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The Godfather
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Godfather More at IMDbPro »

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628 out of 799 people found the following review useful:

"The Godfather" is pretty much flawless, and one of the greatest films ever made

10/10
Author: SJ_1 from United Kingdom
30 September 2005

Rather than concentrating on everything that is great about The Godfather, a much easier way for me to judge its quality is on what is bad about it. Almost every film has something that I don't like about it, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't change anything about The Godfather. There is nothing weak about it and nothing that stands out as bad. That's why it gets ten out of ten.

This is one of those films that made me wonder why I hadn't seen it earlier. The acting from everyone involved is great, Marlon Brando comes across perfectly as the head of the family, and James Caan and Al Pacino are excellent as his sons. The soundtrack by Nino Rota is also very memorable, bringing back memories of the film every time I hear it. The plot has to be excellent for it to get ten out of ten, and it is, it's far from predictable and the film is the definition of a great epic.

The film is pretty shocking in the way every death occurs almost instantaneously, and as it spans ten years so many different things happen and every minute of it is great entertainment. It's a well-made and entertaining film that is only the first part of a trilogy, but it stands on its own as a wonderful film in its own right. If you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? This was one acclaimed film that didn't disappoint.

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479 out of 690 people found the following review useful:

Magnificent portrait of organized crime

10/10
Author: ks4 from EU
25 December 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is by far the best movie ever to give a portrait organized crime, this movie goes deep inside and shows it all inside out..

With superb acting by especially Al Pacino as Mike Corleone and Marlon Brando as Don Vito corleone this movie shows how one of the head mafia families in New York works, it gives a detailed picture of how their business runs and what kinda chances they got to take on their business, for example their denial to step inside the narcotic business brings on alot of troubles, but also it shows what kinda sacrifices they make, every day could be their last day..

Al Pacino shines above all in this movie, as the smart boy of the family he returns after fighting a war for his country, at that time not involved in the family business, but it doesn't take long before the war breaks lose and he see no other ways than to step in and fight for his family.

This is definetely a "must see" masterpiece.

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385 out of 507 people found the following review useful:

Another kind of "family movie"

10/10
Author: b-a-h TNT-6 from nowhere
5 March 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Godfather is one of the few films in which I personally did not find any significant weakness even after many viewings. From the direction, to the acting, to the storyline, to the score, The Godfather has the word classic written all over, and it really is not much of a surprise that it is now considered by many one of the top five movies of all time. Perhaps when it comes to cinematic techniques The Godfather has not been as revolutionary as Citizen Kane, but its influence on motion pictures is comparable. Rarely a movie has defined or re-defined a genre as much as this one did for "gangster movies", but its influence goes well beyond that.

The Godfather's influence has been so big through the years that elements of it can be found in virtually every "organized crime film" nowadays; almost every comedy featuring a gangster in the last few years has spoofed something in The Godfather. The Italian-American old mobster a-la Don Vito Corleone has become one of the most established figures in the public's imagination.

But to say that The Godfather is simply "influential" is to diminish its true qualities, and so is to describe it simply as "a movie about gangsters". The Mafia is certainly the main focus the story revolves around (despite the fact that the word is never mentioned), but although the movie never tries to forcedly insert separate subjects it contains an amount of psychological and social subtexts that cannot be overlooked. Considerations on how the social environments changes us, on how moral values appear different from different point of views, on how violence can destroy a human soul, and on how power can corrupt an individual are deeply blended into a story that stays practically always true to complete realism, and the result is a picture of astonishing efficacy and believability.

