The Godfather: Part I
Michael Corleone's ascension to the head of the Corleone crime family is portrayed in Puzo's novel and the first film.
Michael initially wants nothing to do with the "family business", and is enrolled at Dartmouth College in search of a more Americanized life. After the United States' entry into World War II, he enlists in the Marines against his father's wishes and fights in the Pacific Theatre. For his bravery, Michael is featured in Life magazine in 1944, having been awarded the Navy Cross. Michael is discharged as a Captain to recover from wounds in 1945. He later re-enters Dartmouth, where he meets his future wife, Kay Adams (Diane Keaton).
When his father is nearly assassinated in 1945, he volunteers to murder the man responsible, Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo (Al Lettieri). He also proposes to kill Captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden), a police captain who removed his father's bodyguards from the hospital, presumably to set up his father to be killed. Although it is normally a hard-and-fast rule in the Mafia that law enforcement officials are not to be harmed, Michael successfully convinces his older brother Sonny (James Caan) that since McCluskey is serving as Sollozzo's bodyguard, he has crossed into their world and is fair game.