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An offer so good, I couldn't refuse
andrewburgereviews1 April 2019
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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For Me, This Is The Definitive Film
gogoschka-111 February 2018
This isn't just a beautifully crafted gangster film. Or an outstanding family portrait, for that matter. An amazing period piece. A character study. A lesson in filmmaking and an inspiration to generations of actors, directors, screenwriters and producers. For me, this is more: this is the definitive film. 10 stars out of 10.

Favorite films:

Lesser-Known Masterpieces:
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The greatest movie of all time!
MR_Heraclius23 February 2020
One of the best films of all time, an absolute masterpiece. The Godfather is arguably the best gangster drama as well as setting the standard for cinema.
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I'm finding it hard to describe how amazing this movie was
TheLittleSongbird18 July 2010
There is very little that I can add to the reviews on here, that have explained what is so wonderful about The Godfather so well. I have seen many amazing movies, as well as some clunkers, but The Godfather was beyond amazing. There are so many images, details and scenes that I seriously cannot get out of my head since watching it for the first time just nine hours ago. The Godfather is so incredibly well-made and acted that it stands out among the rest of those other amazing films I've seen, so much so I couldn't think of a single flaw, and I am struggling to think of a good enough reason to why I didn't see this film before now.

True, The Godfather is a little slow-moving and the plot takes a while to unfold, but neither of these are flaws as such. The slow pacing added to the elegiac quality The Godfather has, and as for the plot what is special about this plot is that it is very unpredictable because you have next to no idea where it is next going to take you. Being 18, I was worried whether I was old enough to appreciate this film or even understand it, but luckily I understood it perfectly, and I can well and truly appreciate it for the masterpiece it is considered to be.

The Godfather for one thing looks stunning. I strongly disagree with the previous reviewer who said the cinematography was horrid, for me the cinematography was one of the best assets of the film. In some scenes you have cinematography and lighting that is quite dark and mysterious, and then in scenes such as the wedding it is evergreen, autumnal and very picturesque. It is not just the cinematography that makes The Godfather look stunning, the costumes are beautifully tailored, the houses are gorgeous and majestic to look at and even the cars were immaculate.

Then there is the score by Nina Rota. One word, outstanding! I have heard many wonderful scores in my lifetime, but after hearing this score few stick in the memory as much as the score for The Godfather. This score is both beautiful as seen with the main theme, and haunting in the way it sticks in your head after watching the film itself. Other outstanding assets are the masterly direction from Francis Ford Coppola, and the brilliantly written screenplay that is intelligent, thought-provoking and darkly humorous. As for the violence, some of it is shocking and intense especially in the climax which was enough to almost make your heart either beat twice as fast or stop, and I almost covered my eyes when the producer found the horse's head in his bed, but underneath that this family is somewhat loyal and honourable come to think of it.

The acting is absolutely fantastic, bringing to life characters that are rich and complex, perhaps unlikeable at first but as you get to know them you warm to them. And I have to say, The Godfather is one of those rarities where no actor gives a weak performance. In particular, Marlon Brando is brilliant as Don Vito, very heavily disguised yet stately. Every word of dialogue, every subtle hand gesture and every facial expression was brilliantly judged. Al Pacino's casting was admittedly risky, but he still did a truly wonderful job carrying the film, while James Caan is dignified and loyal, Diane Keaton beautiful and alluring and Robert Duvall nicely understated.

In conclusion, absolutely amazing, and I can see completely why it is considered one of the 10 greatest movies ever made, it is that good. In fact my 15-year old brother loved it so much, he wants to see it again. 10/10, though this film is too good for that rating. Bethany Cox
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Initially, I wasn't a fan... but then I realised
mattrochman14 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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#2 on IMDb's Top 100, a multi-Oscar-winner and over 1500 reviews...what more can I say about the movie?!
planktonrules30 March 2013
Up until today, I haven't bothered to review "The Godfather". After all, everyone pretty much knows it's one of the greatest films ever made. It's #2 on IMDb's Top 100. It won the Best Picture Oscar. And, there are nearly 1600 reviews on IMDb. So what's one more review?! Well, after completing 14,000 reviews (because I am nuts), I guess it's time I got around to reviewing a film I should have reviewed a long time ago. So, here goes....the film is perfect and only a dope wouldn't watch it. Unfortunately, IMDb requires me to say more to meet it's 10 line minimum for reviews. So, I'll point out that you do NOT need to like gangster films to enjoy this film. Yes, it's violent and nasty in spots--but it's also brilliantly written and produced from start to finish and deserves the accolades it's received.

