Learn English with Movies – the Godfather

Michael Slang Leave a Comment

**Warning! This lesson contains offensive and racist language from the film. It is presented here for educational purposes only. While I realize the language is offensive, I present it here as it was used in the context of this scene in the film.

Today I want to show you some idioms used in the film. the Godfather. In this scene, Tom (the family lawyer)  is sent to California to talk to Mr.  Woltz, a famous movie director) He is asking Mr. Woltz to allow the Godfather’s acquaintance, Johnny Fontane to appear in a movie. Read along with the dialog as you listen to the conversation:

  • WOLTZ: All right, start talking.
  • TOM:  Uh, I was sent by a friend of Johnny Fontane’s — His friend is my client, who’d give
  • his undying friendship to Mr. Woltz, if Mr. Woltz would grant us a small — favor.
  • WOLTZ: Woltz is listening.
  • TOM: Give Johnny the part in that new war film you’re starting next week.
  • WOLTZ: And uh, what favor would uh your friend uh grant Mr. Woltz?
  • TOM: You’re gonna have some union problems; my client could make them disappear. Also, one of
  • your top stars has just moved from ah marijuana to heroin…
  • WOLTZ: Are you trying to muscle me?
  • TOM:  Absolutely not.
  • WOLTZ: Now listen to me, you smooth-talking son of a bitch! Let me lay it on the line for you     and your boss, whoever he is. Johnny Fontane will never get that movie!
  •     I don’t care how many daigo guinea WOP greaseball gumbahs come out of the
  •     woodwork!
  • TOM:  I’m German-Irish…

Muscle [someone] into (verb) to try to make someone do something by physical violence, with money, or by using political power:

  • Tony tried to muscle Jack into carrying illegal drugs on an airplane for him.
  • Some guys on the street tried to muscle me into going with them to an expensive club.

Smooth talk (verb) to use flattering or complimentary language in order to persuade someone to do something.

  • Jim’s wife tried to smooth talk him into taking her to a fancy restaurant.
  • When she told me she thought I was handsome, I realized she was just smooth talking me.

Son-of-a-bitch (noun) a term meaning an unpleasant, disagreeable, worthless person. It is used as an insult when you are angry.

Lay [something] on the line (verb) to explain something clearly.

  • I’m going to lay this on the line. Your work is not acceptable. You need to improve or you will not pass this course.
  • Just lay it on the line. Do you really love me or not?!
[Someone] comes out of the woodwork (verb) to appear suddenly after hiding for a long time in order to do something bad.

  • Suddenly, the anti-union workers come out of the woodwork in front of the factory and held a demonstration.
  • The president feared that many people against his proposal would come out of the woodwork and begin protesting in front of the capitol.

**Note: Daigo, guinea, WOP, greaseball, gumba: these 5 words are ethnic slurs used in the early 20th century to talk about Italian immigrants in the USA. There was a great deal of racism in the USA in that time period toward the many different immigrant groups in that time.

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