The term is commonly misunderstood to mean any man in power; however, it is usually used pejoratively. In the Godfather, Michael uses the term to console his father who is upset because he had hoped that his son would achieve legitimate success like that of a Senator or President. Michael uses the term to assure his father that such people just think they are important men but in reality are no better than him.
Vito Corleone: I never wanted this for you. ... I thought that when it was your time that you would be the one to hold the strings. Senator Corleone. Governor Corleone. Somethin'.
Michael Corleone: Another pezzonovante.