As good as the direction and the story are, it would be unfair not to consider the major role that the actors' performances had in the cinematic triumph that was The Godfather. Praised by many as the best cast to ever appear in an American movie, all the cast in The Godfather succeeds in portraying complex, three-dimensional characters without ever making a slip. The exceptional portrayals of Don Vito and Michael Corleone respectively by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, the performances by Robert Duvall, James Caan and Diane Keaton as Tom Hagen, Santino Corleone and Kay Adams, the ruthless Virgil Sollozzo played by Al Lettieri -- as well as more than a few other roles -- are all perfect for the movie, and they all succeed in making us believe these are real people, not just actors. We are not watching a central character and a bunch of incomplete figures that revolve around him: although Michael Corleone is the character that gets the most screen time, everybody is the center of this world his own way. The movie makes it possible for the viewers to identify with different characters and to observe how their personality and story fits in, and it does it much more effectively than many bloated multiple-storyline movies that came out in the last few years.

The movie opens on the wedding of Don Vito Corleone's daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Don Corleone is a powerful man, and it was not without the use of violence that he achieved this position during the course of his life. The wedding scene gives a perfect setting of where and how the Don's power extends; from the regular worker in a neighborhood, to the immensely popular singer, to the friends in politics and right to the ruthless killer, Don Corleone has links to people ready to ask him favors and to pay him back. Some are trustworthy, some are not, but thanks to his intelligence and intuit the Don can almost always distinguish the two.

However, this is 1946, times are changing, and to many of the younger people working in the crime business, Don Corleone's ideas are becoming obsolete. The Don believes that the new trend in the business, narcotics, is too dangerous and the families dealing with it would eventually end up self-destroying; while his family had deals in alcohol and gambling for a long time, part of the Government and law enforcement was ready to close one eye. Drugs are another thing.

To this day, Don Corleone was able to keep things together while maintaining his economic and political power, but things will brutally change when a powerful drug dealer name Sollozzo enters the picture. The refusal of Don Corleone to cooperate with Sollozzo, and a weakness immediately spotted by the latter, will ignite a war that will cost many lives, and that will see Michael Corleone, Vito's younger son and the one who never wanted to take part in the family business, lose his "innocence" and transform into a gangster as ruthless as the people he initially stood up against.

I purposely decided not to spoil much about the plot because I believe that the film is perfectly enjoyed without knowing anything in advance, and -- believe it or not -- there are still quite a lot of people who have never seen this movie. There are multiple scenes that manage to create an incredible tension, various twists, and although like any other masterpiece The Godfather can be watched knowing the whole story beforehand and still be a phenomenal experience, I believe it is always a pleasure to see it for the first time and enjoy its multiple climaxes. Besides, to outline such complicated characters and such an emotionally intense story in a short review like this one would be inadmissible.

There has been much speculation on how the events in The Godfather novel written by Mario Puzo, the book the film is based on, could be an exposé of true facts. Many believe that the character of Johnny Fontane , for instance, was based on Frank Sinatra's real life, and many of the other characters were modeled after real people. I won't go into that: frankly, I have no idea whether these voices are reliable, although the Frank Sinatra reference seems obviously quite believable.

The cinematography of The Godfather is dark and tasteful, and colors are used perfectly to give a true feel of the era it is set in. There is a fair amount of violence, though rarely gratuitous.

The Godfather certainly doesn't need my recommendation. The film is universally considered one of the best of all time, and the performances by Pacino and Brando alone is the stuff of legends.

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541 out of 830 people found the following review useful:

perfect

10/10
Author: mm-39 from Winnipeg
16 May 2001

This movie is strong, good script, great casting, excellent acting, and over the top directing. It is hard to fine a movie done this well, it is 29 years old and has aged well. Even if the viewer does not like mafia type of movies, he or she will watch the entire film, the audiences is glued to what will happen next as the film progresses. Its about, family, loyalty, greed, relationships, and real life. This is a great mix, and the artistic style make the film memorable.

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410 out of 661 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest Movie Ever Made

9/10
Author: Sean Coughlin (kaffee@bestweb.net) from Yorktown
11 August 1998

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Godfather is one of the very few films that doesn't have a single flaw. Seeing The Godfather for the first time was the most amazing movie experiences of my life. There's scenes that stay with you when the movies over, and you don't forget them. Everyone makes the mistake of calling this film a movie about crime. Its really a movie about family. The dialogue is just unbelievable. I've seen the movie at least 30, 40 times, and I'm still amazed at how perfect it is. The music, the acting, everything. People think that Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made...well, there's no way that ANYONE can think that Citizen Kane is more moving, and has a better storyline than The Godfather. The thing I find so amazing about The Godfather is how Michael (Al Pacino) changes throughout the movie. Its my opinion that this is the greatest movie ever made, and I doubt that anyone can watch this movie, and think I'm crazy.

