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The Godfather
Year:
1972
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
9.2
Director:
Francis Ford Coppola
Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
James Caan as Santino 'Sonny' Corleone
Richard S. Castellano as Young Peter Clemenza
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Sterling Hayden as Capt. McCluskey
John Marley as Jack Woltz
Richard Conte as Don Emilio Barzini
Al Lettieri as Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams Michelson
Abe Vigoda as Sal Tessio
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
Gianni Russo as Carlo Rizzi
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
Storyline: When the aging head of a famous crime family decides to transfer his position to one of his subalterns, a series of unfortunate events start happening to the family, and a war begins between all the well-known families leading to insolence, deportation, murder and revenge, and ends with the favorable successor being finally chosen.
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Reviews
The Godfather (1972)
Taking a best-selling novel of more drive than genius (Mario Puzo's The Godfather), about a subject of something less than common experience (the Mafia), involving an isolated portion of one very particular ethnic group (first-generation and second-generation Italian-Americans), Francis Ford Coppola has made one of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American life ever designed within the limits of popular entertainment.

The Godfather, which opened at five theaters here yesterday, is a superb Hollywood movie that was photographed mostly in New York (with locations in Las Vegas, Sicily, and Hollywood). It's the gangster melodrama come of age, truly sorrowful and truly exciting, without the false piety of the films that flourished forty years ago, scaring the delighted hell out of us while cautioning that crime doesn't (or, at least, shouldn't) pay.

It still doesn't, but the punishments suffered by the members of the Corleone Family aren't limited to sudden ambushes on street corners or to the more elaborately choreographed assassinations on thruways. They also include lifelong sentences of ostracism in terrible, bourgeois confinement, of money and power, but of not much more glory than can be obtained by the ability to purchase expensive bedroom suites, the kind that include everything from the rug on the floor to the pictures on the wall with, perhaps, a horrible satin bedspread thrown in.

Yet The Godfather is not quite that simple. It was Mr. Puzo's point, which has been made somehow more ambiguous and more interesting in the film, that the experience of the Corleone Family, as particular as it is, may be the mid-twentieth-century equivalent of the oil and lumber and railroad barons of nineteenth-century America. In the course of the ten years of intra-Mafia gang wars (1945-1955) dramatized by the film, the Corleones are, in fact, inching toward social and financial respectability.

For the Corleones, the land of opportunity is America the Ugly, in which almost everyone who is not Sicilian or, more narrowly, not a Corleone, is a potential enemy. Mr. Coppola captures this feeling of remoteness through the physical look of place and period, and through the narrative's point of view. The Godfather seems to take place entirely inside a huge, smoky, plastic dome, through which the Corleones see our real world only dimly.

Thus, at the crucial meeting of Mafia families, when the decision is made to take over the hard drug market, one old don argues in favor, saying he would keep the trade confined to blacks—"they are animals anyway."

This is all the more terrifying because, within their isolation, there is such a sense of love and honor, no matter how bizarre.

The film is affecting for many reasons, including the return of Marlon Brando, who has been away only in spirit, as Don Vito Corleone, the magnificent, shrewd old Corleone patriarch. It's not a large role, but he is the key to the film, and to the contributions of all of the other performers, so many actors that it is impossible to give everyone his due.

Some, however, must be cited, especially Al Pacino, as the college- educated son who takes over the family business and becomes, in the process, an actor worthy to have Brando as his father; as well as James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Al Lettieri, Abe Vigoda, Gianni Russo, Al Martino, and Morgana King. Mr. Coppola has not denied the characters' Italian heritage (as can be gathered by a quick reading of the cast), and by emphasizing it, he has made a movie that transcends its immediate milieu and genre.

The Godfather plays havoc with the emotions as the sweet things of life—marriages, baptisms, family feasts—become an inextricable part of the background for explicitly depicted murders by shotgun, garrote, machine gun, and booby-trapped automobile. The film is about an empire run from a dark, suburban Tudor palace where people, in siege, eat out of cardboard containers while babies cry and get underfoot. It is also more than a little disturbing to realize that characters, who are so moving one minute, are likely, in the next scene, to be blowing out the brains of a competitor over a white tablecloth. It's nothing personal, just their way of doing business as usual.

