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  • Up until today, I haven't bothered to review "The Godfather". After all, everyone pretty much knows it's one of the greatest films ever made. It's #2 on IMDb's Top 100. It won the Best Picture Oscar. And, there are nearly 1600 reviews on IMDb. So what's one more review?! Well, after completing 14,000 reviews (because I am nuts), I guess it's time I got around to reviewing a film I should have reviewed a long time ago. So, here goes....the film is perfect and only a dope wouldn't watch it. Unfortunately, IMDb requires me to say more to meet it's 10 line minimum for reviews. So, I'll point out that you do NOT need to like gangster films to enjoy this film. Yes, it's violent and nasty in spots--but it's also brilliantly written and produced from start to finish and deserves the accolades it's received.

    My advice is that instead of just watching "The Godfather" and "The Godfather: Part II", see the combined version they created for television--with additional scenes that made it a very rich experience.
  • There is very little that I can add to the reviews on here, that have explained what is so wonderful about The Godfather so well. I have seen many amazing movies, as well as some clunkers, but The Godfather was beyond amazing. There are so many images, details and scenes that I seriously cannot get out of my head since watching it for the first time just nine hours ago. The Godfather is so incredibly well-made and acted that it stands out among the rest of those other amazing films I've seen, so much so I couldn't think of a single flaw, and I am struggling to think of a good enough reason to why I didn't see this film before now.

    True, The Godfather is a little slow-moving and the plot takes a while to unfold, but neither of these are flaws as such. The slow pacing added to the elegiac quality The Godfather has, and as for the plot what is special about this plot is that it is very unpredictable because you have next to no idea where it is next going to take you. Being 18, I was worried whether I was old enough to appreciate this film or even understand it, but luckily I understood it perfectly, and I can well and truly appreciate it for the masterpiece it is considered to be.

    The Godfather for one thing looks stunning. I strongly disagree with the previous reviewer who said the cinematography was horrid, for me the cinematography was one of the best assets of the film. In some scenes you have cinematography and lighting that is quite dark and mysterious, and then in scenes such as the wedding it is evergreen, autumnal and very picturesque. It is not just the cinematography that makes The Godfather look stunning, the costumes are beautifully tailored, the houses are gorgeous and majestic to look at and even the cars were immaculate.

    Then there is the score by Nina Rota. One word, outstanding! I have heard many wonderful scores in my lifetime, but after hearing this score few stick in the memory as much as the score for The Godfather. This score is both beautiful as seen with the main theme, and haunting in the way it sticks in your head after watching the film itself. Other outstanding assets are the masterly direction from Francis Ford Coppola, and the brilliantly written screenplay that is intelligent, thought-provoking and darkly humorous. As for the violence, some of it is shocking and intense especially in the climax which was enough to almost make your heart either beat twice as fast or stop, and I almost covered my eyes when the producer found the horse's head in his bed, but underneath that this family is somewhat loyal and honourable come to think of it.

    The acting is absolutely fantastic, bringing to life characters that are rich and complex, perhaps unlikeable at first but as you get to know them you warm to them. And I have to say, The Godfather is one of those rarities where no actor gives a weak performance. In particular, Marlon Brando is brilliant as Don Vito, very heavily disguised yet stately. Every word of dialogue, every subtle hand gesture and every facial expression was brilliantly judged. Al Pacino's casting was admittedly risky, but he still did a truly wonderful job carrying the film, while James Caan is dignified and loyal, Diane Keaton beautiful and alluring and Robert Duvall nicely understated.

    In conclusion, absolutely amazing, and I can see completely why it is considered one of the 10 greatest movies ever made, it is that good. In fact my 15-year old brother loved it so much, he wants to see it again. 10/10, though this film is too good for that rating. Bethany Cox
  • My nephew who is all of 17 told me in no uncertain terms that movie making with him starts with The Godfather. He doesn't believe anything made before it is of any great merit. For him The Godfather is like The Birth of a Nation.

    All three of The Godfather films can bear viewing over and over again. Mario Puzo created such compelling characters and Francis Ford Coppola brought them to life so vividly that you just get sucked in permanently. Like that other mammoth novel about a period, Gone With the Wind, Mario Puzo was like Margaret Mitchell in that there was no way he could top himself after the book was published.

    Anyone steeped in organized crime history will know a lot about who is being alluded to in all of the Godfather films. Case in point, Alex Rocco who plays the minor character of Moe Green who takes it upon himself to slap Fredo Corleone around. He's also got a cash flow problem at the casino he's running. One would have to have been living on another planet to not know he was referring to Bugsy Siegal.

    The Godfather story begins at the end of World War II where Marlon Brando rules the roost as Vito Corleone head of one of the large crime families. Two sons, James Caan (Sonny) and John Cazale (Fredo) are in the business and the third Al Pacino (Michael) has just come back from the war a decorated hero. The occasion is the gathering of the clan and friends for daughter Talia Shire (Connie) to Gianni Rizzi (Carlo Russo). All the characters are marvelously introduced and the plot situations laid out beautifully.

    Marlon Brando who apparently decided that what George C. Scott did was so good in refusing the Oscar for Patton decided to do him one better and send up a bogus Indian princess to tell why. Despite that bit of cheek Brando certainly deserved an Oscar for his performance. Don Vito is compelling as criminal and family man. Brando might have been lucky though in that Al Pacino who really is the main character in all three Godfather films was nominated in the Supporting Actor category.