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236 out of 341 people found the following review useful:

Initially, I wasn't a fan... but then I realised

10/10
Author: mattrochman from Australia
14 October 2006

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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207 out of 300 people found the following review useful:

A Masterpiece

10/10
Author: The-Other-Monkey from Casa Nostra
6 August 2006

This must rank as the best film (along with part 2)of all time.An ensemble performance that has no weak spot.

Particularly, John Cazale ( Fredo) and Richard Castellano ( Clemenza) give wonderfully understated performances. You just have to believe that Castellano WAS Clemenza, he brings a real touch to his role.

John Cazale brings the troubled Fredo to life, and you can see the weak Fredo desperately trying to live up to the family reputation but knowing that he can never be what his father wants.

The story of one man's reluctance to be drawn into the murky family business,and his gradual change through circumstance, paints a vivid picture of this violent period of US history.

Do not miss this film!

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205 out of 311 people found the following review useful:

This Movie Has Haunted My Life...

10/10
Author: Trevizolga from United States
9 July 2006

I love this movie and all of the GF movies. I see something new every time I have seen it (countless, truly). The story of tragedy and (little) comedy that exists in this film is easily understood by people all over the world. This film has been called an American story however I have met others who have seen this movie in other languages and they seem to have the same love and appreciation for it that I do. I love the characters and all of the different personalities that they represent not just in families but in society itself. It seems like the entire cast is part of every other movie that I love as well. The sounds, music, color and light in the film are just as much a part of the film as the people. This could be attributed to the method in which it was filmed. At many parts of the film I can still find myself feeling the emotions conveyed in the film. I never tire of appreciating this film. I thank God that FFC is an American treasure. We are fortunate to have him.

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422 out of 745 people found the following review useful:

For me it isn't "the greatest ever", but it's still great

10/10
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
24 April 2005

Marlon Brando is Don Vito Corleone, head of perhaps the most powerful New York-area mafia family in the 1940s, in this well-respected film by director/writer Francis Ford Coppola. As the film begins, Vito is receiving "business" guests in his office at his home while his daughter Connie's (Talia Shire) wedding and reception are taking place. The epic plot takes place over many years, telling the story of Vito, his family--including Michael (Al Pacino), Santino (James Caan) and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), his associates, and their interactions with other mob syndicates.

The Godfather is commonly considered to be one of the "greatest films of all time". Even though I've given it a 10, I wouldn't put that same kind of exalted emphasis on it. I've given literally thousands of films 10s over the years, and for me, Godfather just barely made a 10. I think it has a number of flaws, but Coppola also has a knack for transcending the problems with some brilliant move or another. At any rate, it is definitely must-see viewing--even if it's only because it's so highly regarded--if you've not experienced the film yet. I think it's a good idea to attain cultural literacy, and films as popularly loved as The Godfather become necessary elements in achieving that literacy.

Shorn of its gangster trappings, The Godfather is sprawling and soap-operatic in tone. The sprawl is appropriate to its origins as a novel by Mario Puzo, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Coppola. There is a large cast of characters--maybe too large, as it can be difficult to keep track of just who everyone is. Even after you've watched the film a couple times you may find scenes where mobsters seem to spontaneously appear and you catch yourself saying, "Wait, who is that guy supposed to be again?" The soap opera angle can be a positive or negative depending on your tastes. I tend to not like soap-operatic stories, but of course Coppola put yummy gangster topping on this one to make it palatable for guys like me. At root, though, The Godfather is concerned with realistic depictions of a very dysfunctional family as they try to make it through life--including marriages, births, adultery, spats between family members, tiffs with others in their community, and so on. My theory is that the soap opera angle accounts for much of the film's appeal. For me, it (and the slight lack of focus from the sprawl) accounts for much of the reason that I barely gave the film a 10.

