The picture is a series of mini-climaxes, all building to the devastating, definitive conclusion... It was carefully and painstakingly crafted. Every major character - and more than a few minor ones - is molded into a distinct, complex individual.
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times
The wedding sequence... is a virtuoso stretch of filmmaking: Coppola brings his large cast onstage so artfully that we are drawn at once into the Godfather's world.
The Godfather traces the arc of this doomed idealism with a beauty that is still fresh.
Sharp, entertaining, and convincing--discursive, but with a sense of structure and control that Coppola hasn't achieved since.
Kenneth TuranLos Angeles Times
Overflowing with life, rich with all the grand emotions and vital juices of existence, up to and including blood. And its deaths, like that of Hotspur in "Henry IV, Part I," continue to shock no matter how often we've watched them coming. [16 Mar 1997, Calendar, p.7]
Overlong at about 175 minutes (played without intermission), and occasionally confusing. While never so placid as to be boring, it is never so gripping as be superior screen drama.