    In fact Pacino was nominated with James Caan and Robert Duvall who plays Tom Heggen the family lawyer/consigliere and Brando's adopted son. That three way tie guaranteed the Oscar for Joel Grey in Cabaret with Eddie Albert being nominated for The Heartbreak Kid as the fifth. They're all great, but Pacino should have been in The Best Actor category.

    Singer Al Martino plays Johnny Fontaine who if you didn't know that this was Frank Sinatra again you'd have to have been living on another planet. In fact the identification is made complete by the fact that Martino sings I Have But One Heart at the Corleone wedding which was an early Sinatra hit. Sinatra was not happy with The Godfather and broke off relations with Martino and with Richard Conte who plays Don Barzini one of the other Mafia Dons. Part of the underside of the Sinatra legend is worked into the plot as well.

    The images and dialog of The Godfather have entered into our popular culture. The horse's head in John Marley's bed, the cryptic gangster dialog of speaking of an "offer he can't refuse", or "Lucabrazzi sleeps with the fishes" is all stuff we remember forever after seeing the film.

    The key scene I think in The Godfather is between the retired Brando and Pacino who has taken over the crime family. Brando isn't happy about the road he took for success, but it's what was available to him. He hoped that Pacino could have stayed out of the family business and had a clean life. It wasn't to be, but maybe the next generation. I think it's beautifully played.

    In fact it's all beautifully played.
  • The Godfather (1972)

    **** (out of 4)

    Francis Ford Coppola's epic masterpiece adapted from Mario Puzo's novel about crime lord Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) and his attempt to keep his family from going in the wrong direction. Everything imaginable has already been said about this movie so there's not too many reasons to go back through it. Having recently watched the movie theatrical as part of Paramount's re-release, I must say that knowing the film and story so closely allowed me to just sit back and enjoy what Coppola put on the screen. What really struck me is how there are so many reasons why this film shouldn't have worked yet everything came together so perfectly. People know about the studio not wanting Brando and Al Pacino but can you imagine what would have happened had neither one been here? I've never felt this was anywhere near Brando's greatest performance and in fact I might not even place it in the top ten. That's not saying anything against his work here but it speaks for how great he was. I think the most impressive thing was seeing how well he could play someone elderly. Just think that he followed this up with LAST TANGO IN Paris and it just shows what all he could do. With Pacino it has been said that the studio didn't like the rushes they were seeing involving some of his early stuff like at the wedding. Watching these scenes it's easy to see why they'd be nervous but just check out the sequence when his character takes on the responsibility of going to the restaurant. It's really like Pacino the legend is born in this scene and that brilliant scene is like us seeing what was to follow in his career.

    Not only is there Brando and Pacino but also Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, John Cazale and Abe Vigoda turning in masterful performances. Another thing that really sticks out is how brave Coppola was for letting the story takes its time. There are many, many slow moments here where we get dialogue scenes that get dragged out. Everyone mentions the wedding sequence but this is a perfect example of where the slowness is such a benefit as it really gets you on the inside of understanding how this family works. Coppola allowing the film to takes its time was a dangerous move but it really pays off because there's not another film like this. A lot of future movies tried to copy the style and this certainly slow, building drama but none of them were as successful. Nino Rota's music is simply irresistible and the opening cords as the movie opens are just chilling. The cinematography is some of the most amazing you're ever going to see and the lighting here is among the greatest ever. Especially effective are the scenes inside the Don's office and how the light was used.

    THE GODFATHER isn't going to get my vote as the greatest movie of all time, of the decade or even the greatest gangster picture. With that said, there's no question that this is still a essential part of American film history and with so much talent involved it's just amazing to watch it today and admire what all they were able to accomplish.
  • THE GODFATHER is quite simply a masterful piece of film-making, an epic in the truest sense of the word and by far the finest gangster film ever shot. Made with finesse, style to spare and a director who elicits pitch-perfect performances from a talented cast, this is movie-making as it should be.

    Yes, it's a very long film and yes, some sections are quite slow. Nevertheless, none of the film is any less than riveting. The story - of a father/son takeover in one of New York's major Italian Mafia families - is fairly straight forward, and yet Francis Ford Coppola turns it into something else so much more; a meditation on the human condition, perhaps.

    Certainly this is a film that explores the darker side of humanity. Jealousy, betrayal, anger and revenge are all key themes here, and the film is inevitably punctuated by moments of graphic and shocking violence. And I'm glad Coppola chooses not to shy away from the said violence, which makes it all the more gritty and realistic when it does happen.

    Marlon Brando takes the showrunner role here, the patriarch who's past his prime, but it's easy to spot the real star of the piece: Al Pacino, who burns up the screen with sheer ferocity. Robert Duvall is easy to miss in a quieter part, but watch out for James Caan whose volatile Sonny is one of the film's most engaging characters. Altogether this is a splendid and unforgettable piece of film-making, which inevitably spawned sequels and a whole gamut of similar gangster fare, but THE GODFATHER towers head and shoulders above them all.
  • Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the head of a Mafia family. Sonny (James Caan) is his eldest and heir apparent. Michael (Al Pacino) is a return WWII hero and wants to keep out of the family business. The Don refuses to go into the drug business which precipitate a mob war.

    There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest movie of all times. Director Francis Ford Coppola has crafted a masterpiece from Mario Puzo's novel. It is not just a great story, but great characters and great actors playing them. Forty years later, it's still as compelling as ever. The pacing is slower than today's standard, but it packs a punch more potent than anything recent. The acting power alone is incredible. When you consider that Al Pacino is the new unknown kid, the cast is unquestionable the best that Hollywood has to offer in that era. Every 10 minutes, there is an iconic scene. There is no way I can list them all.

