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The Godfather: Clemenza's 10 Best Quotes | ScreenRant

Among the many great characters in The Godfather is Clemenza, the first capo of the Corleone Crime Family. Clemenza is close to both Vito and Michael, having known the former since he arrived from Italy as an immigrant. In fact, so close was he to the bosses that he was trusted to pick new capos.

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Clemenza is also jovial and calm, no matter the situation. As a result, he easily finds the right words to say at any given moment. Whether he is eating his favorite meal or leading a traitor to the location of execution, Clemenza always speaks as if all is okay in the world. And that's what makes him such a memorable character.

10 "Leave The Gun. Take The Cannoli.”

Clemenza wasn't too happy to find out that his right-hand man Paulie Gatto had betrayed Don Vito Corleone, leading to the attempt on his life. He and Rocco thus took Paulie with them and drove around, making it seem like they were shopping for weapons. Clemenza also made sure to buy some cannoli for his wife, and when he got out of the car to urinate, Rocco shot Paulie.

The Italian pastries known as cannoli are indeed delicious, but Clemenza caring more about them than the fact that he just participated in the killing of his right-hand man was something else, to say the least. There is a good reason why he chose to leave the gun. He had previously spoken about placing tape on gun handles so that there would be no fingerprints.

9 "The Negotiator Is At My House Playing Pinochle With Some Of My Men. He's Happy. They're Letting Him Win."

One of Michael Corleone's best traits is his courage and when he went to meet Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey all by himself, Sollozzo sent a negotiator to Clemenza as a guarantee of Michael's safety. Clemenza then told fellow Corleone Crime Family members that his men were keeping the negotiator busy and distracted. And if something happened to Michael, they'd kill him.

This particular moment illustrated Clemenza's wisdom and sense of caution. That he would use pinochle (a popular card game in gambling spots) to distract the negotiator was indeed a genius move. Luckily, the meeting went in Michael's favor as he managed to whack the two men for attempting to kill his father.

8 "Mikey, Why Don't You Tell That Nice Girl You Love Her? I Love You With All My Heart, If I Don't See You Again Soon, I'm Gonna Die.”

Clemenza wasn't too impressed by the casual way in which Michael talked to his girlfriend Kay on the phone on one occasion. So as soon as Michael hangs up, he hilariously suggests some better words he should have used.

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While Clemenza's remarks were funny, they pointed to a bigger issue — Michael's lack of love for Kay. All throughout the first two movies in the trilogy, it was obvious that his love only belonged to his late Sicilian wife, Apollonia. In fact, one of the worst things Michael Corleone did was only keeping Kay around so that she could give him an heir.

7 "You Take A Long Vacation, Nobody Knows Where, And We'll Catch The Hell."

Clemenza did a good job of preparing Michael for the hits on Sollozzo and McCluskey. He gave him a customized weapon and showed him how to use it. He then assured him everything would be alright. He would have to go into hiding as the rest of the family dealt with the heat.

Not only were Clemenza's words a prophecy of things to come but they were also a reminder of just how courageous he was. He was aware there would be retaliation for the murders but he didn't care. He was ready to face whatever was coming. No matter the consequences, the hits had to happen because the Don had been disrespected.

6 "Luca Brasi Sleeps With The Fishes."

After learning Vito Corleone's secret plan to use Luca Brasi to spy on him, Sollozzo lured the bodyguard to his lair and rammed a knife into his hand before garotting him. A fish wrapped in Brasi's bullet-proof vest was then sent to the Corleones. While everyone wondered what the message meant, Clemenza explained that it was a Sicilian message meaning Brasi's body was now in the sea.

The "sleeping with the fishes" phrase would go on to be iconic, as it's been referenced in several other gangster movies as well as the hit mob TV show, The Sopranos. A common practice seen in many gangster productions is bodies of murdered individuals being thrown in the sea so that they can't be found by authorities. But it all started with The Godfather.

5 "Yes. Always, Godfather."

As all the other families were ganging up against the Corleones, Clemenza took Vito up on his offer that he would one day let him and Tessio form their own families. Instead, Vito asked Clemenza to support Michael first and demanded to know whether he was still loyal to the family.

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It has always been normal for mobsters to be ambitious and seek the top job, but Clemenza was never going to cross Vito. If the Don said "wait," he was going to wait. In this particular scene, it was evident just how much power Vito yielded. Clemenza was normally outspoken, but in the Don's presence, he was the humblest he had ever been.

4 "Hey, Carlo!"

Michael was smart enough to lie to Carlo that his life would be spared for his involvement with Barzini as well as Sonny's death. As he comfortably entered his car and prepared to drive away, Clemenza said hello from the back seat before strangling him to death.

It was somewhat of an expected twist since never have there been mob traitors who were allowed to walk away without paying for their sins. Though the brutal action made Connie leave Michael, she later realized that what he did was in the family's best interest. Carlo's death also inspired one of the most iconic scenes in Goodfellas where Kessler was killed by Tommy DeVito, who was in the back seat.

3 "These Things Gotta Happen Every 5 Years Or So, 10 Years. Helps To Get Rid Of The Bad Blood."

Clemenza had a nonchalant attitude about the looming war with the rival families. He figured it was a storm that had to happen and would eventually pass.

The hard-boiled mobster had a view that others would agree with and others wouldn't — there has to be a war for peace to last. He wasn't exactly right since the peace only lasted for a short while. Michael had to kill the bosses of the five New York families when he took over from Vito in order for there to be actual peace.

2 "I Left It Noisy. That Way It Scares Any Pain-In-The-A** Innocent Bystanders Away."

As he prepared Michael for the difficult task of whacking Sollozzo and McCluskey, Clemenza made him fire the customized gun for practice purposes. Michael complained it was too noisy, to which Clemenza clarified that that's exactly how it was supposed to be.

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Giving Michael a noisy gun was a smart decision because in order for there not to be too many witnesses during the hit, there needed to be a commotion. A noisy gun would create the kind of commotion that was needed. And just as he anticipated, everyone was running when Michael fired the shots at the diner.

1 "Oh, Paulie? You Won't See Him No More."

Some members of the Corleone Crime Family were not aware that Paulie had been whacked, so they asked Clemenza where he was. Not one to give too many explanations, Clemenza had a brief reply.

Not only was the response casual but it also served as a reminder to the remaining gangsters in the family that if you become a turncoat, there will be grave consequences. In addition, you'll be forgotten rather quickly and all your great contributions will be considered null going forward.

NEXT: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Godfather's Michael Corleone

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