THE GODFATHER (MOVIE)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola; written by Mario Puzo and Mr. Coppola, based on the novel by Mr. Puzo; director of photography, Gordon Willis; edited by William Reynolds, Peter Zinner, Marc Laub, and Murray Solomon; music by Nino Rota; production designer, Dean Tavoularis; produced by Albert S. Ruddy; released by Paramount Pictures. Running time: 175 minutes.
2014-09-08
Brando's aged make-up is incredible
Coppola's near perfect masterpiece. A first class cast including, James Caan, Al Pacino and heavy weight Marlon Brando to name a few. There is not much I can add that hasn't already been written, it frankly is the quintessential family, Mafia gangster film.

The 1950's nostalgic feel is captured, distinguished cinematography by Gordon Willis and the script honed. The costumes, locations and sets add to the overall authentic experience. Brando's aged make-up is incredible, particularly for 1972 and apart from some insignificant choppy editing and stock footage the film is near enough picture perfect.

Timeless, compulsive viewing, there is a reason why The Godfather is on a pedestal as one of the greatest movies or of all time… There is no offer to refuse, it's a must see.
2010-03-19
A Must-See For All Generations
"The Godfather" has been a title so beloved and entirely embraced as a significant, cultural phenomenon, that in a certain level demands of you to watch it with full recommendations off of it. Especially if you're young, there is absolutely no way that the buzz of the "greatest movie in history" did not get you. So, even though that buzz doesn't necessarily ruin the viewing for you all-together, I will accept that while I was watching, I was unintentionally trying to like it and feel it.

The beginning of the film sets the mood perfectly. There are no attachments to settled humor or dry dialogue. It warns us that this is going to be a serious take, on some pretty serious issues. Don Corleone's first lines are self-aware and carefully put. This dominating appearance shows us a man trusted, beloved and respected and at the same time feared, depressed and deserted. And that goes for both his family and outsiders. He is a mafia man, one of the greatest, and his life is surrounded by his business partners, by his associates and comrades in this dark lifestyle. And throughout the entire movie, he is presented to have balanced the time between family and business, yet that seems like one impossible task.

Micheal Corleone, son of the Godfather, is introduced like a man with a very different approach and very different opinions on the case of life and choices than the rest of his family and especially his father. That happens for two reasons: early on his life he decided not to be like him (even though he seems to be the one attached by the Godfather as the favorite) and he has chosen a decent life for him and Kay, the love of his life.

Then, everything goes down the drain: someone attempts to kill the Godfather.

It is at that point when the son Micheal starts his decay... No promises, no commitments, no wrongs... Someone tried to kill his loving father. He stares at every single person in his family just standing by, so in his rage, decides to do the unthinkable. Using his status as the most innocent of the Corleone family, he exacts revenge.

When he succeeds, he exiles himself out of the country until things can settle down. He attempts to start a new life away from the madness with Apollonia, a beautiful woman he meets and falls in love with (although never convincing even himself that he has forgotten Kay). He comes to know the hard way that he can't run away from what he has done and what his family stands for. Someone tries to kill him even so far from his home but gets to Apollonia. So upon his return, he accepts the position of the new "Godfather" and immediately seems to be a changed man.

Micheal retrieves Kay, makes unconditional promises and ends up being the very person he was trying to avoid.

There are several things in this film that make it astounding. Relationships within the family are displayed in such a truthful way. Francis Ford Coppola offers us a chance to connect with many different characters and their several views. The main plot is driven excellently, with Don Corleone and Micheal taking the grandeur, but in the meanwhile we get to know the deep motions and powers of every person slightly connected to this world. What we get is a fiery and passionate film exploring deep meanings and strong notions.

Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for what was an unbelievably great performance. After this film, I totally get his worldwide fame as one of the greatest actors of all time. Al Pacino shines with charisma (which he perfected on the second part) in the greatest role of his career. And besides these two super-actors, is there anyone from the cast that I can talk badly for? All great.

I guess the only issue with this movie is it's running-time and most importantly the somewhat complicated way things glue together. I understand that Mario Puzo had a difficult task of bringing the book on- screen, but it's the way we are drawn to these characters that makes me confused about who is who. And that is the reason I suggest we stick to the father-son relationship and not worry about certain aspects and scenes we don't understand or just keep asking "who is that guy talking"?

This is the "Godfather" that everyone is talking about for decades, and if you don't like what you hear in the very first scene in that dark room, I warn you... turn of the picture and don't watch anymore. Come back a few years later when you could probably handle it.

