The Godfather "Don" Vito Corleone is the head of the Corleone mafia family in New York. He is at the event of his daughter's wedding. Michael, Vito's youngest son and a decorated WW II Marine is also present at the wedding. Michael seems to be uninterested in being a part of the family business. Vito is a powerful man, and is kind to all those who give him respect but is ruthless against those who do not. But when a powerful and treacherous rival wants to sell drugs and needs the Don's influence for the same, Vito refuses to do it. What follows is a clash between Vito's fading old values and the new ways which may cause Michael to do the thing he was most reluctant in doing and wage a mob war against all the other mafia families which could tear the Corleone family apart.Written by
There was a great deal of mooning on-set, started by James Caan and Robert Duvall. In an effort to break some tension during a rehearsal for the first scene, the pair mooned Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando, and Salvatore Corsitto. Caan told TIME Magazine, "My best moon was on Second Avenue. Bob Duvall and I were in one car and Brando was in another, so we drove up beside him and I pulled down my pants and stuck my ass out the window. Brando fell down in the car with laughter." Richard Bright claimed that it got to the point where every time you turned opened a door, you expected to see someone's behind. Even Al Pacino got in on the act, as he told Ladies' Home Journal, "In a scene where I sit behind a desk, wardrobe made a big fuss about getting me a shirt with a smaller collar. So while everyone was looking at the shirt, I took off my pants. When I came out from behind the desk, I got a laugh, even though we had to do the scene over." The ultimate moon came when Brando and Duvall mooned four hundred cast and crew members during the shooting of the wedding scene. They planned it carefully and Caan, who overheard the plan, started to shout, "No, no, not here!" Everyone working on the production and most of the extras roared with laughter (some of the older ladies didn't appreciate the view). Eventually, Brando was crowned best prankster, designated by a heavyweight-style leather belt with the title, "Moon Champion". See more »
When Don Corleone is heard, off camera, introducing the heads of the other families and where they're from, at the meeting, his voice is noticeably different than it was in scenes before or after. 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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Although Mario Puzo is given possessory credit at the beginning, and is credited as a screenwriter at the end, no credit is given to him on-screen as author of the original novel, even though that credit is given on the poster. This credit does appear in the second film, however. See more »
In 1972, Paramount was owned by Gulf & Western, so that company's name appears on the opening Paramount logo. When the film was re-released in 1997, Paramount was owned by Viacom, which placed its named on the re-release Paramount logo, and all subsequent video releases. See more »
It is now past 1 PM and I just finished watching Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather". I should probably go to bed. It's late and tomorrow I have to wake up a bit early. But not early enough to postpone writing these lines. Now that I have seen it three times, the opportunity of sharing my thoughts and refreshed insights are too much of a good offer to sit on. So, bear with me.
This film works so well because it takes place in an underworld in which we are so embedded that we do not even observe it. Coppola puts us straight in the smack-dab center of what is, admittedly, a society made by criminals for criminals. It is also the reason why it's so welcoming. We are surrounded by its inhabitants--cold-blooded murderers, men who see crime like a 9 to 5 job masquerading as honorable men. And I do mean men. From the outside, we would only witness the horrifying, disturbing manifestations of their well-thought out actions.
But it goes even deeper than that. It all revolves around the Corleone family led by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). He is the most honest of these men, sitting right on the edge. But for people like him, who do not fully embrace this world, it's not easy. He avoids conflict until it is absolutely necessary. He is a man defined by moral principles. There is a scene at the beginning, in which, during his daughter's wedding day, one of his associates, Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) practices his speech that he is going to give to the Don when he meets him. The scene with these two is funny and almost adorable. I could not help but sympathize both of them only to realize that I am feeling warmth for two mobsters. Not to even mention that Lenny Montana was an actual mob hit-man and that he was actually nervous as he said that line.
The more I watched the more I realized just how incredibly complex and ruthless this society is and how it has the power to corrupt anyone to come in contact with it. The best example is Corleone's youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino). He returns home for his sister's wedding as a war hero dressed the part with his long-time girlfriend, Kay Adams (Diane Keaton). At first, he avoids this underworld, but necessity, first-hand exposure and just its sheer devilish appealing nature draws him in. As we get further in the film, the change is shocking and every outsider who ever got close to him is tainted in one way or another. If they survive it, they are drawn in as well as we are as viewers.
Inside, Coppola exposes the family to us fully, with a bold personal approach and we witness every discussion, every methodically calculated choice. Crime is done simply because it is the nature of their business, and we are put on a chair alongside them, so we easily relate. For us, they are the good guys, the rival families are the bad guys. This is the greatest feat this film managed to pull off--set apart good guys and bad guys in a world filled with bad guys.
This is a film of unmatched subtlety. No other movie sustains itself as good. No other film is done with such precision, attention and completeness. There are many layers which I probably missed and maybe will never notice. But I felt them. What director Francis Ford Coppola and his partner in crime (poor choice of words, sorry) Mario Puzo did is nothing short of a timeless piece of reference cinema whose influence is not based on reinventing the wheel, but rather perfecting it to the absolute maximum.
Most masterpieces are remembered for their historical contributions. "Citizen Kane" brought the biggest step-up to the art form, the same things did "Gone With the Wind" or "2001: A Space Odyssey". "The Godfather" is one of the few films that will be remembered simply because they are that good and I cannot possibly imagine a greater achievement.
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