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Hi davicaxias, can I call you Dave? Hehe. First few notes do sound similar even though in different key, and slightly different rhythm. Either Rota used that bit in his melody, or just luck. I suspect the latter.
 

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Hi Phil. Dave or David (Davi is the portuguese form for David) is fine, no problem.
I am looking at your post date, looks like took some time for someone reply you. I'm glad.
I found some quotes in my research that suggest that Nino Rota used the main theme from the Sibeblius First Symphony on the Godfather main theme. And I found it in the Oslo Philarmonic website:

https://ofo.no/en/concerts/2020-10-14/classical-hour-sibelius
 

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Did Rota acknowledge this similarity? I'd love to know this.

There's another near Sibelius quote from his violin concerto. In the first movement there's a short theme first in the clarinets which sounds like "There's a bright golden haze on the meadow" from the song, O what a Beautiful Morning from the Rodgers/Hammerstein musical Oklahoma!
 

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Sometimes it is. Some guy composed a theme very similar to a theme by Toto in the film Dune, and in fact had more correlations than the Rota / Sibelius. He never watched the movie or heard the music before. I told him about it, and he felt so annoyed that he changed or abandoned it. You can call me Sir Phil.
 
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