The Godfather (1972)

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10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great crime drama

Nothing

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Godfather

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  March 15, 1972

MPAA Rating:  R

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Be happy because everything is about to go to crap

Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) is one of the biggest mob bosses on the East Coast. His son Michael (Al Pacino) is a decorated World War II veteran, Sonny (James Caan) is the hothead poised to take over the business, Fredo (John Cazale) is the screw-up, and his daughter Connie (Talia Shire) has just married. When Corleone objects the Families getting involved in drug trafficking, he becomes a target. It is Michael who steps up to avenge his father and rises to take control of the family. As he tries to get control of the situation, he breaks his word to his wife Kate (Diane Keaton) and joins the family business for better or worse.

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Remember when Michael was a nice guy?

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather is the mob movie that all other mob films are compared and probably will forever be compared to. Loved by the critics, the movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), and Best Adapted Screenplay (from Mario Puzo’s novel). Coppola was nominated for Best Director, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall all were nominated for Best Supporting Actor (all losing to Joel Grey in Cabaret), and the movie also received nominations for Best Costume Design, Film Editing, and Sound.  The score was originally nominated for Best Score but it was deemed ineligible due to some use in Fortunella (1958). The movie was one of the biggest moneymakers of all time and has been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Institute.

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Horsie!

The movie is gritty and a great period piece. Coppola helped clean up Puzo’s story and tighten it into a strong movie with some very tense moments. Scenes like the gunning down of Don Corleon, the showdown at the hospital, the death of Sonny, and the killing of the rival families all demonstrate a great sense of style and editing. The last shot of Kate watching Michael meet with his bosses is also is a great way to end the film by providing conclusion but also leaving it open for the sequel…the series is about the corruption of a man.

The acting is all top notch. I always love how Marlon Brando got his top billing like normal when Al Pacino has a majority of the scenes, but Brando in his typical fashion really kills in the scenes he’s in so I can’t fault him. Pacino is amazing in The Godfather but really gets to stretch more in The Godfather II. I can’t criticize anyone in the cast…they all give amazing performances. Even people like Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) who obviously isn’t the greatest actor, works in the movie because Coppola knows how to use him and shoot it to make him a better actor.

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I didn’t have exact change!!!

The movie also went through a lot of changes in its cast with Laurence Olivier, Ernest Borgnine, and Danny Thomas being considered for the Godfather. Ryan O’Neal and Robert Redford were top choices for Michael with Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Martin Sheen, and James Caan also considered. Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Bruce Dern were up for Duvall’s spot with Mia Farrow being considered for Kate.

The movie couldn’t look better.  Coppola takes that gritty look to the period piece that it really needs to feel like old gangster films.  With a style that near noir, he infused a level of violence that was more in tune to the films of the late ’60s and early ’70s.  The result is one of those rare perfect films that is hard to find any faults with.

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My brothers are going to kill me…

The Godfather is a great film, but it is a commitment because once you watch The Godfather you’re going to want to watch The Godfather Part II next…The Godfather Part III can wait. The Godfather and The Godfather II were combined in The Godfather Saga for television. Despite my love of The Godfather, I’m in The Godfather Part II boat as the better picture.  The Godfather Part II was released in 1974 and also went on to win best picture…the first for a sequel.

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Related Links:

The Godfather:  Part II (1974)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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