Great Characters Wiki
Great Characters Wiki

Thomas "Tom" Hagen is a supporting character in The Godfather novel and the first and second films. He was the consigliere and head lawyer of the Corleone family, as well as being the adoptive son of Vito and Carmela Corleone and the adoptive brother of Sonny, Fredo, Michael and Connie Corleone.

He was portrayed by Robert Duvall.

Why He Rocks

  1. Robert Duvall does a great portrayal of the Corleone lawyer in the film adaptations.
  2. Tom has had some pretty rough, unfortunate beginnings. His mother was completely neglectful towards him and when he had turned 11, his mother caught an eye infection that resulted in blindness, and died soon after from venereal disease. Tom also caught the eye infection, which went untreated until he eventually lived with the Corleones. His father would then drink himself to death and Tom and his sister would be sent to an orphanage, but Tom ran away. His sister ended up in a foster home, but the social agencies of the time did not follow up on Tom's case. Tom lived on the streets alone for more than a year due to the rumors that his mother's eye infection had spread to him.
  3. Since Tom was adopted by the Corleones rather than a blood-related child, and couldn't become the Godfather as a result, Tom got assigned as the consigliere, the chief adviser and lawyer to the Godfather, and he's very good at his job. He has business savvy that is a bit less clean than Vito's. For instance, he sees that drug dealing is part of the future of organized crime and advises getting involved instead of objecting to it. Although Vito refused to go with it.
  4. He also helps propose offers (the kind that people can't refuse) to men like Jack Woltz -- the producer who's preventing Johnny Fontane from getting a role. The way he would often do so comes across as being creepy and unsettling, but also kind of awesome since Hagen was fairly quiet during the request and left without losing his cool.
  5. He's one of the most intelligent and logical members of the Corleone family and often plays the role of being "the voice of reason". He gives sharp advice to Sonny (which he fails to take), since he understands that the killing that occurs in their line of work isn't personal, but "just business." This would also make him incredibly deadly. Near the end of the second film, he's visiting turncoat former associate Frank Pentangeli where he is in protective custody during testimony before a senate committee on racketeering. The conversation turns to how, in the old days, the Corleone family was like the Roman Empire. Hagen begins the conversation: "When a plot against the Emperor failed... the plotters were always given a chance... to let their families keep their fortunes. Right?". (Frank Pentangeli: Yeah, but only the rich guys, Tom. The little guys got knocked off and all their estates went to the Emperors. Unless they went home and killed themselves, then nothing happened. And the families... the families were taken care of.) That was a good break. A nice deal. (Frank Pentangeli: Yeah... They went home... and sat in a hot bath... opened up their veins... and bled to death... and sometimes they had a little party before they did it.) Later on, Pentangeli would be discovered by his FBI handlers dead in the bathtub, wrists slashed. Definitely not somebody you'd want to mess with.
    • He would later become Michael's most trusted advisor in Part II and become much colder. When Nevada senator Pat Geary tries to strong-arm Michael into paying him off to obtain licenses for casinos, Tom gruesomely finishes him off.

Bad Qualities

  1. His sudden and unexplained absence from the third film may come out of nowhere for various people.