Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Mario Puzo, fully Mario Gianluigi Puzo

American Screenwriter and Author of The Godfather

"There was no greater natural advantage in life than having an enemy overestimate your faults, unless it was to have a friend underestimate your virtues."

"They made it personal when they shot Pop. It is not business, it's personal."

"We are all honorable men here. We do not have to give each other assurances as if we were lawyers."

"We are a family, and the loyalty of the family must come before anything and everyone else. For if we honor that commitment, we will never be vanquished ? but if we falter in that loyalty we will all be condemned."

"Time erodes gratitude more quickly than it does beauty."

"We don't know if capital punishment is a deterrent, but we know that men we execute will not murder again."

"Tom, don't let anybody kid you. It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That's what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes? Right? And you know something? Accidents don't happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult."

"Wasn't it true that sometimes the greatest misfortunes brought un-forseen rewards? -Don Corleone"

"What we think of as our sensitivity is only the higher evolution of terror in a poor dumb beast. We suffer for nothing. Our own death wish is our only real tragedy."

"When I was young, some women told me they loved me for my long eyelashes. I accepted. Later it was for my wit. Then for my power and money. Then for my talent. Then for my mind-deep. OK, I can handle all of it. The only woman who scares me is the one who loves me for myself alone. I have plans for her. I have poisons and daggers and dark graves in caves to hide her head. She can't be allowed to live. Especially if she's sexually faithful and never lies and always puts me ahead of everything and everyone."

"What is past is past. Never go back. Not for excuses. Not for justification, not for happiness. You are what you are, the world is what it is."

"When we are children, when we are young, it is natural to love our friends, to be generous to them, to forgive their faults... But as we grow old and have to earn our bread, friendship does not endure so easily. We must always be on our guard. Our elders no longer look after us, we are no longer content with those simple pleasures of children. Pride grows in us ? we wish to become great or powerful or rich, or simply to guard ourself against misfortune."

"With the perverse logic of a degenerate gambler he figured God was testing his faith."

"Why should I be afraid now? Strange men have come to kill me ever since I was twelve years old."

"Yet, he thought, if I can die saying, Life is so beautiful, then nothing else is important. If i can believe in myself that much, nothing else matters."

"Woman and children can afford to be careless, men cannot."

"You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you or my boy to me? I forgo the vengeance of my son. But I have selfish reasons. My youngest son was forced to leave this country because of this Sollozzo business. All right, now I have to make arrangements to bring him back here safely cleared of all these false charges. But I'm a superstitious man and if some unlucky accident should befall him, if he should get shot in the head by a police officer, or if should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he's struck by a bolt of lightning, then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room, and that I do not forgive. But, that aside, let me say that I swear, on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not be the one to break the peace we have made here today."

"You cannot say 'no' to the people you love, not often. That's the secret. And then when you do, it has to sound like a 'yes'. Or you have to make them say 'no.' You have to take time and trouble."

"You can't hide the thunderbolt. When it hits you, everybody can see it. Christ, man, don't be ashamed of it, some men pray for the thunderbolt. You're a very lucky fellow."