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This article is about the son of Michael Corleone. You may be looking for the bodyguard.

"I'll always be your son, but I want nothing to do with your business."
―Anthony Corleone[src]

Anthony Vito Corleone is the son of Michael Corleone and Kay Adams.


Anthony with his grandfather.

Anthony was described as an intelligent child by his father, being able to read comics in the newspaper at age three. He was also the only person present at the death of his grandfather, Vito Corleone, in the family tomato garden.[2] In his youth he gained an interest in opera which continued throughout his life, after listening to the music of Puccini with his other grandfather, Thornton Adams.[3]

At Lake Tahoe

Anthony at his First Communion.

In 1958, Anthony had his first communion, a very important moment for many Catholics in their childhood. It continued with an extravagant banquet held in his honor at the family compound on Lake Tahoe. During this banquet, his father was largely tied up with family business. Tony received many gifts, mostly from people he did not know. Wanting only to be with his father, he drew a picture of a car and placed it on Michael's bed, which would be discovered only moments before the attack on the Lake Tahoe compound.[4] Michael would treasure this drawing and keep it with him into Anthony's adulthood.


Months later, while the family was in Washington D.C. for the Senate hearings, he and his younger sister, Mary, overheard their parents fighting over Kay's plans to leave Michael and take the children with her. During the argument, Kay expressed worry that Anthony's only friends were Michael's button men. Michael and Kay separate and divorce shortly afterwards. Anthony seemed to resent his mother's role in the divorce, and as a result was sullen and reluctant to kiss her during her last secret visit. He also developed a friendship with his uncle Fredo and was due to go fishing with him and Al Neri, until his aunt Connie told him to come back inside, ostensibly to get ready to go to Reno with his father. Fredo is then assassinated by Al Neri at Michael's order.[4] It is later found that Michael sent Anthony to his room, where he saw Neri killing Fredo. He had much animosity toward his father and Neri from that point on, because he realised in time that he had been used to kill Fredo. He also sided with his mother because of this event. Soon after Michael turned over custody of the children to Kay, Anthony told his mother about Fredo's death and sided with her from that moment on.[3]

Anthony's defiance

A fully-grown Anthony attended Michael's celebration on his receiving the Order of Saint Sebastian from the Pope, along with his mother, stepfather and sister. At the banquet that followed, he confronted his father, along with Kay, and told him that he was quitting law school for a career in opera. He also told his father that he would not join the family business in any capacity, claiming it had brought him nothing but "bad memories". This infuriated Michael, who wanted him to be a successful lawyer, even if he was not in the "family business", but he relented at Kay's insistence, especially when he found out through her that Anthony knew that he had Fredo killed.[5]

Operatic career

Anthony as Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana.

Anthony's operatic career was a success, and he was given the lead in the opera Cavalleria rusticana in Palermo. His family joined him in Sicily for the premiere. As a gift at a gathering, he performed the traditional Sicilian ballad "Brucia La Terra". During this visit, he partially reconciled with his father, and sided with him in criticizing his sister's relationship with their cousin, Vincent.[5]

Later on, Anthony performed his debut. Although the production was a success, it was overshadowed by numerous murders and assassinations during the evening, several of which occured right at the opera house. After the concert, Mary was shot and killed in a failed attempt to assassinate Michael. What happened to him afterwards is not known, but it is implied, that his distance from his father was solidified permanently, because he held his mother back from Michael during his grief.[5]

Behind the scenes

  • Anthony Corleone is portrayed by Anthony Gounaris in the first film, James Gounaris in the second, and singer Franc D'Ambrosio in the third. He was originally given the name Anthony because it was thought that the three-year-old Gounaris of the first film would respond best if his own name was used.
  • In the original Godfather novel, Michael and Kay have two sons, who are not named.
  • His divergence from his father mirrored that between that of his father and grandfather; Vito had hoped Michael would become a lawyer and possibly a senator, but his plans for higher education were sidetracked by attacks on the family. In Anthony's case, he elected to pursue his own path in music, whereas his father wanted him to be a lawyer. A difference is that it causes strain for Michael and Anthony, whereas Vito accepts the loss of his hopes for Michael, rationalizing "there just was not enough time".
  • In Dean Reisner's draft of The Godfather Part III, Anthony (using the name Anthony Adams, Kay's maiden name) is the principal character; having not seen Michael since he was ten, he is recruited during his naval training to help assassinate fictional Latin American dictator Armando Vidal in a coup d'état. During this time he would fall in love with news presenter Elizabeth Ann Dunne (who resembles Grace Hamilton in the final film, sharing the scene where she is used as a hostage in a night time raid) and become injured in the coup, after which he engages his father's help in destroying his enemies.

Notes and references