My advice is that instead of just watching "The Godfather" and "The Godfather: Part II", see the combined version they created for television--with additional scenes that made it a very rich experience.
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mm-3916 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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Everything you've ever heard is true...
Leofwine_draca1 April 2014
THE GODFATHER is quite simply a masterful piece of film-making, an epic in the truest sense of the word and by far the finest gangster film ever shot. Made with finesse, style to spare and a director who elicits pitch-perfect performances from a talented cast, this is movie-making as it should be.

Yes, it's a very long film and yes, some sections are quite slow. Nevertheless, none of the film is any less than riveting. The story - of a father/son takeover in one of New York's major Italian Mafia families - is fairly straight forward, and yet Francis Ford Coppola turns it into something else so much more; a meditation on the human condition, perhaps.

Certainly this is a film that explores the darker side of humanity. Jealousy, betrayal, anger and revenge are all key themes here, and the film is inevitably punctuated by moments of graphic and shocking violence. And I'm glad Coppola chooses not to shy away from the said violence, which makes it all the more gritty and realistic when it does happen.

Marlon Brando takes the showrunner role here, the patriarch who's past his prime, but it's easy to spot the real star of the piece: Al Pacino, who burns up the screen with sheer ferocity. Robert Duvall is easy to miss in a quieter part, but watch out for James Caan whose volatile Sonny is one of the film's most engaging characters. Altogether this is a splendid and unforgettable piece of film-making, which inevitably spawned sequels and a whole gamut of similar gangster fare, but THE GODFATHER towers head and shoulders above them all.
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One of the best of all time.
Sleepin_Dragon6 February 2021
A masterclass in film making, is The Godfather a contender for the best film of all time? I'd argue the case that it is, this is the ultimate gangster movie.

Before you panic at the thought of a film being almost three hours long, you needn't, you won't even notice the time, it flies by.

Production values are incredible, it looks sublime the whole way through, it's so well produced, at roughly fifty years old it puts many new films to shame.

Brandon, Pacino and Castellano, just a few of the Incredible performances, I could add a whole lot more.

If you're considering buying a hard copy, I would recommend it on blu ray, it is sharper than the dvd, there is a difference.

This film has had a huge influence down the years, it is still, and will forever be, one of the greatest, 10/10.
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Amazing movie
danielfeerst22 January 2020
The acting was simply amazing, what else could you say. What could be more appealing to people(even today) than watching actors like Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and Robert Duvall. This is like heaven for someone who is a fan of movies. With this movie Brando was able to bring himself back into the limelight. His performance as the godfather alone is iconic. His character has been recreated so much in films that it has almost if it has not already become a cliché. His performance though was not a cliché. His performance was subtle and breathtaking. It was so genuine and realistic that it was not just probably but definitely more genuine than Marlon Brando himself. Al Pacino was perfect for this film as well. What a way to start up your career. His character was all about depth and he displayed it perfectly. He was able to display his own inner-battles in his mind as well as the battles he had with his family, friends and enemies. His character was more of a psychological character study than anything else to me. Robert Duvall to me was the glue to the movie. He added a different perspective to everything in just that he was not Italian yet having the respect of the mafia. His character is a man of high authority within the Corleone family who was listened to and insightful;. This was simply perfect giving the film great balance throughout. The rest of the cast was just icing on the cake.

