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The Godfather (1972)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  24 March 1972 (USA)
9.2
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Ratings: 9.2/10 from 875,300 users   Metascore: 100/100
Reviews: 1,835 user | 190 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Top 250 #2 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 29 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Clemenza (as Richard Castellano)
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Rudy Bond ...
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Storyline

The story begins as "Don" Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia "family", oversees his daughter's wedding with his wife Carmela. His beloved son Michael has just come home from the war, but does not intend to become part of his father's business. Through Michael's life the nature of the family business becomes clear. The business of the family is just like the head of the family, kind and benevolent to those who give respect, but given to ruthless violence whenever anything stands against the good of the family. Don Vito lives his life in the way of the old country, but times are changing and some don't want to follow the old ways and look out for community and "family". An up and coming rival of the Corleone family wants to start selling drugs in New York, and needs the Don's influence to further his plan. The clash of the Don's fading old world values and the new ways will demand a terrible price, especially from Michael, all for the sake of the family. Written by Charlie Ness

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An offer you can't refuse.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

24 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mario Puzo's The Godfather  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$223,758 (USA) (4 April 1997)

Gross:

$134,821,952 (USA) (2 May 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Extended Edition)

Sound Mix:

(re-release)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The three-year-old child actor Anthony Gounaris responded best when his real name was used while shooting the film. That's why Michael's son's name is Anthony. See more »

Goofs

The placement of Moe Green's drink during his meeting with Michael. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bonasera: 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...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Soundtracks

Antico Canto Siciliano
(uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Initially, I wasn't a fan... but then I realised
14 October 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This is a masterpiece. A timeless masterpiece. Initially, I didn't like this film all that much - I found it rather over-hyped and boring. This was until the advent of DVD, which gave me the feature I needed for this sort of film: subtitles. Once I switched them on and heard (read) every last word of Brando's ramblings and other characters ramblings, I grew a true appreciation for this epic.

To make a true epic, you need all of three following ingredients working in near perfect harmony. For screenwriters who come across this, take the following pointers on board: 1) Contrasting Characters: Good films have some character distinction, but most fall rather flat because the core of each character is the same.

Of course, there are exceptions to rule (ie... where you want mono-tonal characters... aka matrix; or where you want outlandish contrasts... aka The Fifth Element), but ultimately, this is what makes films deep, meaningful and grand. Consider the contrasts between the Don's children. Michael is rather cool, rational and collected, whereas Sonny is more hot-headed, spontaneous and simple minded. But simply having these contrasts is not nearly enough. What you really need to do is to develop these characters - place them in situations - and then dwell on how their character impacts on the situation they're put in. The Godfather is a terrific example of how to pull this off. While many try to do this in screenplays, most lose the plot and create character obscurities that stretch credibility.

2) Transformation: The central character(s) must undergo a transformation, resulting in them being almost unrecognizable by the end of the film. By putting them into situations, the character's character must not only influence the outcome of the situation; it must also have a lasting impact on the character. Consider Michael at the wedding and compare that to the Michael we see at the end of the film. Again, many films try, but most fail because they come up with unreal (literally, not praisingly) or simply moronic transformations (eg, Wall Street).

3) Patience: Men in Black 2 was an astounding film for one simple reason - it was an entire film squashed into about 70 minutes. It was not much longer than an episode of ER or Buffy. I certainly hope the new goal of Hollywood isn't to make films as short as possible.

All the great ones spend time - time developing characters, family life, growth, patience with the story telling in general. This is the key (provided that the story isn't mind-numbingly boring). Dances with Wolves, Heat.. and so on are very patient but top-class films. While studios may be lukewarm on the idea of longer films, they are worth it if you have a ripper story to base it on.

I feel that this film has not dated all that much and has tremendous re-watch-ability.


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