On the other hand, you must ask yourself: can you feel the zest for respect and loyalty when Don Corleone whispers his lines? Don't you yearn for the moral and innocent Micheal as the movie goes? Can you sympathize with Kay when the door closes at the end? Then "The Godfather" got you where it should have.
2015-03-18
"He is a good godson."
This film has spawned so many gangster clichés and parodies that it's not even funny. Every time you've heard of people "sleeping with da fishies" or "making an offer you can't refuse," it'll all boil back to this classic, highly-tutted film.

On first glance, I dismissed the film as being rather dull, despite a few standout moments. On repeat viewings, I have found it more compelling. The film is most memorable for the scenes everybody knows and loves: the scene with the horse's head, the street fighting scene, Marlon Brando's mumbling, the restaurant shooting, sporadic bursts of gunfights and violence...it's all there. Dialogue dominates most of the film, but when given due attention, the story can be rather gripping and mesmerizing. At this point, the only drag I've felt is in the last thirty minutes or so; the film just kinda winds down after nearly 150 minutes of epic-scale gangster mayhem.

The story is long, dense, and chock full of quality characterizations. The film does a fine job of keeping its events in order so that the politics of each situation makes some kind of sense. What matters the most will be the characters, who are endearing, and the underlying themes of family, honor, and loyalty. Family and generations are probably the most blatant themes, especially since most scenes show some strong contrast (or perhaps comparisons) between adults and children.

As a film, it looks really classy. Photography never was a huge standout for these films, but the sepia tones and framing lends the movie a type of classic family-portrait appeal. Editing is decent. Acting is probably the biggest virtue here. Marlon Brando chews the scenery, despite his mumbling and constant fiddling with things, he does show endless nuance and expressions that brings Vito Corleone to life really well. Al Pacino must be at his most nuanced as Michael, and the rest of the magnificent cast fulfills their parts well. Writing is decent. This production has good-looking sets, props, and costumes, and is especially noteworthy for its period reproduction. Music is nice too.

Everybody should see this at least once in their lifetime.

4/5 (Entertainment: Pretty Good | Story: Good | Film: Perfect)
2013-01-02
History is made with this movie
I cannot think of a single negative of the Godfather. It truly is a classic and will always be one of the greatest films ever made. I have seen it many times and recently purchased the movie so that I could watch it anytime that I want.

I love the score for this film and get goosebumps when I hear that opening trumpet begin to play. As the movie progresses I begin to feel a connection to the characters and become invested in their growth and story. As many times as I have seen this movie, I continue to have the same feelings. It is one of the movies that can never get old and will always be a masterpiece.

It will be a number of years before anything can come close to the magnitude of this film and it may never be contested.
2016-01-08
One of the best films ever made!
The first Godfather movie may be over 43 years old but still holds up well after all of these years. The film is at heart a story of family. It is the story of Vito Corleone and his three sons, Santino (Sonny), Frederico (Fredo), and Michael. It is also the story of Vito's other family, the mafia. The story focuses on Michael, the youngest son. At first, he wants nothing to do with the family business but as the film progresses, he is drawn more and more into it and by the end, he is running the family - both families. The transformation of Michael from family outcast to Godfather is fascinating to see. Al Pacino does a wonderful job of transforming from playful young man to fearsome gangster. Without going into too much detail so as not to ruin the movie for those few who have never seen it, several scenes stand out: The horses head is probably the most famous, or infamous, and has been used in homage and parody by many others in the years since the movie was released. When I rank the best movies I have seen, the original Godfather is always number one on my list.
2015-09-04
Simple but Awesome
No one ever brings up a big detail about this movie: It's plain, the story goes on straightly, it's SIMPLE. The genius isn't something over-complicated and weird in an awful movie, it's something simple turned into a masterpiece. Everything is just perfect, the acting, the dialogues, the characters and their evolution (even (rare) stereotypes work perfectly and they fit with the atmosphere), the shots, the cinematography, the music that not only fits but it's never distracting... It's not something particular that made this movie great, it's the perfect chemistry between the elements. It's slow but never boring. It's better than the book, in fact (at least for me). So this is my little tribute to one of the greatest movie ever, and this is only my point of view.
2015-12-08
"The Godfather" is pretty much flawless, and one of the greatest films ever made
Rather than concentrating on everything that is great about The Godfather, a much easier way for me to judge its quality is on what is bad about it. Almost every film has something that I don't like about it, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't change anything about The Godfather. There is nothing weak about it and nothing that stands out as bad. That's why it gets ten out of ten.

