact as well. Like I said, once you watch the 2nd and 3rd movies, all the pieces will fall into place.

  • Thanks a lot. I intend to watch the second film today :)
    – Jason
    Sep 12, 2014 at 8:33
  • 1
    Don't think all the families report to Italy. As far as why the other families don't respond, I'm not sure that was ever adequately explained. In real life, the five families endured through all the changes over the decades, even unto to the present. They've never all been taken down. That was a spectacular bit of dramatice license. If any family had undertaken that and been able to pull it off, in real life, that family would have been extirpated.
    – theRiley
    Sep 12, 2018 at 19:52

The simple explanation is that you should look it as an end to all the four families and not just their heads.

Michael's strategy was not to befriend some and end some it was simply to establish supremacy by annihilating all the possible retractions and people who were capable. So to take the symbolic sense of the action is required to understand the answer to your question.

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