What does the citrus fruit have to do with films? Out of all the greatest films ever made, there is one that stands out for more than the brilliant actors and direction: have you ever noticed the number of times that oranges appear in the film series The Godfather (1972, 1974, 1990)?


  • Oranges spill out on the street after Don Corleone is shot.
  • An orange is in front of Don Emilio Barzini during a family sit-down dinner.
  • Johnny Ola gives an orange to Michael Corleone.
  • Don Fanucci buys an orange.
  • Vito Corleone buys an orange.
  • Michael Corleone eats an orange…  

There is an awful lot of eating, buying, the passing of and placement of oranges in The Godfather films – 22 times in fact.

Another thing that happens often in this famous trilogy by Francis Ford Coppola is death. So many of the orange scenes occurred just prior to, or as someone was killed, that film fans have conceded that the Coppola had purposefully used this juicy fruit to announce or underline tragic moments.  

Apparently however, this was just a pure coincidence.

As written in his book on the making of the film, The Godfather Legacy, Harlan Lebo explains that it was just a way for the set designer to add some contrast of colour to an otherwise sombre set!

The history of citrus fruits in movies