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The Godfather (1972)

R | | Crime, Drama | 24 March 1972 (USA)
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The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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125 ( 36)
Top Rated Movies #2 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 27 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

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An offer you can't refuse. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(re-release)|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Caan and Al Pacino were only ten years younger than the American Jazz singer Morgana King, who played their mother. John Cazale was only five years younger than her. See more »

Goofs

When Tom Hagen is trying to convince Sonny not to go to war after Vito Corleone was almost murdered, he states that the Corleone family will be outcasts and all the five families will go after the Corleone family. However, the Corleone family is one of the five families, so he should have said that the other four families will go after the Corleone family. 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...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Other than Mario Puzo's name there are no opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crime Spree (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by all at Michael's birthday party
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Best Of The Set: By A Mile
4 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Spoilers Ahead;

I am not a big fan of the sequels even the second is a big step down from this one. What a cast? Like an earlier reviewer said; REWATCHABLE!! Yes, I am Italian, not a Sicilian, and I have seen it hundreds of times. What a cast: Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall. Even the supporting cast is excellent with the film noir legend Richard Conte as Barzini. Puzo wrote such a rich, deep script. The characters suck you in and are so lifelike. Each brother is radically different from the other. Fredo, the mama's boy, the useless one who Michael kills off in the second one. Sonny, the human volcano, with a temper that has to be seen to be believed. Michael, the quiet and deadly one most like Vito but colder more ruthless. Michael was always outside the family looking in; he was held in contempt by the rest as the soft college boy who didn't want to get his hands dirty. This is the answer to the riddle of how he could kill Fredo, his own brother, later in the second one. Notice where he sits at the wedding, as far away from the family as he can get.

Events suck Michael into their world but he never is really in the family. We see his cruelty by the end of the movie as he slaughters the heads of the five families and his own sister's husband Carlo who fingered Sonny. The key scene for understanding Michael is the baby's baptism; watch the juxtaposition of the images with the words the priest is saying. As he renounces Satan he performs the very actions he is renouncing. Coppola was so good at using images to contradict words; it is really his signature. Pacino becomes the very image of Satan as he murders all those people while standing reciting the holy words of baptism renouncing the very deeds as he is performing them. What a work of art!! Only Francis Coppola could do this.

The film, to be fair to its critics, does gloss over the mafia a bit. We do not see old store owners shaken down with blow torches waved in front of their faces. I do think Puzo and Coppola do show the awful cost of the evil. Even here, Michael slowly transforms from a diffident outcast at the back of the family to a ruthless Don. It appears here that he is like Vito but that illusion is dispelled by his ruthlessness far exceeding Vito's. Michael because he was an outcast simply does not feel the bonds of family as Vito did. There is a coldness about him; he is like an iceberg. The movie is three hours long but it moves very quickly. The only parts that drag are the scenes of michael's exile in Sicily. It really is the story of the brothers and how radically different their fates are; Fredo is sent to Vegas where he becomes a weakling fop beaten up by Moe Greene, Sonny's temper ends up killing him like you always knew it would. Michael gets sucked in; there is always great resentment in Michael for the destiny he never wanted.

The second film shows Michael's estrangement from the family deepening. It culminates in him killing Fredo for putting him at risk. I always think it is important to see Michael as Puzo and Coppola paint him: a loner who protects himself ruthlessly. He really could care less about the family; he is all about power and control. Vito, for all his evil, cared and loved his family very deeply. Look, Fredo almost got him killed when Sollozo's men attacked, he fumbled and dropped his gun. Vito did not kill him; Michael was not so forgiving. It is a true masterpiece. I LOVE IT


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