In defining crime, this article sites The Godfather as a film that not only was wildly successful in its own right, but one that also sparked a crime craze in terms of the manner in which violence was portrayed and consumed by the public. While it does not attempt to claim that this movie somehow created interest in crime, because this is something the article suggests if very innate to human beings, but rather questions how human beings justify their interest in violence and how definitions of crime vary between cultures. Finally, the article seeks to answer the question as to whether or not this film somehow changed beliefs about crime and violence.
In order to consider these questions, and prove The Godfather, both as a film and a novel, is representative of a new morality regarding crime, the authors proceed by comparing the structures of this film to the structures of novels and films in the past. The first aspect of the movie that is considered is the usage of the word “family,” specifically given its historical usage in Italian, which is symbolically used as a replacement for the mafia, or organized crime. The use of the word family as well as the parallel structures drawn from the Corleone family itself to that of the organized crime unit changes how one views the crime family, making it more complex that simply a group of gangsters out to commit crimes.
A second important factor in the view of crime put forth by The Godfather, is the way in which violence is romanticized and justified in the film. As the article suggests, we then understand Don Vito’s choices and become sympathetic to him as a character. As Michael understands him, we too accept his violence.
The article also discusses how a scientific and social approach to crimes had arisen, and places this as a third way in which beliefs about violence were changing. There was a movement, as depicted in this film, away from morals and religion, which were traditionally associated with crimes. Therefore, a new belief system had arisen along with new entertainment.