But two things help the film transcend a lower score for me. Even though the gangster stuff has been far surpassed in graphic brutality in the intervening years, the dramatic context of the violence usually gives it tremendous impact. Films like Ichi the Killer (2001), which I just watched for the first time the night before watching The Godfather again, make the Godfather's brutality fit for Sesame Street in comparison. However, although Ichi's violence is effective, setting that knob to "11" doesn't make it better. Besides, Ichi is so over the top that it would make many Godfather fans want to hurl.

To the extent that Coppola and Puzo just focus on the extended Corleone family, they create tremendous depth in their relationships. The whole film can be looked at as a fascinating depiction of "oscillating" dynamics in the family, with the pole pairs being interacting/distancing, control/lack of control, benevolence/malevolence. Most character stances and actions are some combination of those ranges of characteristics, and everyone dances around the poles, so to speak, throughout the film. From this angle, even the attractive surface violence (well, attractive to us fans of that stuff in artworks) is mainly there for the purpose of pushing characters more to one pole or the other. There is an implication that underlying these mechanisms is some natural tendency towards achieving (a dynamic) equilibrium.

But there are more superficial stylistic factors that help push my score up to a 10, also. The most obvious, which everyone and their grandparents have mentioned, are the performances. It's tough to go wrong when you have a cast including Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, and so on. Another commonly mentioned element that I agree is fantastic and superbly integrated to create atmosphere is Nino Rota's score.

Less often mentioned is the consistently intriguing cinematography by Gordon Willis. Most of Willis' unusual shots in the film are so subtle as to be barely noticeable unless you're looking for them. The opening, for example, consists of a long (it lasts a few minutes) "zoom out" from Amerigo Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto). The shot is beautifully lit--most of the frame is extremely dark, giving Bonasera a chiaroscuro effect (the opening is also unusual in that it's a long monologue from a minor character).

Willis and Coppola have a knack for placing their actors in the frame to create depth and interesting visual patterns. This is done so slyly that at first blush you wouldn't believe it's something they thought about, but if you keep this in mind while watching, you can see delightful visual paths that zigzag, wind to a focal point, and so on, all created by the confluence of actors and scenery in the frame.

If you haven't seen The Godfather before, the most important thing you can do before watching is to forget about all of the "greatest film of all time" hype. That's only likely to set up expectations that could never be met; more than likely you'll be disappointed. Just think of it as one of the better films from one of Hollywood's more admirable but relatively odder directors, featuring earlier performances from a very well known cast, and keep in mind that it's as much a "historical family saga" as a crime or gangster film.

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232 out of 368 people found the following review useful:

The world inside the underworld!

10/10
Author: Vishv Jeet from United States
4 July 2005

The godfather trilogy is an exclusive set of movies that will continue to live with humanity, every generation will see them to say, "Oh that was 10 out of 10." If you watch them you will know that the world that lives inside the underworld is same as the one we live in except that people in underworld are so smart, in fact smartness is the only thing that can keep them there. Don Vito Caroleone's early life shown in part-II is very well done to show the Don in making, how a kid who couldn't even tell his name went on becoming a underworld don who keep most senators, judges and lawyers in his pocket. Meeting of don with the so call five families are among most impressive scenes.

A saga that goes on for 9 continuous hours takes you around various walks in life of Mike (Don's younger son who become Don later), his school days, love life, personal life, family life, business life, political life and religious life. How all of these different roles Mike plays in his life and how intertwined these are.

I enjoyed watching these movies so much, I wish I had seen them much before then I did. Its amazing to see how the Part-III was made 18 years later the part-I was made and everything looks so continuous if watch them together.

I need not say much! The Godfather father trilogy been around for a while and everyone knows that they are great set of movies, its just the matter of when you actually get to see them.

Watch them! Kudos to Francis Ford Coppola! -Vishy

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