This is one of those films that made me wonder why I hadn't seen it earlier. The acting from everyone involved is great, Marlon Brando comes across perfectly as the head of the family, and James Caan and Al Pacino are excellent as his sons. The soundtrack by Nino Rota is also very memorable, bringing back memories of the film every time I hear it. The plot has to be excellent for it to get ten out of ten, and it is, it's far from predictable and the film is the definition of a great epic.

The film is pretty shocking in the way every death occurs almost instantaneously, and as it spans ten years so many different things happen and every minute of it is great entertainment. It's a well-made and entertaining film that is only the first part of a trilogy, but it stands on its own as a wonderful film in its own right. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? This was one acclaimed film that didn't disappoint.
2005-09-30
The Greatest Cast For A Movie Ever.
SPOILERS for the film lie ahead! Read at your own risk.

Regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. "The Godfather" is a beloved classic about organised crime, and the Sicilian lifestyles in America. Of course the movie is about the building of a dynasty, a business built on death, murder and betrayal that goes on to run itself on favours and illegal pleasures. However, in this story we see the life of Don Vito Corleone (Played to a tee by the magnificent Marlon Brando), giving favours on his daughter's Wedding day. Here we see a loving, caring man who is both equally loved and feared. So far in the movie, it has had fair tension and introduced us to the family. Then all of a sudden a film-maker awakens to find his prized race horse's head under his bed sheets, and suddenly the tensions of this movie rises considerably.

After many hits later, as well as an attempted assassination on Don Corleone. We cut to Michael Corleone (Played superbly by Al Pacino), the youngest son in the Corleone family, who resents the family business. Until a bloody act of revenge, unwittingly consumes him mentally beyond the return of normality. We then cut to Michael's new life as well as Vito recuperating. Vito expresses great upset that this fate has befallen Michael, as he never wanted him to get involved with the family business. Michael has now become a shell of his former joyful self, yet he has built a "happy" life for himself whilst in hiding.

In the meantime. A montage of hits is carried out by all of the five families, which ultimately ends up bringing more tragedy to the Corleone family. Eventually it finally leads to a cause of action, in which Vito ensures the protection of every family within the Mafioso (An interesting note that the word "Mafia", is never uttered in the movie). At the same time, Michael has returned and is now the "Don" of the Corleone family, and is allowing the five families to run the Corleone's resources dry. After Vito sadly passes away, Michael then begins his plan as he has all other heads of the five families brutally murdered (While attending a Christening no less). Ensuring his place as the strongest "Don" to the remaining families, as a door swings closed to his now realising wife.

Something of a Masterpiece when the film came out back in 1972. "The Godfather". has only gotten better of age. There are so many iconic quotes and moments in the movie, and the cast is just seriously one of the best ever put to film. James Caan I hardly recognised, and Robert Duvall was just as brilliant as always. But obviously the biggest argument is, was this movie Brando's or Pachino's? Personally, I thought Brando was just incredible as always, and totally deserved the Oscar he turned down. Both nevertheless are unforgettable on screen.

The pacing was impeccable, as well as the locations that are all shot beautifully. Some part of me does feel that the film is a bit too long, however a lot does happen and instantly captivates you enough to check out the sequels. The music was fantastic, helping bring the era and authenticity out of the picture and into the deepest parts of my brain. I could listen to the "Love theme" all day. As said earlier, the movie is about the dynasty of the family, the business of the family and the vengeance of the family. So many themes are present and so much more are explored. Every gangster film ever made owes something to Francis Ford Coppola's efforts.

Final Verdict: Probably the first modern gangster epic ever made. As director Stanley Kubrick said: "Probably the finest cast ever assembled". 10/10.
2014-08-30
Legend İn The World
he Godfather (1972) did for gangster movies what 2001: A Space Odyssey did for science fiction. Like Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola re-energized and, to a degree, reinvented a basic Hollywood pulp fiction action-entertainment genre, using it as a vehicle for the high artistic ambitions of a post-New Wave film "auteur."

