The slap that Vito gives Fontane was not in the script. Marlon Brando improvised the slap and Al Martino’s confused reaction was real. According to James Caan, “Martino didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.” (x)
Coppola’s antiphony of themes of innocence and corruption, his artful mixing of domestic detail and cold killing, are what raise this film far about the ordinary gangland epic. The story of the fall of the Cosa Nostra Don, Vito Corleone, and the rise to power of his son, Michael, is as much a story of family loyalty as it is a saga of power struggles in organized crime.
What are you gonna do? Nice college boy, didn’t want to get mixed up in the family business. Now you want to gun down a police captain. Why? Because he slapped you in the face a little? What do you think this like the Army where you can shoot ‘em from a mile away? No you gotta get up like this and, badda-bing, you blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit.