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 and Anthony Gounaris and James Gounaris|
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
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 at the family estate near Lake Tahoe. During it, his father's time is largely taken up with tending to the family business, an ongoing theme throughout the film. Anthony receives many gifts, mostly from people he does not know, confusing him.
Later in the film, he and his sister, Mary, overhear their parents arguing; Kay voices her concerns that Michael's soldati are Anthony's primary playmates. Michael refuses to believe he has influenced his son in any negative way. Michael and Kay are divorced by the end of the film; Anthony seems to resent his mother's role in his parent's split, and as a result is sullen and not affectionate during her visit. At the end of the film, he has developed a close relationship with his Uncle Fredo (John Cazale). When they are about to go fishing together, Michael calls Anthony away, insisting he 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 Kay custody of Anthony and Mary. Anthony, now an adult, along with his mother and sister, Mary, attends a ceremony where Michael receive a citation from the Pope, At the banquet that follows, Anthony, along with Kay, confronts his father, and tells him that he is quitting law school for a career in opera, and will never join the family business. Michael, infuriated, wants him to finish school. Michael finally relents at Kay's urging. She privately tells Michael that Anthony knows that he had Fredo killed.
Anthony's operatic debut is the lead in Cavalleria Rusticana in Palermo, Sicily. His family join him for the premiere. As a gift, he performs the traditional Sicilian ballad "Brucia La Terra" (the official theme of the trilogy). During this visit, he, like his parents, disapproves of Mary's romance with their cousin, Vincent Corleone (Andy García).
The film concludes with Anthony's performance. Although the production is initially a success, it is overshadowed by numerous murders and assassinations following it; most notably, Mary (Sofia Coppola) is accidentally killed by assassin Mosca during his 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 bedroom 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 does not want to become like him. Anthony's ambivalence hurts Michael, but he understands it, as he had once felt the same way about his own father.