    I rarely give a 10. Rarer still do I give it with no reservation. A perfect movie is not enough. It has to have cultural significance and some originality. That is 'The Godfather'. It is still being referenced today. May all the haters sleep with the fishes.
  • So many have already said what this film has. It has an amazing set of actors. The cinematography is as good as it gets. It is intense, gut wrenching, edited flawlessly. It takes an outstanding book and cranks it up a notch. It's hard for me to comment because, as a rule, I don't like movies about organized crime. First, I fear the reality of it. It holds a power in this country that we must always be aware of. It is in so much of our world, more than we realize. I feel at times that glamorizing these individuals is destructive. Nevertheless, I have to put that aside because this is the subject matter and at no time has anyone so masterfully put on screen the portrayal of these thugs, who see themselves as family as Coppola. I got the shivers walking out of the movie. Unlike horror movies where it's over and done with (with the exception of "Deliverance" which I will never get out of my mind), this haunts one for days after. I watched this again a few weeks ago, and what we have is a milieu that separates itself from out mundane existences. These people choose to live in a violent world of their own choosing. One issue that always gets me is, how do they enjoy the fruits of their "labor"? It seems that a hell on earth is created for them. The unfortunate thing is that they push that hell onto their victims in the name of family.
  • Kirpianuscus6 January 2018
    I saw it very late. the fame was one of basic motives. the theme - the second cause. for many friends, to see it was an experience. and it is an experience. without can say why. because , in a film about Mafia , for a special public, at first sigh, all is perfect. so perfect than, scene by scene, it becomes more than a masterpiece. great actors. special performances. memorable scenes. dialogues and situations and a cold feeling. a film about values. and near every day reality. and choices, errors and mistakes. who, after decades, remains fresh in memory. as an unique meet.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Godfather" is an American mostly English-language movie from 1972, so this one is already almost 50 years old now, 3 to go, and it runs for almost three hours. I am not even sure if it is necessary to talk about the basics here, but lets go. The director is Francis Ford Coppola and he is also part of the writing team. This is probably still the defining mafia movie and the rating here on imdb says it all. It won Best Picture at the Oscars and Marlon Brando (in heavy makeup) received the second Oscar of his career. Add to that a writing Oscar, but the movie was cut short because of the tremendous success of Cabaret at the Oscars this year where Fosse won Director over Coppola and Grey beat all the three supporting nominees from The Godfather. I don't think Pacino was in the right category though, but I guess they really were all over Brando and wanted to make sure that nobody (from his own film) could stop him from winning. Anyway, the film starts with Brando and he is certainly defining in the first 90 minutes of the movie until an assassination attempt happens and from that moment on he moves a bit into the background and the boys take over, most of all Pacino for whom it was really a star-making performance.

    Now as for the plot, it is a cleanly structured film really. There is basically one affair after the next and many of these issues don't have to do a lot with the next. The movie starts at the godfather's daughter's wedding and there is not really too much focus on the actual wedding process, but instead we are taken into the world of crime right away when an old acquaintance asks a lethal favor from Don Corleone. Pretty memorable beginning really that has been spoofed in many other movies, even animated ones not too long ago. Not much later, there is of course the really famous longer sequence that results in a bloody horse head between the sheets. And they get longer and longer as next up is the key plot that involves the Turk turning into the main antagonist as he plans to kill the godfather, takes out his most brutal assistant at the same time and abducts his lawyer. And while the latter is also considered a son (not by blood), we also witness how the godfather's offspring deals with this situation in their own very unique ways: Sonny the hothead, Fredo the weakling who cannot protect his father whatsoever, Tom Hagen (the reasonable one) and eventually Mike whose role is not too clear early and who is far far away from becoming the man he turns out to be at the end of the movie. There is still more focus for him on his love relationship to his significant other and he says he is not like his family. But the attack on his father and later on the killing of one of his brothers really change everything and we find out he is just exactly like his dad. As for Hagen, I still think Duvall is really good in this movie and there is one very brief moment in this film when we hear Vito Corleone say something like somebody who is not Italian like them, which shows that Hagen is really accepted as a son and also seen as Italian pretty much, even if he is German/Irish. This would be one of the really rare funny moments, slightly funny I guess, this film has to offer. It is never about making the audience laugh admittedly, but more to witness the demise of the old man and the rise of the new star eventually and the crime and brutal murders that come with it. As for Michael, this of course also includes him losing his wife when he is in Italy. Had that murder not occurred maybe he never would have returned and the story could have taken a completely different path.

    I think one of this film's biggest strengths is that despite the really big quantity of characters, even for a 3-hour movie, they are all fairly memorable with their quirks, mannerisms and backgrounds. Take McCluskey for example. The movie could have done completely without him and he is really only there to serve as support for the Turk, but still he is truly memorable. Actually, his little words on how he frisked hundreds of guys like Mike for guns is another somewhat funny moment. He has no idea what's coming his way. I also want to say a few words on Fredo. He is not as big as the others in here yet or actually he is not too far away either. His scenes are all memorable and he is really definition of weakness and incompetence in 1970s cinema. Of course, that is even more the case in the sequel where he plays an absolute key character. But in this one here, he is also vital really and you could write pages alone on his character and how he (re)acts. Truly sad really Cazale died so early, but he left us a truly remarkable character and honestly every film he made was a winner basically. Now another thing to add here is that it also the small moments that count. When Mike lies to Kay at the very end, we find out 100% where his priorities are now and that he won't let anything get in the way of keeping his father's empire intact.

