Originally Posted by Tarik One
We all know that there's at least a 25 year chronological gap between the "Deniro" and "Brando" Corleones. From the movies alone, we do indeed know that he had become a ruthless crime boss just based on Michael's story alone (Johnny Fontaine) or the "Pop's way of doing things are a thing of the past". Just curious about whether it's covered.
Godfather II is all we know about his early years and the film makes it clear that by knocking off the old, hated boss of the neighborhood, Vito replaces him in a more benevolent way. That is not from a book, it was written for the screen for the sequel. The film version of The Godfather is significantly better than the book. Coppola collaborated with Mario Puzo on both screenplays and from his contributions, you can tell that Coppola is a gift screenwriter. The novel is a lot trashier. Later on Puzo said he had wished he had written it better.
In the 80's Mario Puzo wrote another book that features the Corleones, but it deals with Michael's exile and is mainly about a Sicilian bandit.
Neither Puzo didn't have had any real familiarity with the american mafia beyond the bookies and loan sharks he owed money to, so the portrayal of the Don's is mostly mythmaking, which is one of the reasons the movie works so well. Coppola was raised in a middle-class artistic family and had almost no knowledge of the Mafia.