The writing was phenomenal and breathtaking. As mentioned before there has been no movie quoted more than this. It is not even the quotes though that makes the writing in here so perfect. It is the symbolism and meaning that went into every scene. There are countless symbols, messages and lines in here that are so memorable yet it is as realistic as a movie could get.
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A Masterpiece
The-Other-Monkey6 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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The Godfather
Coxer9910 June 1999
Engrossing motion picture that features some of the finest editing, cinematography and performances ever. There is a wonderful theme of family that runs through this film and its later sequels. No one is truly judged. Love is unconditional. God is the one who truly judges. Easily, the word masterpiece describes this film, but that's been said by so many...Who am I to argue? Masterpiece is right on the money.
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The Don And His Sons
bkoganbing9 March 2008
My nephew who is all of 17 told me in no uncertain terms that movie making with him starts with The Godfather. He doesn't believe anything made before it is of any great merit. For him The Godfather is like The Birth of a Nation.

All three of The Godfather films can bear viewing over and over again. Mario Puzo created such compelling characters and Francis Ford Coppola brought them to life so vividly that you just get sucked in permanently. Like that other mammoth novel about a period, Gone With the Wind, Mario Puzo was like Margaret Mitchell in that there was no way he could top himself after the book was published.

Anyone steeped in organized crime history will know a lot about who is being alluded to in all of the Godfather films. Case in point, Alex Rocco who plays the minor character of Moe Green who takes it upon himself to slap Fredo Corleone around. He's also got a cash flow problem at the casino he's running. One would have to have been living on another planet to not know he was referring to Bugsy Siegal.

The Godfather story begins at the end of World War II where Marlon Brando rules the roost as Vito Corleone head of one of the large crime families. Two sons, James Caan (Sonny) and John Cazale (Fredo) are in the business and the third Al Pacino (Michael) has just come back from the war a decorated hero. The occasion is the gathering of the clan and friends for daughter Talia Shire (Connie) to Gianni Rizzi (Carlo Russo). All the characters are marvelously introduced and the plot situations laid out beautifully.

Marlon Brando who apparently decided that what George C. Scott did was so good in refusing the Oscar for Patton decided to do him one better and send up a bogus Indian princess to tell why. Despite that bit of cheek Brando certainly deserved an Oscar for his performance. Don Vito is compelling as criminal and family man. Brando might have been lucky though in that Al Pacino who really is the main character in all three Godfather films was nominated in the Supporting Actor category.

In fact Pacino was nominated with James Caan and Robert Duvall who plays Tom Heggen the family lawyer/consigliere and Brando's adopted son. That three way tie guaranteed the Oscar for Joel Grey in Cabaret with Eddie Albert being nominated for The Heartbreak Kid as the fifth. They're all great, but Pacino should have been in The Best Actor category.

Singer Al Martino plays Johnny Fontaine who if you didn't know that this was Frank Sinatra again you'd have to have been living on another planet. In fact the identification is made complete by the fact that Martino sings I Have But One Heart at the Corleone wedding which was an early Sinatra hit. Sinatra was not happy with The Godfather and broke off relations with Martino and with Richard Conte who plays Don Barzini one of the other Mafia Dons. Part of the underside of the Sinatra legend is worked into the plot as well.

The images and dialog of The Godfather have entered into our popular culture. The horse's head in John Marley's bed, the cryptic gangster dialog of speaking of an "offer he can't refuse", or "Lucabrazzi sleeps with the fishes" is all stuff we remember forever after seeing the film.

The key scene I think in The Godfather is between the retired Brando and Pacino who has taken over the crime family. Brando isn't happy about the road he took for success, but it's what was available to him. He hoped that Pacino could have stayed out of the family business and had a clean life. It wasn't to be, but maybe the next generation. I think it's beautifully played.

In fact it's all beautifully played.
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The world inside the underworld!
vjeet_a4 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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A masterpiece
preppy-322 April 2019
Epic film about a Mafia family called the Corleones. It takes place from the 1940s to 1950s. The family is overseen by Don Corleone (Marlon Brando). His sons help their father...except for his youngest Michael (Al Pacino). He wants no part of the family business...but he might have no choice.

