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. Written by
J. S. Golden
Originally, Francis Ford Coppola was against directing the film, as he felt it glorified the Mafia and violence, and it would reflect poorly on his Italian-Sicilian heritage. However, he eagerly took the job, once he thought of making it an allegory of American capitalism. See more »
In Vito's brush with death, one hitman's pistol emits a muzzle flash, visible just after a cut to the overhead shot of them running away, but there is no accompanying sound effect for this last gunshot. See more »
I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom but I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a "boy friend," not an Italian. She went to the movies with him. She stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago he took her for a drive, with another boy friend. They made her drink whiskey and then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her. Like an animal...
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In the end credits, Marlon Brando's name is the only one that is not accompanied by the character name that he plays (e.g. "as Vito Corleone"). See more »
One thing that's a bit annoying when seeing `The Godfather' is the sense that, as a viewer, you feel you are required to bow down before this film and worship it as movie perfection, or else reveal yourself to be a person of no taste. Well, I can definitely acknowledge that this is a very good movie, but not necessarily great, nor is it on my personal favorites list.
For starters, while this definitely gives you some great characters and atmosphere, there's really nothing in this movie that you couldn't get from reading the book. In fact, the strength of this film comes from the way the director and actors faithfully bring the novel to life.
What's best? No question - the acting. Judged on that scale alone, it gets a 10. I cannot disagree with those who state that this combines the best acting performances in American film history. The directing and scriptwriting are also very good, worthy of at least a 9.
What's not so good? The pacing. As others have noted, this film can be boring at times. Most notably, at least for me, was the time spent showing Mike in Sicily after he shot the cop and the Turk. Other than getting married, it doesn't really show him doing much of anything, nor does it really contribute much to the story. In contrast, the book made this particular sub-plot far more interesting and relevant.
And that, at heart, is my problem. I've seen the movie and I've read the book. And I far more enjoyed the latter. The book gives all sorts of details the movie skips. For example, in the film, Al Neri is just a guy dressed up as a cop who performs as one of Mike's hit men. In the book, we learn how he went from being a good cop with a bad temper to taking over the role once held by Luca Brasi (another character who is developed far more fully in the book).
So there you have it. On the one hand, you have to intellectually acknowledge the great talent displayed in the making of this film, but on the other, I must admit it just isn't very satisfying emotionally. These characters seem cold and distant, and I never really cared much for any of them. In that respect, I much more preferred "Goodfellas". The acting wasn't as good, but the characters were far more engaging and the pacing much more lively. In short, `The Godfather' is sort of like a great, but somber, piece of music, something you can admire but not dance to.
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