Insane Story Behind The Cat On Marlon Brando’s Lap During One Of The Most Iconic Scene From The Godfather Will Make Your Day

The most iconic scene of The Godfather, featuring a cat in Marlon Brando's lap, was a complete improvisation by the director Francis Ford Coppola.

Insane Story Behind The Cat On Marlon Brando's Lap During One Of The Most Iconic Scene From The Godfather Will Make Your Day


  • Marlon Brando gave one of the best performances of his lifetime in The Godfather, embodying the character of Don Vito Corleone.
  • The iconic scene of the film features Brando sitting with a cat on his lap, stroking the feline while hearing an assassination request, showcasing his power and control as a mafia boss.
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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.

Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather
Marlon Brando in The Godfather

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.


Also Read: “He offered to call my ex”: Val Kilmer Was Surprised by Marlon Brando’s Kindness After Godfather Star’s Reputation of Being Difficult to Work With

Iconic Cat Scene In The Godfather Was An Improvisation

the iconic cat scene
The iconic cat scene

Also Read: “I walked into the camera and knocked it down”: The Godfather Director Was Against Casting His Sister Alongside Marlon Brando for One Reason Only to Be Proved Spectacularly Wrong


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.


While it was instrumental in showcasing the power and control Corleone held, it was a complete improvisation. As per a TIME magazine piece, The Cat was an improvisation by Francis Ford Coppola,

“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.


Also Read: Sofia Coppola’s One Underrated Film Got Full Marks from Roger Ebert That Rivalled Scarlett Johansson’s Breakout Movie With Bill Murray

The Cat Scene Was Instrumental For Marlon Brando’s Character

the cat helped showcase
The cat helped showcase Brando’s authority and power

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.


Written by Maria Sultan

Maria Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. Having honed her skills are a Freelance and Professional content writer for more than 5 years (and counting), her expertise spans various genres and content type. A Political Science and History Graduate, her deep interest in the world around shapes her writing, blending her insights across diverse themes.

Outside the realm of writing, Maria can be often found buried in the world of books or pursuing art or engaged in fervent discussions about anything or everything, her passions balanced by binge watching Kdramas, Anime, Movies or Series during leisure hours.