The Godfather is filled with iconic scenes, particularly when it comes to Marlon Brando. The actor, infamous for being difficult to work with, gave one of the best performances of his lifetime. Truly embodying the character of Don Vito Corleone, Brando’s portrayal was everything when it came to setting up the film’s tone.
Anyone who has seen the critically acclaimed movie would know that he does so from the very first scene of the movie. Sitting with a cat on his lap, gently stroking the feline while hearing an assassination request, showcased the power and control he holds, thus making it one of the most iconic scenes of the film. But how did the cat even end up in his lap? Well, it wasn’t planned but a last-minute improvisation by the director, Francis Ford Coppola.
Iconic Cat Scene In The Godfather Was An Improvisation
While The Godfather was iconic, each scene a masterpiece, the opening sequence however was the most pivotal one. It featured Amerigo Bonasera pleading for a brutal assassination of two men, such was his plea that it made the audience wonder who is he pleading with such fervent passion.
As the camera slowly turns around, it shows Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, calmly listening to his plea while gently stroking a cat, who appears to be having the time of its life. To have the most feared crime boss lazily petting a cat was the most iconic scene of the entire movie.
“The cat in Marlon’s hands was not planned for. I saw the cat running around the studio, and took it and put it in his hands without a word.”
Stated Coppola, whose artistic and creative brilliance coupled with the ability to come up with such brilliant improvisation gave one of the best scenes of cinema.
The Cat Scene Was Instrumental For Marlon Brando’s Character
The Godfather is probably one of if not the most critically acclaimed mafia-based movies of all time. A sensational tale of loyalty, honor, and betrayal within the mafia world, Francis Ford Coppola could not have done a better job. When it comes to Marlon Brando, he truly delivered the best performance of his lifetime, embodying the mafia boss with such authenticity as if he truly was one instead of playing one.
However, it was the cat that stole the movie, playing an instrumental role in establishing the authority and importance of Brando’s character. Not only did the cat symbolize Don Vito Corleone’s calm and controlled situation in such an intense scene, but at the same time it showed the character’s kindness and loving nature, a trait so uncharacteristic of a man of his stature.
The cat in his lap helped establish his character’s identity as a feared mafia boss. Instead of making him appear ‘weak’, the feline’s presence only increased his ‘power’, his gentleness and kindness towards the cat leaving a lasting impression of his domineering nature.
The Godfather can be streamed on Amazon Prime.