Leave the gun, take the cannoli is a memorable quote from the movie The Godfather, by the character of Pete Clemenza, a member of the Italian Mob.
After a successful assassination attempt ordered by The Mob, Clemenza tells his partner to leave the murder weapon behind, but grab the cannoli from the victim’s car.
The line conveys a deeper connotation: leaving the past behind (The gun is the dreadfulness of the past), and looking into the future (the cannoli is the prospect of a sweet future).
Cannoli (meaning little tubes) are Italian pastries consisting of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta—an iconic Sicilian food.
The Godfather is an iconic piece of film history that premiered in 1972, telling the chilling story behind the Sicilian Mob in America.
Arguably, leave the gun take the cannoli is one of the most highly anticipated movie quotes of all time.
That being said, there is still some debate among critics and linguists as to what could be the deeper meaning behind the quote. This debate was and is still a helpful factor for the integration of the line into everyday speech.
Author Mark Seal published his book in 2021 about the making of The Godfather, and gave it the title Leave the gun, take the cannoli.