Within his narrower focus on 20th century American civilization (as opposed to Kubrick's philosophical speculations on human evolution), Coppola shapes the story of the Corleone Mafia family into an epic/satiric vision of American business, government, justice, and moral decline. The Godfather's brilliantly constructed opening sequence, the wedding of Don Corleone's daughter, not only establishes the Don's character, the nature of his organization, the role of family and Sicilian tradition in his world, and the character of his sons (three natural and one adopted), but also establishes the relationship between the Don's world and "legitimate" society. For instance, the film's opening words are those of Bonasera, a petitioner for a wedding "favor," whose voice over a dark screen first asserts the American Dream, "I believe in America. America has made my fortune," and then turns to disillusioned contradiction: "for justice, we must go to Don Corleone."

Numerous subsequent lines of dialog establish literal or metaphorical connections between the criminal underworld and social institutions. Some of the most memorable ones include: "My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.""Now we have the unions, we have the gambling; and they're the best things to have. But narcotics is a thing of the future. And if we don't get a piece of that action, we risk everything we have. I mean not now, but ten years from now." "It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business." And most famously of all: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

The film's title refers to two godfathers, the original Don Corleone and his youngest son - and ultimate successor - Michael. Marlon Brando's performance as Don Corleone, for which he was awarded a Best Actor Academy Award, balances the Don's subtly counter-pointed functions as beloved, grandfatherly patriarch and fearsome, brutal crime boss. Yet Michael, as the character most centrally and significantly affected by the film's plot and played with a brilliance equaling Brando's by a then unknown Al Pacino, is the principal protagonist.

At the wedding, Michael's centrality is signaled by the Don's frantic call, "Where's Michael? We are not taking the picture without Michael!" A World War II hero still in decorated uniform, Michael is meanwhile busy differentiating himself from his family to his girl friend and future second wife, Kay (Diane Keaton). "Luca Brasi held a gun to the band leader's head," he relates, "and my father assured him that either his signature or his brains would be on the release. That's my family Kay. It's not me." Michael's initial disinterest in Mafia activities is reinforced by his adoring father who envisions him as "Senator Corleone" or "Governor Corleone" not as his successor. That role is reserved for his hot-headed eldest son, Sonny (James Caan). But, of course, events conspire to suck Michael in - and to keep sucking him in right through Godfather III - the assassination attempt on his father, Michael's coolly murderous response, the car bomb meant for him that kills his first wife, the Sicilian beauty Apollonia (aptly named for the god of sun light), the riddled body of his brother Sonny. Inevitably, a morally darkened Michael emerges at the end of the film, one who outdoes his father in guile and ruthlessness and whose final brutal and deceitful acts in Godfather I seal his doom as a Macbeth-like villainous tragic hero.

Shot mainly on location in various New York City locales, The Godfather spans a ten- year post World War II period. A multitude of props, costumes, and pop culture artifacts arranged by the film's art director, Warren Clyner, and production designer, Dean Tavoularis, lend a rich sense of historical authenticity to the film's mise en scene. Moreover, the film's lighting by brilliant cinematographer Gordon ("prince of darkness") Willis, contributes greatly to both the film's realism and its thematic symbolism. Compare, for instance, the use of extremely dark, shadowy, color desaturated interior scenes – especially in the Don's home office – with the brightly lit, vivaciously colored outdoor wedding scene or the sun-drenched, romanticized Sicilian landscape.

The Godfather is edited in the classic Hollywood invisible style, subordinating technique to the needs of narrative and visual continuity. But the film is expertly edited nonetheless. In particular one might note the stunning use of multiple parallel editing that occurs in one of the film's last scenes: the assassination of the other crime family heads, elaborately planned to coincide with Michael's participation in the baptism of sister Connie's child. Likewise, The Godfather's soundtrack is a memorable combination of diegetic period music ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") and a lush, operatic original score composed by one of the greatest film music composers, Nino Rota (a frequent Fellini collaborator as in 8 1/2).

With The Godfather and its even more ambitious sequel, Coppola pushed the classic gangster film in the direction of high art and released it once and for all from the moralistic grip of the Hays Code, which arose in the 1930s in large part as a response to the romanticizing of criminals found in such early examples of the gangster genre as Scarface, Little Cesar, and Public Enemy. Not only did the code regulate the degree and nature of sexual and violent imagery in all films, but it also specifically required that criminals be portrayed as morally repulsive social deviants and that plots involving them be resolved with the implicit or explicit lesson that "crime did not pay." Fortunately for American popular culture The Godfather radically rewrote the rulebook and paved the way for a generation's-worth of gangster masterpieces ranging from the Scarface remake to Pulp Fiction to The Sopranos.
2015-12-13
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