Franc D'Ambrosio as Anthony Corleone in
The Godfather Part III.
|First appearance||The Godfather|
|Last appearance||The Godfather Part III|
|Created by||Mario Puzo|
|Portrayed by||Franc D'Ambrosio|
Anthony Vito "Tony" Corleone is a fictional character in The Godfather trilogy of films directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He is portrayed by Anthony Gounaris in the first film, James Gounaris in the second, and singer Franc D'Ambrosio in the third. The character was 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. He is the son of Michael (Al Pacino) and Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton), and the older brother of Mary Corleone (Sofia Coppola). While Anthony was never a major character in the first two films, major events in his life were the backdrop of key parts of the second film, and his relationship with his father is a plot point in the third film. He was not mentioned by name in the novel.
Fictional character biography
Anthony has a small role in the first film; his only scene of consequence is one in which he witnesses the death of his grandfather, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), who is playing with him in the garden.
The Godfather Part II
The second film's plotline opens in 1958, with Anthony's first communion. It continues with an extravagant banquet held in his honor near Lake Tahoe. During this banquet, his father is largely tied up with family business, a theme which would repeat itself throughout the film. Anthony receives many gifts, mostly from people he does not know.
Later in the film, he and his sister, Mary, overhear their parents fighting; during the fight Kay mentions her concern that Michael's soldati have become Anthony's primary playmates, but Michael refuses to believe he has influenced his son in any negative way. Michael and Kay get a divorce by the end of the film; Anthony seems to resent his mother's role in the divorce, and as a result is sullen and reluctant to kiss her during a visit. At the end of the film, he develops a friendship with his uncle Fredo (John Cazale) and is due to go fishing with him, until Michael intervenes and requests Anthony accompany him to Reno. Fredo is then assassinated by Al Neri (Richard Bright) at Michael's order.
The Godfather Part III
Sometime in the 1960s, Michael gave custody of Anthony and Mary to their mother. A fully-grown Anthony attends Michael's celebration on his receipt of a citation from the Pope, along with his mother and sister. At the banquet that follows, he confronts his father, along with Kay, and tells him that he is quitting law school for a career in opera, and will not join the family business, claiming it has brought him nothing but "bad memories". This infuriates Michael, who wants him to be a lawyer even if he is not in the "family business". Nevertheless, Michael relents and gives his blessing at Kay's insistence. Kay also tells Michael (in secret) that Anthony knows that he had Fredo killed.
Anthony's operatic career is a success, and he is given the lead in the opera Cavalleria Rusticana in Palermo, Sicily. Overjoyed, his family join him for the premiere. As a gift at a gathering, he performs the traditional Sicilian ballad "Brucia La Terra" (the official theme of the trilogy). During this visit, he joins his parents in criticizing his sister's relationship with their cousin, Vincent Corleone (Andy García).
The film concludes with Anthony performing his debut. Although the production is a success, it is overshadowed by numerous murders and assassinations during the evening; most notably, Mary (Sofia Coppola) is killed by the assassin Mosca during an attempt on Michael's life.
Anthony appears in Mark Winegardner's sequel novels The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge. In the former novel, he witnesses Fredo's murder from his window, explaining the third film's revelation that he knows the truth about his uncle's death. In these novels, Anthony has a difficult relationship with his father; he loves Michael, but doesn't want to be anything like him. His son's ambivalence toward him hurts Michael, but he understands, as he had for years felt the same way about his own father.