The Godfather used to hold the top spot in IMDb's Top 250 movies list; it now sits at number two, behind Frank Darabont's emotionally manipulative crowd-pleaser The Shawshank Redemption, which has become the go-to title for people who can't be arsed to think for themselves when it comes to naming their favourite film. People clearly aren't showing The Godfather enough respect (perhaps they need to be taught a lesson, capiche?).
In my opinion, Francis Ford Coppola's sweeping Mafia epic (based on Mario Puza's bestselling novel) trumps Shawshank in every way
The film boasts a superior cast headed by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, with excellent support from James Caan and Robert Duvall; Tom Robbins and Morgan Fairchild are simply no match.
Coppola's storytelling is impeccable from start to finish, drawing the viewer into the film as inextricably as Michael Corleone (Pacino) is drawn into the sinister, violent underworld of Sicilian organised crime. Darabont does a reasonable enough job at papering over Shawshank's plot holes, but fails to lend his film the sense of style and class so evident in every scene of the Godfather.
Nino Rota's score for Coppola's movie is sublime, a majestic piece of music so emotive that just a few notes evoke an entire genre. I can't even recall Shawshank's score.
Rather unsurprisingly, The Shawshank Redemption deals with the theme of redemption, and closes with a contrived feel-good ending. The Godfather is darker and far more complex, dealing with loyalty, honour, obligation, destiny, desire, vengeance, violence, love, hate, and trust; it doesn't sell-out with a sappy, happy ending, closing instead with Michael embracing the lifestyle that he once sought to avoid. Perfectamundo (that's Italian for 'perfect'. Possibly).
In short, The Godfather is the don in every department.
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