All The Oranges In The Godfather Ranked By How Much We'd Eat Them

What is there to say about "The Godfather" that hasn't been said over the last 50 years? Francis Ford Coppola directed what is largely considered to be one of the best movies of all time, and there have been countless think pieces, academic assessments, documentaries, and opinion pieces written about the film and its legacy. I love "The Godfather," and as someone so Italian my last name is a syllable short of being the name of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Coppola's film was a major part of my cinematic upbringing as a child. I've thought a lot about the film over these years, as has anyone else with even a passing interest in film theory, which means I've also fallen down the rabbit hole of, "What's with all the oranges?"

Harlan Lebo claimed in his making-of book, "The Godfather Legacy," that the oranges were nothing more than something production designer Dean Tavoularis included as a way to brighten up the somber set design, and there was no larger intention outside of aesthetics. "I don't remember anybody saying, 'Hey, I like oranges as a symbolic message,'" Tavoularis was quoted as saying. The oranges have been interpreted as an omen for death and violence, which Coppola has corroborated in director's commentaries on the film. It is true that the oranges started out as a coincidence, but Coppola has confirmed that their appearances in "The Godfather" parts II and III were intentional to fit with the theming.

Anyway, I ranked the oranges in "The Godfather" by how much I'd like to eat them, because we have already analyzed the film to death and s*** posting is all I have left in this cruel and thankless world. Enjoy!

Failed hit pavement oranges

Look, I understand that oranges have rinds to protect the fruit, but after Don Corleone is shot in the street, a whole mess of them come tumbling down. A few get trampled on, some of them are clearly bruised from the fall to the street, one of them rolls on top of a city manhole cover, and absolutely none of them are oranges I want to eat. This is a crime scene! Those oranges are evidence! Sollozzo and Tattaglia didn't just ruin their plans of expanding their heroin trade, they also ruined some perfectly nice-looking oranges on top of ruining the sales of a vendor working hard to make ends meet. Isn't that the real crime here? (I'm being sarcastic, please do not @ me).

Salvatore Tessio at the wedding reception orange

Outdoor wedding receptions can be beautiful, but everyone at Connie's wedding looks like they're 15 minutes from overeating. Sal Tessio at one point reaches across a reception table surrounded by Connie's flower girls and grabs an orange for himself. Not only has that orange been cooking in the hot sun, but Sal is seated at a table populated by children. Kids get so excited and overwhelmed by options that they feel the need to touch everything, and in many cases, try everything. I'd bet money that some kid shoved their grubby little fingers into the other end of that orange before Sal grabbed it, and if they didn't, it's still a hot orange. Baked oranges can be delicious when prepared properly, but if you're looking for a refreshing treat during a hot wedding reception, you're going to have a bad time. And since it's "The Godfather," all oranges are a guaranteed harbinger of bad times anyway.

The Five Families meeting orange

The meeting of the Five Families takes place over food, of course, because we Italians don't know how to make any serious decisions without stuffing our faces at the same time. As the men gather to debate, discuss, and puff on sigaros, the long table is shown adorned with glass bowls of fruit and nuts. One bowl placed prominently in front of both Don Emilio Barzini and Philip Tattaglia (depending on the camera angle) is filled with grapes, pears, and a single orange. The orange looks a bit like wax and the color isn't as vibrant as some of the other oranges shown throughout the film, which is probably why it's the sole orange left uneaten.

Growing up, I never wanted to eat the last piece of fruit in a fruit bowl because I got it in my head that if every other piece of fruit but that one was taken there must be something wrong with it. Why was this one skipped over? Does everyone in my family know something I don't? In hindsight, it's probably because I had this exact conversation with my nonna as a young kid after watching "The Godfather," and it's become part of my life ever since.

Don Corleone's final meal

Don Corleone lived and died by his word: "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." The Don is the head of a crime family, sure, but he's also a loving and loyal leader. His final moments are spent playing in the tomato garden with his grandson Anthony, running around and enjoying the summer sun together. Corleone decides to snack on an orange, carving up the rind so it looks like teeth, and puts it in his mouth to make a scary monster face. Anthony initially freaks out at the look of his nonno, but once his initial fears subside, turns it into a fun game of running from the monster. 

Unfortunately, playtime is short-lived, as The Don suffers a heart attack and dies the perfect death. Despite his life of crime, Corleone died shrouded in love and doing what he truly valued most of all — being a family man. I like to believe that orange rind was the sweetest in all the land, and the best possible taste to have in his mouth before passing away.

Jack Woltz's dining room oranges

Let's make one thing clear — Jack Woltz is a bad dude and deserved absolutely everything that came to him. I'm sad a horse had to die to get the message across, but Woltz is a buttheaded creep. That being said, his dining room table boasts a gorgeous bowl of oranges. It's like something out of a painting. They're all perfectly shaped, super brightly colored, and I can practically feel the juice running through my fingers just by looking at them. Woltz is a gross predator, but he's a man of high class, and there's no way he allowed produce into his home that was anything less than perfect. Some personal shopper probably spent a lot of time agonizing over which oranges to pick, and they deserve a raise they absolutely won't get. Those oranges are ART.

Don Corleone's bag of oranges

Before Vito Corleone was shot and oranges spilled all over the pavement, he was busy buying fruit for himself from a street stand. This fruit seller is at the top of his game, my friends. Every single piece of fruit he has for sale looks like something out of a painting. Maybe it was the bright lights of a film studio, but I swear you could see your reflection in the bell peppers. 

The Don picks out two oranges from the seller's cart, two specifically plump and delicious-looking oranges. When he's shot at, the bag of produce unfortunately takes a tumble, but only one of the oranges falls out, meaning the other perfect orange is still safely inside the paper bag. That's the orange I want. Give me that precious, perfect, nearly-escaped-death orange. I'm sure the revenge of survival only makes it taste even better.

Sandra Corleone's wedding brunch orange

The title of most exquisite orange in all of "The Godfather" belongs to the one seated in front of Sandrinella "Sandra" Corleone at Connie's wedding reception. There are no kids to mess with it, she's seated in a shadier side of the property, and doesn't have to worry about the direct sunlight. We see this orange as Sandra is joking with friends and family about her husband's massive peen, while a pitcher of wine sits before them. Y'all, this is the best possible type of fruit in existence — a LADIES' BRUNCH ORANGE. 

I know, I know, oranges are bad omens in the world of "The Godfather," but Sandra's orange is one of the few examples where the omen does not belong to her. Her husband Sonny dies, indicating the orange omen was for him. As sad as that is, it means Sandra got to have a delicious brunch orange and not lose her life. She's the real winner of the orange war.