March 31, 2016

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Brando as The Godfather with rose 700


“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
       Mario Puzo (1920-1999)
       American author and scriptwriter
       The catchphrase Puzo created for the Corleone family in his 1969 novel The Godfather
       This line gained worldwide fame after the 1972 movie adaptation of the novel became a blockbuster hit. It is first used in the novel by the Mafia “Godfather” Don Vito Corleone. When Italian singer and actor Johnny Fontane tells Don Corleone that a Hollywood movie executive had refused to give him a role he wanted in an upcoming film, Don Corleone tells Johnny he’ll convince the studio executive to change his mind. “He’s a businessman,” the Don explains. “I’ll make him an offer he can't refuse.”
       Corleone sends his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to visit the studio exec and make a seemingly polite request to have Johnny reconsidered for the movie role. The studio exec refuses. Soon after that, he finds the severed head of his prized stud racehorse in his bed—and quickly decides to give Johnny the part. Later in the novel, Vito’s son Michael Corleone also says “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
      In the movie adaptation, the famous “offer” line used by Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone is slightly different. Brando says “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Later in the film, Al Pacino, as Michael, says “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
       Of course, in the novel and film the “offer” is a veiled threat used with chilling effect. As part of our language, mentions of offers that can’t be refused are now typically used more for humorous effect.
       Mario Puzo wrote The Godfather in his spare time while working as a writer for men’s pulp adventure magazines in the 1960s. For more background on this famous quote, see the post about it on my site.

Obama as The Godfather with rose 700


“In the context of the Supreme Court vacancy, President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland may be the hardest for Republicans to reject...Garland’s nomination comes the closest to making Senate Republicans an offer they can’t afford to refuse. On the merits — and this is no slight to the other finalists; Garland simply has the longevity — he is the best qualified. He is the most moderate nominee Republicans could reasonably expect. His downside, in the view of Democrats, his age, should be a confirmation plus in the eyes of Republicans.”
       Ruth Marcus
       American political columnist
       Commenting in her March 18, 2016 column in the Washington Post about the dilemma Republicans face if they refuse to hold hearings on or reject President Obama’s moderate nominee to replace the late Justice Scalia. If they don’t approve Judge Garland, they face the fact Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders could be elected president in November 2016, and their nominee could be more liberal and less palatable to Republican Conservatives.

Most Interesting Man Offer


“I don’t always make an offer...But when I do, you can't refuse.” 
       A meme posted on featuring the now retired “Most Interesting Man in the World.” (I miss him already.)



“You can scratch up my records, you can drink my booze...
You can make me an offer I can't refuse
But darling, please don’t wear those shoes.”
       “Weird Al” Yankovic
       American musician, satirist and shoe critic
       Lyrics from his song “Don’t Wear Those Shoes” on his Polka Party album (1986)

BoJack_Horseman Rolling Stone


“This horse’s head is an offer you can refuse.”
       Brian Lowry
       TV critic for Variety magazine
       In his August 13, 2014 review of the Netflix animated comedy show Bojack Horseman. The main character is a talking horse (voiced by Will Arnett) who once appeared in a popular sitcom but is now forgotten, depressed and bitter. Although most critics seem to agree with Lowry’s assessment, the show has been popular enough with viewers to be continued by Netflix for three seasons.

The Godfather’s Revenge book


“An offer you might want to refuse.”
       Carol Memmott
       American book critic and entertainment writer
       From her review of Mark Winegardner’s 2004 novel The Godfather’s Revenge, a sequel to Mario Puzo’s Godfather series. The book was a best seller, despite the opinion of Memmott.

Dominic Chianese Uncle Junior The Sopranos


“You hear about the Chinese Godfather?  He made them an offer they couldn’t understand.”
       The character Uncle Junior (played by Dominic Chianese) in The Sopranos TV series
       Uncle Junior told this lame joke to his buddies in Season 1, Episode 4 of the series
       Word and phrase maven Barry Popik has noted on his great site, The Big Apple, that there was an earlier version of this joke that poked fun at both gangsters and lawyers: “What do you get when you cross a gangster with an attorney? An offer you can’t understand.”

Junk Mail in mailbox


“Here’s what I do to them and every other asshole that sends me an offer I want to refuse. I take all the mail they sent, plus whatever crap is lying around the house (used rubbers, rat shit, gum, those insert cards from other magazines) and I stuff it all into the prepaid reply envelope and send the junk mail right back.”
         Josh Saitz

       Editor of the Negative Capability online zine
       In a post on the zine titled “How to Cope with Assholes”

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