    Another strength here is that Puzo and Coppola are not scared of killing off major characters and it works oh so well because it makes a whole lot of sense. Pay attention to the permanent contrast of new/young life vs. death towards the end: When Vito dies, there is nobody around him except his very young grandson and that still puts major focus on the family component that is oh so crucial here, also when Mike talks about somebody treating Fredo badly. Or the christening of course, which is the best example with the baby and the alleged goodness vs. all the killings that take place at the same time. Vito was gone and that point already and he had gotten soft anyway, but Mike is not scared one bit about blood on his hands to defend his family's honor. Overall, this is a tremendous movie and when we see the bodyguard guy close the door eventually between Mike and Kay, it is all clear. Mike has turned into his dad by then. And how things go on, you can watch in the second film that in my opinion (thanks to Bobby) is even better than the first, even if the majority does not disagree.

    But yeah as for this one here, it was the third time I watched it I think and it gets better with each viewing I suppose. It is a film you don't wanna miss out on. Highly recommended, really close call between Cabaret and this one for me when it comes to 1972's finest. I'd still go with Cabaret though I think. It is just as much of a masterpiece. And finally, also pay attention to all the minor references included in here that seem even more interesting if you know how the saga continues. This is also why it is so much worth rewatching. One example would be Vito swearing on his grandchildren's well-being. There's many more. Do not miss out and girls who read this don't trust people saying this is a film that will only or mostly appeal to males. If you like quality filmmaking, then there is no way you should not watch! Oh yeah, but obviously you need to be able to stomach the violence. Just one example, there's a guy shot in the eye through his glasses and we see the blood pouring from his head and that is far from the most violent stuff depicted in here. That's all, folks. Watch it, don't be scared by the running time. You will not ask yourself afterwards if this was really worth 3 hours of your time, but if you are ready immediately for another 3 hours, namely the sequel. I was lucky enough to watch this film on the big screen and I am already looking forward to an occasion to see the second (and third). Certainly pick this opportunity over a small television or laptop screen. If necessary, wait for the 50th anniversary when it certainly will be shown again in many theaters. Mobster filmmaking at its finest.
  • Prismark1014 October 2019
    Francis Ford Coppola got Mario Puzo's pulpy novel and turned it into a cinematic masterpiece with Puzo as co-scriptwriter. Robert McKee famous for his seminars on script writing offers Casablanca as the perfect film. He deconstructs the script and movie in his seminars. He is wrong. The Godfather is as perfect as a movie you can get.

    When Paramount Pictures gave the movie a greenlight. The mafia families were concerned that it would lift the lid on how they operated and shine an unwelcome spotlight on the crime bosses. There were attempts to stop the movie being made. They had nothing to worry about, when the movie came out the mob bosses realized that no amount of money could buy the public relations they got from the film.

    Instead of murderous gangsters. The Godfather portrays the mafia as men of honour, family men who value loyalty and live by a code. Violence would only be used as a last resort. It is because we never see the outside victims of these people. The story is set within gangsters and their families and associates.

    The film opens with an epic wedding sequence set after the war. On the day of his daughter's wedding Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) cannot refuse a request made of him. His godson Johnny Fontane drops by to sing at the wedding and requests Don Vito's help to secure a part in a movie that would secure his comeback. His informally adopted son Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) is sent to Hollywood to persuade the film producer and when he refuses, the producer wakes up in bed with the head of his prized horse.

    Don Vito Corleone is a criminal, the head of the five families. He is also the moral centre of this movie. He is wise, he can be kind but he is also ageing and his values are of a world that is disappearing. Don Vito's reluctance to enter the drugs trade would be his undoing.

    The Godfather is really the story of youngest son, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino.) The war hero who wanted to have nothing to do with the family business but is pulled in first when his father is shot and then when a further attempt is made on his life in the hospital. After the death of his hot headed brother Sonny Corleone (James Caan.) Michael is groomed by Don Vito to become the head of the family. After his father's death, Michael plans revenge on those who betrayed his family and the rival families.

    In his first scenes at the family wedding, Michael explains to his girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) the various heavies hanging around and some of the things his father did to pull favours. Michael is an outsider in his own family as he tells Kay that he is not like them. As the film progresses Michael becomes exactly like them.

    The Godfather has terrific performances. Marlon Brando won his second Best Actor Oscar and rejuvenated his career. On the other hand Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and James Caan were all nominated for the best supporting actor Oscars and cancelled each other out. The film won three Oscars including Best Picture. The big winner that year was actually Cabaret with eight Oscar wins including Best Director.

    So much of The Godfather has been emulated since. Michael Cimino was so enamoured by the movie, he opens The Deer Hunter with an epic wedding sequence to set up his story. He also cast Robert De Niro and John Cazale, two actors who appeared in The Godfather films. On the other hand Coppola would later cast John Savage who plays an important role in The Deer Hunter in The Godfather III in 1990.

    Then there is the climax. The christening scenes where Michael Corleone renounces the devil and all his work which is intercut with his various henchmen killing the Corleone's rivals. A trick Coppola has used in his other movies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Michael Corleone returns home from the war for his sister's wedding. However his return coincides with the beginnings of a war between the main families sparked by the marketing of drugs. Michael's involvement in the family business increases when his father is the victim of an assassination attempt and Michael wants to kill the two men responsible before going to Italy for a year to lay low. When Michael's brother Sonny is murdered, Michael returns home to take control of the family and clear up the war.

    The most famous and the best film about organised crime is also one of the best films ever made. The plot is at once straightforward and complex, it deals with things on many levels from the action to the theme of family. The basic story is gripping and sprawling at the same time. It creates many memorable scenes and lines that have become part of the general knowledge that we all share – that's why it's referred to in everything from Sopranos down to The Simpsons.

