In The Godfather, during the scene when Michael and the baker are out in front of the hospital after the car leaves, the baker lights a cigarette and Michael looks at the lighter for a bit and has a perplexed look.

I could never figure out if there was some connection with that lighter or why Michael gave that look.

3 Answers 3


He's noticing that his hands aren't shaking...

If you notice, Enzo pulls the cigarette pack and his hands are visibly shaking. He's terrified and can't get the lighter to spark.

Michael takes the lighter from Enzo, lights it on the first attempt and looks at his hands... not the lighter itself.

It's sort of spelled out in the script...

Outside the hospital is empty save for a nervous ENZO,
pacing back and forth brandishly the flowers as his only
weapon.  MICHAEL exits the hospital and moves to him.  They
both stand under a lamppost in the cold December night.
They are both frightened; MICHAEL gives ENZO a cigarette,
lights it.  ENZO's hands are trembling, MICHAEL's are not.

..but the source novel tells us more.

Michael was touched. He was about to tell the young man to go away again, but then he thought, Why not let him stay? Two men in front of the hospital might scare off any of Sollozzo’s crew sent to do a job. One man almost certainly would not. He gave Enzo a cigarette and lit it for him.

They both stood under the lamppost in the cold December night. The yellow panes of the hospital, bisected by the greens of Christmas decorations, twinkled down on them. They had almost finished their cigarettes when a long low black car turned into 30th Street from Ninth Avenue and cruised toward them, very close to the curb. It almost stopped. Michael peered to see their faces inside, his body flinching involuntarily. The car seemed about to stop, then speeded forward. Somebody had recognized him.

Michael gave Enzo another cigarette and noticed that the baker’s hands were shaking. To his surprise his own hands were steady.

The Godfather - Mario Puzo


His eyes and look show determination and danger. It means: I'm here. I'm ready to fight. I won't run in fear. Only over my dead body.

Michael Corleone is a fiercely independant, cold-blooded person. He's always deeply thinking about people and situations. He shows extreme determination (close to stubborness sometimes, ie. ex-wife talking about business or visiting kids, but not hot-headed like his brother Santino) and has an very threatening attitude. He has a line of duty/conduct dictated by his values. What he says goes. For him, and for the others too, of course. He's ready to kill/die for what he wants/decides.

"Michael was not tall or heavily built but his presence seemed to radiate danger."

The Godfather by Mario Puzo. (1972, Book Club Associates by arrangement with William Heinemann Ltd), p.135

Michael Corleone has been a highly decorated Marine for almost 5 years. He was a captain, fought in the Pacific and was awarded the Silver Star and the Navy Cross. This excerpt from Military shows how independant he wants to be, with no one deciding for him. No deferment. For Michael Corleone, his country is his family too. You have to protect it.

From this, you can expect him to have been in danger, to have face death, to have killed people. When he realizes that his hands are not shaking, he surely recalls that he's accustomed to danger/threats. He knows he can still be a very dangerous man, even though war is over and he stopped fighting in the Marines.

At the time he visits his father in the hospital, he faces danger, and reacts like an Alpha Male and a Marine. You don't run, you face and you fight. Determination to defend himself and his family, danger and fear have to be for the others. Still calculating his best chances to succeed.


I strongly think it was siren rather the lighter.

I think Michael stopped and keep thinking for like 2 seconds looking at the lighter. But it was not the emblem or anything on that lighter,I think it was the siren which made him thinking. Basically I think he was thinking or waiting to respond to the police if they stop.


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