Scenes I Love: James Caan in The Godfather


James Caan has passed away, at the age of 82.  There are a lot of great James Caan performances to choose from and to highlight.  For me, though, he’ll always be Sonny Corleone, the temperamental son of the Don who remains oddly likable, even as he cheats on his wife and threatens to kill every other gangster in New York.  Sonny is a force of chaos, which ultimately leads to his untimely death.  But, at the same time, it also makes him someone who you definitely fighting for you instead of against you.

The scene below is mostly cited for Al Pacino’s quiet intensity as he reveals that he’s truly become a member of the family.  While Pacino’s great, Caan’s reaction is just as important.

In the scene below, Sonny discovers that Carol has been beating up Connie so Sonny beats up Carlo.  Carlo really deserved it.  Now this scene is often cited for featuring one shot where it’s clear that Caan didn’t actually hit Gianni Russo.  That’s fair.  But still, Caan actually did make contact enough times that Russo ended up with a broken rib.  Look past that one shot and you’ll see that, in this scene, Caan clearly shows why Sonny was such a feared figure.  Even more importantly, this scene shows how important his family was to Sonny.  Who doesn’t want someone who would beat someone up for them?

And finally, in this scene, Sonny tells off the FBI.  How can’t you love that?  Apparently, the smashing of the camera was something that Caan improvised on the spot.

That said, there was a lot more to Caan’s career than just The Godfather.  Watch all of his films.  He was one of the greats and perhaps the only celebrity who was actually worth following on twitter. RIP.

2 responses to “Scenes I Love: James Caan in The Godfather

  1. Pingback: More to come but such sad news: RIP James Caan- Scenes I Love: James Caan in The Godfather — Through the Shattered Lens – johnrieber

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 7/4/22 — 7/10/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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