Surprisingly the real Mafia didn’t mind the Godfather movies that much. In fact, they were kind of amused by them by all accounts since the whole trilogy shone a positive light, more or less, on the Corleone family and made them out to be the protagonists as well as the antagonists at times. In short, the Corleone family weren’t saints or angels by any means, but they were shown to be something more than just Italian thugs with guns as some folks might describe the Mafia. In the many movies that have been created using the Mafia as a basis, it’s been seen that a lot of times they’ll be seen as the criminals, the bad element, and the enemies of the world around them since the truth is that the Mafia, for all that they claim to be about family, respect, and protection for their people, have done some rather horrible things throughout history. It’s true, they’ve attempted to do some good and have succeeded, but forgetting all the negative aspects of the Mafia hasn’t been entirely possible thanks to the spotlight that’s been thrust upon their criminal activities throughout the years. That aspect is a point on which many would gladly argue since some believe that flouting the law in a country that makes laws that favor certain folks but not others is a patriotic duty while following said laws and getting nowhere is for suckers. There’s a certain, immoral logic to that. But the laws of the land are still put in place for a reason, and while they do tend to favor those that make them and those that are in favor with said lawmakers, in spirit they’re supposed to protect everyone.
Instead of getting into that obvious debate on morality though, it’s better to state that the Mafia did note that a few things were off, such as Tom Hagen being the Corleone’s consigliere. In a strictly Sicilian-run mob, it wouldn’t really matter if Tom was Vito Corleone’s stepson, his lineage would make him unfit for such a role, and appointing him as such would no doubt anger quite a few people since if anyone bothers to read up on this stuff, the Mafia was very particular about who they allowed into their company. There’s also the matter of the assassination of Santino Corleone when he was being led by the nose, so to speak, to gain a bit of justice for his sister Connie. To start with, in a family that knows that they’re being targeted due to their inability to work with the other families when the drug trade was brought to their doorstep, one would think that a setup would be easy to spot. Plus, the fact that Carlo made it pretty obvious that he was beating on Connie in such a blatant manner, especially after Sonny had beaten the living hell out of him and threatened him the first time, should have been a huge red flag. Of course, the idea was that Sonny was seeing red when he was on his way to deal out another beating to Carlo, but even that isn’t a good enough excuse. But the execution is about as much overkill as one can expect since all it would have taken was a single assassin to lie in wait for Sonny, not a firing squad that had just as much chance of taking each other out as Sonny.
The fact is that the Mafia managed to get a good laugh out of the Godfather movies since they noted many things that didn’t really happen in their world and several things that were pretty accurate. It goes to show that Mario Puzo, the author of the book that inspired the movie, wasn’t quite the expert on Mafia life, but had heard enough throughout the course of his life to get a good idea of what to write. To be fair, the book went into a lot more detail with certain things that the movie never bothered to show, but it’s very likely that the movie was a huge fabrication of Mafia life, even if some of the details were accurate. The Mafia was a true seat of power in the old days, and when the country was still finding its overall identity the Mafia held a great amount of power that couldn’t be challenged and was wise to leave alone. Over the years though, the real Mafia, La Cosa Nostra, have steadily lost their influence and their power, no matter that they might not be completely gone at this point. The power they once held is largely broken since the days of the old school gangsters is pretty well over and done with. But it’s still appreciated by those that remember the old days when they see a faithful representation or something that comes close enough.