I was watching The Godfather II tonight and was thinking about the scene where Kay (Keaton) tells Michael (Pacino) that she had an abortion. Pacino appears to hit Keaton so hard that his follow-through almost puts her on the couch.

I know there are some movie scenes where an actor really does hit another actor, and I was just wondering if this is one of those scenes?

  • I 100% read somewhere that Madonna was not impressed with Al Pacinos REAL slaps during the filming of Dick Tracy. It's not unlikely.
    – user20204
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 7:24

2 Answers 2


This might be second-hand and I can't find a video, but it seems legit*: On May 1, 2014, Keaton read from her book Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty at the 92nd Street Y community center and answered some questions from the audience. And when the subject came up, she confirmed the slap was real:

She loved getting slapped around by Al Pacino in The Godfather. Remember that scene in Part II?

He really slapped me! It was amazing and it really worked. I loved it.”

*[Seeing that it's an official recap of the event by the 92Y organization, there's no reason to assume that the information is disingenuous.]

  • 1
    It does seem to be legit. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 11:12
  • If Keaton said Pacino really slapped her, then I believe he really slapped her. How hard, and to what extent her reaction was stage movement, she doesn't say. When I first watched the scene, it seemed that he really hit her hard. There was a similar incident between the late Gilda Radner and John Belushi, which I saw in a biopic about Radner. They were in a play in Toronto early in their careers, and the scene called for Belushi to punch Radner in the mouth. Radner clearly didn't expect Belushi to actually hit her, but, as told in Radner's book (and shown in the movie), Belushi really belted h Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 5:39
  • wow. i am guessing nowadays no one would dare do that unless it was scripted and even then it would be faked. but another scene well-known to show actual injury was when sonny was beating carlo and i believe there was some residual hostility between the two actors in real life. it of course was good for the scenes they played together.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 12:42

Yes it was a real slap. It was the perfect reaction from a real man and a gangster who a woman had just told she aborted his baby. Corleone family as shown through out the whole trilogy is quite devoted towards family traditions, the slap was out of desperation.

There is no no quotes from Keaton on whether it was authentic but this passage from Deborah C. Micthell’s biography “Diane Keaton: Artist And Icon” is pretty noteworthy: “When her parents saw Godfather II in Los Angeles, the audience applauded when Michael slapped Kay in the confrontation scene. She (Keaton) defensively explained: ‘he was a horrible character…I say to Hell with those people who applaud. My parents were with me.

This kind of reaction can only come from someone who really experienced it. I hope it answers your question.

  • 2
    I'm not sure that's conclusive. Just because she hates the character doesn't mean the slap wasn't fake.
    – magnattic
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 12:10
  • In such a situation, fake thing might have ruined it. Just saying it. Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 12:13
  • He doesn't really slap her as much as push her down. Her head was already beginning the turn away (in a flinch type reaction reasonably explained by his lunging at her). All he really does is follow through with the motion as she falls onto/into the couch.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 17:41
  • @CGCampbell If there is no direct proof that the slap was real there is also no direct proof the it was fake. Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 7:15
  • Her comment about the audience members who applauded is fascinating. At same time, this answer does not address whether the slap was real. -1
    – Shiz Z.
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 15:28

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