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The Godfather Movies Are About Demonic Possession Says One Dark Theory

Over the course of the first two “Godfather” films, we see Michael become increasingly cold and malevolent — first when he commits murder himself in “Part I,” then when he arranges the murder of his own brother in “Part II.” For the aforementioned Reddit theorist, Michael becomes truly possessed during his godson’s baptism at the end of “Part I.”

The famous scene cuts back and forth between the Catholic rite and the murder of various Corleone family enemies, including Moe Greene (Alex Rocco), Emilio Barzini (Richard Conte), and Philip Tattaglia (Victor Rendina). At the same time, the priest asks Michael if he renounces Satan, and all his works, and all his pomps. “His transformation into the Devil is complete and so the movie closes just as it begins,” reads the original Reddit post, citing Vito Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) shady dealmaking during his daughter’s wedding reception. “With men in need making a deal with the Devil incarnate.”

The redditor concedes that in the context of their theory, the word “Devil” can be swapped with “power,” and that “The Godfather” is an examination of “how that power corrupts.” It’s less fantastical, certainly, than a grand theory of demonic possession, but Francis Ford Coppola’s use of Catholic imagery can’t be denied — nor can Michael’s hypocritical renunciation of Satan as his underlings kill half a dozen men. It’s a baptism by fire in the truest sense of the phrase. Michael may not be literally possessed by the Devil, but for Coppola, the Don’s absolute power is essentially the same thing, leading to the dissolution of his soul.

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