    Every shot is perfectly framed and has a great sense of period throughout. From the opening speech with it's memorable lines and camera focus down to the final shot and all it implies, it is full throughout. The action is a pleasure to watch and the lines are so much more classy than more recent attempts at gangster films.

    Pacino is great – he not only changes before our eyes over the 3 hours but he manages it into the next film too. Brando is always a risk on any film, and when he started mumbling and filling his cheeks with cotton wool, Coppola must have worried about what was happening, but he delivers a performance that is so good that almost everyone has impersonated him at some time. The main cast is full of good performances from actors from all stages. Up and comers such as Duvall, Caan, Keaton etc are as good as more ageing icons such as Richard Conte, Sterling Haydn, Castellano etc.

    In every area the film oozes class and professionalism. The look at family life is excellent and the only downside is that it can't help but glamorise organised crime – people may be killed but it still looks and sounds cool. But then, if we're going to start criticising films because they glamorise violence or destruction then The Godfather comes along way down the hit list – long after countless hundreds of action movies and summer blockbusters.

    Overall this film will always be a classic, your Harry Potters, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings etc will come and go based on how well hyped they are – but Godfather has been on most people's top 5 list for decades and will to continue to be for many more. Now that's respect.
  • A masterclass in film making, is The Godfather a contender for the best film of all time? I'd argue the case that it is, this is the ultimate gangster movie.

    Before you panic at the thought of a film being almost three hours long, you needn't, you won't even notice the time, it flies by.

    Production values are incredible, it looks sublime the whole way through, it's so well produced, at roughly fifty years old it puts many new films to shame.

    Brandon, Pacino and Castellano, just a few of the Incredible performances, I could add a whole lot more.

    If you're considering buying a hard copy, I would recommend it on blu ray, it is sharper than the dvd, there is a difference.

    This film has had a huge influence down the years, it is still, and will forever be, one of the greatest, 10/10.
  • kosmasp4 February 2013
    The beginning of a movie always sets the tone. Same goes for this movie here. And watching this you can understand how this influenced the TV show "Sopranos". But back to the first scene. It involves the Godfather character who has to talk to people on the wedding day of his daughter, because it is tradition. The way it is filmed and lit is exceptional. The tone is set in more than one settings. Because you also get what the movie is about: Respect, Fear and Power.

    Some of which get achieved by manipulation, convincing (in more than one way) or buy-out. What lies above all? A thing the Godfather always tells his children (or his lawyer)? Family is what matters. The movie does hold up to the test of times. You might have seen movies that have more violence in them, but when this movie gets violent it doesn't hold back.

    The performances are awesome and I can't wait to listen to the audio commentary by Mr. Coppola (which is supposed to be controversial, I'll see about that). So re-watching the movie reminded me of how good it is. But also of how much I miss the Sopranos. One of most known little facts of the movie, Marlon Brando stuffing his cheeks, make you look at the movie differently too. It still takes nothing away from it of course. Exceptional in every sense, even if you don't agree with the way the "family" functions (and you shouldn't agree with it of course, just saying)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lately it seems, "The Godfather" has had a ubiquitous presence on the cable channels; not a week goes by where I don't see it listed playing at one time or another. For some reason I've never considered watching the film from start to finish since the first time I saw it during it's theatrical release back in 1972 - until today. There's a good reason why. I don't think there's ever been another movie to stay with me the way this one has over the past four decades. I remember virtually everything about it, even the minor scenes like the hit on driver Paulie and the 'sleeps with the fishes' calling card regarding Luca Brasi. Also the names - Clemenza, Barzini, Solozzo, Tartaglia; Moe Green too, even though he wasn't Italian. So effective was the magic of the film that I still have to check every now and then to see if Abe Vigoda (Tessio) is still alive (like I did today), only to find out that yes he is, still going strong at nearly ninety!

    Quite simply, "The Godfather" is, with no pun intended, the godfather of all the great gangster films, dating all the way back to 1931's "Little Caesar" and "Public Enemy". For Marlon Brando, it was the quintessential performance of American cinema, so nuanced and mesmerizing that it's impossible to forget. The movie in fact was so powerful that it literally made overnight stars of it's supporting players - Pacino, Caan and Duvall.

    There has been enough written about the film that I don't need to get into the story itself. I'll content myself with mentioning the scenes that literally blow me away, then and now - Sonny's job on Carlo in the middle of the neighborhood (that last kick is priceless), the mob hit on Sonny in the causeway, Michael's restaurant rubout of Solozzo and McCluskey, and the way Michael handled Tom Hagen's ouster as consigliere. The cherry topping of course is the baptismal scene, Michael renouncing Satan as he does the devil's work of eliminating the heads of the families who stood in opposition to the Corleones. Every scene of the movie is staged perfectly, yet rendered effortlessly as if it were just another day in the life.

    It would have been too easy to use the classic tag line in my summary above, you know, the one about making an offer that can't be refused. With "The Godfather", it seems that every scene is larger than life, with the total picture being even greater than the sum of it's parts. So I'll content myself with a recommendation that seems apropos by quoting Clemenza after his man whacked Paulie - "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli". For cinema fans, "The Godfather" is all cannoli.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When people think of "The Godfather", they usually think of the Mafia. But, as Entertainment Weekly noted, calling "The Godfather" a Mafia movie is like calling "The Odyssey" a guide to the Aegean Sea. This story of how the Corleone family rules New York with their own version of justice entails everything that makes movies good.

