Italian-American Women

A discussion of how films reflect the characteristics of Italian-American women.

This paper reviews two films by Italian-American directors, focusing on their portrayal of Italian-American women. The paper illustrates how Francis Coppola’s The Godfather accepts the general parameters of family and of the place of women in the Italian-American family and community, while Martin Scorsese’s “Who’s That Knocking at My Door? delves more deeply into the effects certain myths have on that community.
The roles allotted for women in society enable both men and women to know where they fit in society and provide an area of comfort within which they know who they are, what they are to do in support of their families, and how they are viewed by every other member of society. There are cultural differences as to how women are viewed by different groups. Italian women have a different view of themselves than do American women because of cultural differences, and Italian-American women are in some ways between two cultures, embodying elements of both. Film reflects how different groups see themselves, and films by Italian-American directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola reflect some of the characteristics of Italian-American women and some of the tensions that these differences can create.”