Sonny versus Carlo, 40 years later

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Since Monday, AMC has been showing and reshowing the three installments of The Godfather series in celebration of the original's 40th anniversary—which if my math is correct makes Al Pacino 102 years old this year. Godfather Week ends tomorrow with an all-day showing of The Godfather Saga, a TV miniseries that first aired in 1977 and combines the first two films into one.

In honor of everything The Godfather has done for the representation of organized crime in film, let us please revisit Sonny's epic pummeling of Connie's rat of a husband and enemy to the Corleone family, Carlo. It's one of my favorite fight scenes ever, and features all the dirty moves necessary to truly degrade Carlo in public (I'm not counting Carlo's orange-cream getup, because he chose to leave the house in that himself): biting his fingers, beating him with his own shoe, chucking a garbage can at his head, smashing in his skull with the garbage can's lid, and kicking him while he's down.

Add to that a punch that James Caan doesn't get within two feet of landing, a dramatically overblown flop by Gianni Russo, and just a staggering amount of restraint between the two actors, and Coppola really couldn't have nailed the scene any better.

*FORTY-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT* It's too bad that on his way to kick Carlo's ass again Sonny got gunned down at a toll booth—an ambush that Carlo was involved with and would later pay for. I bet round two would've been so sweet.

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