    First, the opening scene. The shot of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) sitting in his chair petting his cat sets the Don up as a fatherly - but shady - figure. Then, you see Connie's (Talia Shire) wedding: the Corleones are not just a bunch of evil slime-balls. During the wedding, Michael (Al Pacino) arrives. Wearing his military uniform, Michael looks like a handsome young man - possibly an allusion to how these people are adept at deceiving other people. At the wedding, Michael meets WASP-ish outsider Kay Adams (Diane Keaton), who's naturally a little weirded out by the whole Mafia lifestyle - at one point, Michael has to tell her: "That's my family, Kay. That's not me." The other two sons are Sonny (James Caan), the immature playboy, and Fredo (John Cazale), the loser. And there's also the adopted son Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), now a lawyer. After a trip to Hollywood where he unsuccessfully tries to get a producer to hire singer Johnny Fontane (who apparently was not really based on Frank Sinatra), we all know what Tom does with the horse.

    A scene that did a really good job showing the break between 1st and 2nd generation Americans is the scene where Michael and Kay are Christmas shopping and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is playing. Vito, as an immigrant, kept many of the traditions from his native country. Michael, born and raised in the US, certainly seems less Italian that his father.

    Then, of course, Vito gets shot. After Michael gets revenge, he has to hide out in Sicily. While he's there...well, we all know what happens to Sonny. This prompts Vito to negotiate with the other families. But then, Michael turns out to be even more ruthless than his father.

    Probably the most incredible scene is when Michael presides over the baptism of Connie's child. As soon as Michael "renounces" Satan, things get ugly. It basically says that every time that they say something holy, someone gets slaughtered.

    All in all, Francis Ford Coppola created an inimitable cinematic masterpiece. And the sequel actually managed to equal the original.
  • The people who vote on the Internet Movie Database have ranked "The Godfather" as the greatest film ever in human history. Which is nothing to sneeze at, and deserves some seriously thought. I watched the film, thought it was great, but hardly found it to be the greatest film ever made. I mean, if you told me "Citizen Kane" was the greatest film ever made, I would wholeheartedly agree. And personally, as far as gangster movies go -- with or without Al Pacino -- I think the real choice should be "Scarface". But I'm not professionally trained as a movie critic, so maybe I'm missing something.

    I asked my supervisor and a co-worker about the film, and while they both thought the film was good, they really did not think it was some amazing masterpiece. My supervisor said, "maybe it's good because it is so real", but that's not a convincing reason and how "real" it is I cannot say for sure.

    If nothing else, the film might be great simply because it has become so cliché. The horse head, the Marlon Brando voice, the gun behind the toilet and the line "an offer he can't refuse" are all part of pop culture these days (over 30 years later). But does being cliché make the film great? I guess that would make "Star Wars" the greatest film ever made, which is certainly not true (though not a bad film by any means).

    And sure, you have powerful and memorable performances. James Caan is amazing, Marlon Brando is a bit over-the-top (a mumbling, lock-jawed godfather? sure...). And Al Pacino is of course great as always, maybe more so here than anywhere else. Not only does he have more range here than any other film than "Scent of a Woman" (more often than not he simply repeats a variation of his Michael Corleone role), but he is so young and plain that he is not even recognizable as Al Pacino in many scenes (I didn't recognize him until 30 minutes into the picture).

    I haven't yet mentioned the plot: an aging mafia boss (Marlon Brando) hands control over to his son (Al Pacino) when the father becomes ill, though he hoped never to do so since his son is Ivy League educated. Brando's role is actually quite small compared to the attention he is given (the film is really about Pacino coming of age).

    The directing is decent. Nothing special, but not awful, either. Very real and almost gritty (but not dark). The acting is great. The music is perfect. The only thing that really needed work was the fact that many of the Italian scenes had no subtitles and were thus lost in (lack of) translation. The entire Sciliy subplot and Appollonia were excellent and could not have been improved upon.

    I'm sure much more could have been said, but I'll cut myself off here. Certainly looking forward to Part II (though keeping my hopes and expectations low) and maybe someday I'll see Part III (though I've been warned not to).
  • jboothmillard13 March 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    The most brilliant and famous gangster crime film in history. The late, great Oscar and Golden Globe winning, and BAFTA nominated Marlon Brando stars as Don Vito Corleone, or The Godfather. Introduced, and Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated Al Pacino also stars as his son, Michael Corleone. They are a family that do a lot of "business". The Godfather is meant to help people with problems, and solve them how ever intense or simple they are. When Vito starts to feel ill Michael has to take his place until he is better. In the end Vito dies and Michael becomes the new Godfather. Also, he eliminates all of Vito's enemies to avenge his death. Also starring Oscar and Golden Globe nominated James Caan as Santino 'Sonny' Corleone, Richard S. Castellano as Pete Clemenza, Oscar BAFTA nominated Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, Sterling Hayden as Capt. Mark McCluskey, John Marley as Jack Woltz, Richard Conte as Emilio Barzini, Al Lettieri as Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo and Diane Keaton as Kay Adams. A work of genius from Oscar and Golden Globe nominated (lost Oscar to Bob Fosse for Cabaret) director Francis Ford Coppola, with a superb sequel followed, and unfortunately the rubbish third film. It won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and it was nominated for Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Music for Nino Rota and Best Sound, it won the BAFTA for the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, and it was nominated for Best Costume Design, and it won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay. Marlon Brando was number 30, and Al Pacino number 1 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Pacino was also number 26 on The 100 Greatest Pop Culture Icons, Brando was number 11 on The 100 Greatest Sex Symbols, he was number 4 on 100 Years, 100 Stars - Men, Pacino was number 5 (along with Robert De Niro), and Brando number 1 on The World's Greatest Actor, Michael Corleone was number 11 on 100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains, the film was number 2 on 100 Years, 100 Quotes ("I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."), it was number 5 on 100 Years of Film Scores, it was number 11 on 100 Years, 100 Thrills, it was number 46 on The Ultimate Film, it was number 3 on 100 Years, 100 Movies, and along with the sequel, both were number 2 on The 100 Greatest Films. Outstanding!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Some people have called this one of the best movies of all time. I can see why they say that, although I wouldn't quite rate it that high. It does feature an interesting storyline, great acting and magnificent photography so I am not going to argue with those who place in so high, because it's understandable. It also has a memorable score.

