Why Did Michael Kill Fredo? (7 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

In The Godfather Part II, Michael makes a crazy choice – he kills his brother Fredo. For many, this murder might not make sense. It’s a drastic decision to perform that act at all.

Why did Michael kill Fredo? What was the rationale behind this decision? Is there a good reason Michael Corleone decided to perform something drastic in the film?

Why Did Michael Kill Fredo?

1. There Is Foreshadowing

In The Godfather, there is a foreshadowing of the death of Fredo. Fredo comes under a shameless position in this movie and pushes away from his family further than ever before.

There is a rule that no one stands against the Corleone family and lives, which Michael strives to obey at all costs. This loyalty is demonstrated through several violent deaths in the movie.

In the end, Michael warns Fredo to avoid going against them again. Of course, as we know, Fredo takes a stance against the Corleones, yet again.

Foreshadowing is a critical element. If it is foreshadowed, it only makes sense for the action to occur. It was only natural for Michael to kill Fredo after the first movie happened.

2. He Has No Choice

There is no choice for Michael but to kill his brother. He knows that this second time his brother has betrayed him is intentionally done against him. It’s unforgivable.

Michael also survives an attack in Havana, which has been set up by Fredo. Michael quickly becomes aware of the situation and the trap formed by his fellow Corleone sibling.

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Unfortunately, these mistakes led to an inevitable answer for the now-violent Michael. He had no choice but to kill Fredo for the sake of the Corleone empire and what it stands for in life.

It might seem like there is a choice here – there is not. Michael is forced to make a decision that will forever shape the course of his life for the rest of time.

3. Vengeance Is At Work

In the movie, there is a desire from the gangster Hyman Roth to avenge the death of Greene. Fredo helped push his plant to achieve this revenge and make it happen.

Hyman Roth also has a desire to take over the Corleone’s family empire, which helped lead to the murder. There were many strings at work that led to the demise of Fredo by Michael.

Vengeance is a big, emotional desire, and it can make many things happen with fury. Although the desire for vengeance wasn’t Michael’s, it helped push the scenario forward.

If you have ever experienced a desire for vengeance, you know how dangerous it can be. Revenge is a violent feeling and action.

4. Betrayal Still Stings

Betrayal Still Stings

It’s no secret that betrayal stings. No matter what form it comes in, when someone backstabs you, the pain is real. That’s the case when Michael kills Fredo in the second movie.

Due to the betrayal of Fredo, Michael was put in a position of humiliation and fear as he uncovered the trouble. Nothing hurts worse than the betrayal of a brother – nothing.

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Most people would react when betrayed. The difference with Michael is that he was involved with an organization more deadly than the average person – leading to the death of Fredo.

5. He Is Less Than Man

The point of these movies is to describe the descent of Michael from a man to something significantly less than. His choice was drastic, but it fits his new being at this point.

Betrayal is not tolerated in the Corleone family. It might seem inhumane to kill a brother to a normal person, but not to an individual in this intense and violent environment.

Even if you are a member of the Corleone family, you die if you move against the family. It only makes sense that someone inside enough for these rules would murder his sibling.

6. The Choice Was Necessary

In movies, every choice matters. For the character’s growth, the choice to kill Fredo was necessary. Otherwise, there is little point and intensity in his change. Death was needed.

Michael could have chosen not to kill Fredo. However, that choice would have broken the rules of the direction in which Michael’s character was traveling. It had to happen.

There was an option in this film for Michael to be kind – but not really. That’s not his character. That’s not what’s happening for the characters that operate in this film with success.

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7. More Drama Is Always Better

With any movie, the more drama, the better. What’s the point of watching a movie where nothing happens? The death of Fredo significantly ramped up the stakes.

Many deaths are leading up to this loss of life. However, this one was an unexpected shock that boosted back into any bored audience members. It’s a wild choice.

For success, drama is always best. The more drama you have, the better – and the death of Fredo worked for Michael and his terrifying dominance in the movie.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Tony Soprano killed Christopher, why Walt killed Mike, and why Quagmire hates Brian.


There are many reasons why Michaels decided to kill Fredo in The Godfather Part II. He is becoming less than a man, there is a need for drama, and more. It needs to happen.

It might seem drastic that Michael murdered his brother, but it fits the narrative. There was no other way for Michael to move forward in this transformation as a Corleone.


  • Freya Crawford

    Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

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