During The Godfather (1972) Sollozzo and the Corleone's have a meeting, in which Sollozzo asks Don Corleone to partner with him in the drug trade.

At one point, Sollozzo says something about guaranteeing the safety of the money.

Sonny says something like, "Now wait a minute. You're telling me you can guarantee...?", at which point Don Corleone cuts him off.

The whole thought wasn't even out of his mouth. He could have been asking in earnest, and he could have been questioning Sollozzo's guarantee, as if to say, "You're full of youknowwhat".

So how was that really at odds with the Don? And why did the Don tell him to never tell anyone what he was thinking? To me, it didn't really sound like he told Sollozzo anything.

Can someone expand on this and tell me what I'm missing?

3 Answers 3


Don Corleone wanted nothing to do with the drug trade. As is apparent from this meeting. When Sonny spoke up to Sollozzo and says,

"Now wait a minute. You're telling me you can guarantee...?"

The way Sonny delivered the line and his actions while doing clearly indicate that Sonny (and maybe the Corleones) are interested in the proposal, seeing as he spoke up before the Don. Also this also portrays to Sollozzo that if Don Corleone were eliminated and Sonny were to take over, then Sonny may accept his offer.

Vito Corleone refused, however, feeling that the drug business is bad for the neighborhoods. However, in the course of the meeting, Sonny Corleone admitted an interest, leading the Turk to think that if Vito died, Sonny would accept his deal.

Basically the motive for Sollozzo from this point on in the film is to get rid of Don Corleone and use Sonny's apparent interest in the heroin trade to solidify a bond between the Corleones and Tattaglias (aka the rest of the story).

This spontaneity of emotions from Sonny tells Sollozzo exactly what he's thinking at that given moment, which in poker terms is "folding your hand." Meetings between two mob bosses are basically a high stakes game of poker to see who folds first. Think of it as two opposing forces.

When Sonny "put all his cards on the table", Sollozzo basically came out on top. The difference between Sonny (the hot head) and Michael (the calm vet) is part of the reason one survived and one didn't.

Don Corleone telling Sonny to,

Never tell anyone what he was thinking.

is a way of saying "Don't be so upfront." It may seem like Sonny didn't tell Sollozzo much with just half a sentence, but in reality he told him a lot.

  • 1
    Agreed. It was that one (oft overlooked) slip that caused the entirety of 'present day' Godfather.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 19:08
  • Actually i was always inclined to think this way. Since the Don had all the big shots(cops,politicians et all) in his pocket it was contrary that the delivery of the money was guaranteed to them when almost everybody was on their payroll. Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 5:02
  • Not true. Sollozzo had the police captain on his side, meaning they also had the entire force. If you remember at the hospotal, the captain called off the guards for Don Corleone and ended up laying a beating on Michael. The Corleone's wanted nothing to do with the heroine trade. @war_Hero
    – pt18cher
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 22:55
  • 2
    You made me an argument that i cant refuse Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 23:20
  • Love it @war_Hero
    – pt18cher
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 2:55

In addition, Don Vito is already worried about Sonny's leadership skills. He knows that Sonny is sleeping around behind his wife's back and knows that is dangerous as well as immoral. (Remember how Vito delivers a warning to Sonny in front of Johnny Fontaine "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.") Don Vito knows Sonny is the heir apparent and is looking for opportunities to cut him down to size.


Sonny was to sloppy and obvious that is the difference between him and Michael.Yes Sonny was the the oldest but wasn't the smartest.

  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question 0. It would be a better answer if you provided proof for your statements and tied them to the question. Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 15:08

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