    One needs to see this on a nice widescreen DVD because it's so beautifully photographed with tons of greens, grays and browns that are just beautiful. It makes me want to visit Italy. The only reason I personally didn't rate it as high as others was I didn't like any of the characters, and especially the hot-headed James Caan. When he got riddled with bullets and was done with, a la "Bonnie & Clyde," that was fine with me!

    There isn't as much violence as people might think, if they've never seen this movie. To some, this film might be too slow, in fact. However, when the violence or something dramatic occurs it is intense and can be very brutal. Who can ever forget a guy waking up with a dead, bloody horse in his bed?!!

    Like a good film noir, there is a lot of tension running throughout the Godfather films. Everybody is after somebody it seems and you never know whom to trust. That's part of the downsides of living a criminal life: constant paranoia. All this is put together nicely as we become close observers of the Corleone family, its family ties and its "business."

    Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Caan, Robert DeNiro (later in the saga), Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, Sterling Hayden, Richard Conte, John Cazale, Richard Castellano, on and on - quite a cast and quite a movie. I enjoyed both sequels, too.

    I am also fortunate to own "The Godfather Epic" on tape, which must be some sort of collector's item by now. It is three two-hour tapes in which Godfather I and II are sliced together and the story is presented in chronological order, instead of with all the flashbacks. It's well-done and I would have printed a review on that version, but I don't see it listed on IMDb.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's a beautifully made movie. Not just because of the subtle direction by Francis Coppola but because of the production design (Dean Tavoularis) and photography (Gordon Willis). Everything seems to lend itself to the impact of the story, which describes the replacement of Marlon Brando's Mafia chief by his youngest son, Al Pacino. Make up is expertly handled. Pacino's broken cheek is properly swollen and blue and fades gradually, providing the viewer with a kind of cinematic clock telling the passage of time. Nino Rota's score is tops. During the baptism scene, which takes place in a church, the organ hums an apt courtly tune. Then, as the film cross cuts between ritualized religion and ritualized homicide, the organ insensibly becomes darker and more ominous.

    These departments seldom get enough credit -- except recently in CGI extravaganza's. The more nuanced touches in furnishings, wardrobe, shadows and the like generally go unrewarded by the public. But this film, and a few others like it ("Shane", "Verdict") wouldn't be what they are if they'd been clumsily handled.

    Brando has given maybe four nearly perfect performances and this is one of them. To appreciate it we have to skip over all his failed attempts to extend his range, the dancing bookmaker, the comic Oriental sidekick. The Don Corleone we see doesn't radiate power so much as fatigue. Al Pacino is transformed from a smiling lad, happy to be home from the war, to a dispassionate kingpin of crime at the end, a bit too abruptly. Sterling Hayden, as the corrupt Irish cop, has invested this much in a role only once before, in "Dr. Strangelove." Example: After smashing Pacino's face with one blow of his oversized fist, Hayden turns away, winces with self control and pounds his fist into the night-time air.

    It's hard to imagine how Coppola could have improved on his direction of this tragic tale. With the exception of the violent scenes, of which there are many, maybe too many, the film's texture is smooth and understated. Example: A baker shows up at the hospital just before some would-be assassins arrive and Pacino talks this innocent man into posing as a gunman. Not a word from the baker. He does what he's told. And when it's safe, he tries to light a cigarette but his hands are shaking so badly that Pacino has to light it for him.

    The women don't have much to do. Diane Keaton as the Shiksa is puzzled but hopeful. Talia Shire as the abused wife is hysterical. Mamma Corleone is a revered background figure who rarely shows up.

    That's the good stuff -- and it's very good indeed.

    The bad stuff, I'm not sure about. The Corleone family, like the other five families in New York, are making a fortune. That's evident from their digs, their cars, their raw silk suits. But what business are they in? That's one of the things Keaton is curious about. The businesses are only alluded to twice -- " the gambling, the liquor, even the women." Well, what's so bad about that? Who gives a damn about illegal gambling, smuggled liquor, or escort services? Nobody. Drugs are brought in towards the end, but only dealt with discretely. We never sell it around schools, it must be strictly controlled, and let the darkies up in Harlem have it and "kill their souls." The words "extortion," "protection racket," and "Mafia" are never used.

    This is a pretty rotten business they're in. And if Marlon Brando' Don was a kind of community organizer, Al Pacino's Don is a ruthless hypocrite. In fact, he's a lying, murdering, thief. While he is solemnly taking his oath as godfather to his nephew, his minions are out in the streets slaughtering rivals wholesale -- and in the most graphic way.

    "Never ask me about my business," he tells his wife. And one hopes she never does, unless she wants to wind up "sleeping with the fishes."
  • This, probable the best known of all Mafia movies, opens on post war New York and is centred on the Corleone crime family. In particular it tells of Don Vito Corleone, its aging patriarch, and his son Michael, who he hope will succeed outside the business. It is a time of change for organised crime; there are those who believe the future lies in the supply of illegal narcotics something Don Vito believes will lead to their destruction as the authorities won't turn a blind eye like they do to illicit gambling. It isn't long before an attempt is made on his life. After that Michael is pulled into the business as he seeks revenge. Soon a mob war is triggered and nobody is truly safe.

    To call a film 'sprawling' might not be considered a compliment but here it is meant as one; for almost three hours we are shown ten years in the lives of one family. Highs and lows. It is a story that will see Michael transform from the man he wants to be to the man circumstances force him to be. It isn't a story that glorifies the mafia; it shows that these 'men of honour' have little... the day you are told your safety is assured is the day you are killed. The cast is great with Marlon Brando impressing in his oft imitated performance as Don Vito and Al Pacino doing a really fine job as Michael, a character who changes believably as events affect him. The rest of the cast, which includes James Caan, Robert Duvall. Sterling Hayden and Diane Keaton are also great. Director Francis Ford Coppola does a great job bringing the story to the screen, helped by a fine soundtrack from Nino Rota. Overall I'd say this is a must see for all fill fans.
  • 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.
  • Heady, scalding adaptation of Mario Puzo's bestselling book about Italian Mafia family as seen through many years time. Flawless production design and palpably tense, prickly atmosphere are two of the picture's many riches, and indeed Marlon Brando's performance as the family patriarch is an incredible characterization, though several of the other characters don't always come off and the repellent violence is occasionally presented in a ham-fisted manner (with too much wicked glee behind the bloodshed). Francis Ford Coppola directed the proceedings like someone who has lived and breathed this material, and he doesn't allow his love for movie-making magic to cloud the realism of this family's dark dealings, but he perhaps allowed the cast too much free reign and some sequences tend to ramble. Won Oscars for Brando as Best Actor (he refused it), Coppola and Mario Puzo for their adapted screenplay and for Best Picture. Followed by two Coppola-directed sequels in 1974 and 1990. *** from ****
  • I was fortunate to see "The Godfather" back in 1972 upon its theatrical release. No matter how many "gangster" movies were made before this, here we had a different kind of movie. We had a movie foremost about "family" and dedication to one another. If you could manage to ignore the fact that this was one of the New York mafia families (set in the 1940s), it was as if we were watching a model family. At once honoring the family patriarch, Don Vito Corleone memorably played by Marlon Brando , and at the same time witnessing the rise of the new family leader, Michael Corleone played by Al Pacino. Equally memorable was the role of Santino 'Sonny' Corleone created by James Caan. And memorable for Robert Duvall who created the quiet role of Tom Hagen. Many list have "The Godfather" as number one of all time. To me that doesn't matter, films are meant to be enjoyed each for its own merit. Regardless, there probably will never be a "gang family" movie that approaches the overall impact of this one.

    Coppola directed this movie and its follow-ups. Not all of his have been great efforts. For me "One From The Heart", shot entirely on a sound stage, looks and sounds cheap, I consider it a failure. But he also directed such a fun movie as "Peggy Sue Got Married", another "family" theme. Al Pacino, even though he was 31 during filming, was still essentially an unknown, but his role as Michael put him on the map, and he is still going strong. "The Godfather" is a long movie at three hours, but it never seems long, so well told is its story. It is a classic in every respect, and a copy belongs in the library of every serious movie fan.
  • The Godfather is Franis Ford Coppolla's best work (next to Apocalypse Now) and is one of the best films I have ever seen. It shows a way of life not shown before this film was released and most likely it shocked them as much as it shocked me. The Acting (among many other things) highlight this film-noir/gangster/epic including Marlon Brando in his most recognizable performance ever as the man himself, Don Corleone, but also subtle work from breakthrough star Al Pacino and others like James Caan, Robert Duvall, and great bit parts for wonderful character actors like John Marley and Sterling Hayden.

    Corleone gets wounded and, by default through various 'circumstances' in the family (not least of which his ailing health) hands his "business" over to his ambivalent but cunning son, Michael (in a well done performance by Al Pacino). The film goes on long, but after watching it a few times, you hardly notice it at all. Every time ones watches this film it gets better because of noticing something small, something wildly creative, one didn't notice the last time and thanks to that it gets richer every time. With a beautiful score, terrific cinematography, and sublime directing and writing by Coppolla (with Puzo) this film belongs not only a place in film history, but in world history as well.
  • After so many years of only knowing of this movie by reputation, I finally watched this in its entirety on a flight from Korean Air. It's such a violent movie and I was very surprised it was even shown on the plane though there was a disclaimer that anyone younger than 18 should only watch with an adult guardian. What did I think of the film, itself? Well, it's fascinating to watch all the scenes leading to certain killings and the male cast members certainly put their heart into the roles though the female cast members don't have as much of a chance to develop their characters as fully as their opposites. But knowing both Diane Keaton and Talia Shire have parts in the two sequels makes me think I'd get the know their characters better later on. I also read on Wikipedia of deleted scenes restored when the three films in the series were put together for TV and DVD/VHS so maybe that may also be an offer I couldn't refuse to watch someday. In summary, The Godfather was a very good film though I stop at considering it one of the greatest of all time...P.S. I was familiar with singer Al Martino way before his role in this film as my parents owned three of his record albums-This is Love, Spanish Eyes, and A Merry Christmas-that I used to listen quite frequently to as a kid during the '70s.
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