A fantastic film. It runs three hours but you're never bored. It's wonderfully directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It also is one of those rare films with a perfect cast--no one is bad! It's also fun to see Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton so young and full of life. Many of the lines ("I'll make him an offer he can't refuse") have become legendary. Also there is some violence which was considered extreme in 1972 but is pretty tame today. Only a character getting shoot at a toll booth is pretty over the top. My favorite scene has to be at the end when Keaton realizes what she's married into. The look on her face is perfect.

This was a HUGE hit at the box office. It was loved by critics and the public alike. It was (rightfully) called the Gone With the Wind of the 1970s. A masterpiece and well worth seeing.
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For me it isn't "the greatest ever", but it's still great
BrandtSponseller24 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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What is there to say?
hall89516 June 2010
Does it even need to be said that The Godfather is an amazing film? Is there really any purpose at all in pointing out all the things which make it so wonderful? Everybody knows. Everybody will always know. This is a film which will live forever. The story, the performances, the cinematography, the music...all so perfect. And all woven together so wonderfully by director Francis Ford Coppola who created a true classic.

There are so very many good reasons why this film will always be remembered so fondly. No matter how many times you see it the film never fails to make an impact. Even if you've seen the film so often you essentially have it memorized line for line and shot for shot it remains a thrilling experience. From the famous opening scene with Marlon Brando's Don Vito Corleone receiving requests for favors on the occasion of his daughter's wedding all the way to the end and the final settling of all family business the film never lets up. It's an undeniably powerful story and one which retains the capacity to surprise. Because initially it seems obvious that the story is about Don Vito Corleone. He is the Godfather after all. But, for as powerful a presence as Brando is, as the story plays itself out there comes the moment where you realize this is the story of Don Vito's son Michael, as played so wonderfully by Al Pacino. When Michael comes into his own the film, gripping from the start, becomes even more compelling. Has any character in any film evolved more than Michael Corleone does here? The Michael we meet at his sister's wedding bears no resemblance to the man we see in the end. And what a performance by Pacino, changing along with his character. What a journey it is for Michael as his story unfolds. And it is quite a ride as well for us who have the privilege of seeing it.

Brando and Pacino are the headliners but they are wonderfully supported by an amazing cast which includes the likes of James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton and Al Lettieri. And that is just scratching the surface. There are so many memorable characters. And what a world Coppola has created for these characters to inhabit. The film has a unique look and feel to it. The world of The Godfather is quite unlike any other, often imitated but never duplicated. It's a triumph in every sense for Coppola. But perhaps his biggest success is in making you sympathize with the Corleones. We know right from the start that Don Vito Corleone is a man capable of doing monstrous things. But we identify with him anyway. And one cannot help but feel for Michael as he is inexorably pulled into the family business.

Everyone has their favorite Godfather characters, favorite moments, favorite lines. The film has become a cultural touchstone. And as it continues to be discovered by new generations it seems that the film, if possible, actually continues to grow in stature. It is a classic film which stands the test of time. The Godfather has earned its place of honor in the history of film. A true masterpiece.
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Simply the best
cardsrock9 March 2019
This film is pretty much the perfection of the craft. Every single aspect of The Godfather is outstanding. There are so many iconic lines and moments throughout the movie that have been replicated and entrenched in culture over the years. There really isn't too much else to say. This is truly the peak of filmmaking.
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How things were done back then!
Godz36527 February 2019
The directing by Coppola was perfect as well. Not many movies can be 3 hours and yet maintain a good level of interest from the audience like The Godfather. Coppola deserves credit for this. The symbolism and messages that went into every scene also has to do with the directing not just the writing. The movie is so well edited and strung together that the only word that could come to my mind is perfection.

The cinematography and music were perfect. The score of this movie is one of the most memorable ever. If you were to hear it you could identify it right away. The cinematography was what actually really drove this movie. The Godfather seems to have this mystique to it, it gives you the feeling you are watching something truly remarkable.
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The Greatest Film of All Time ! Period.
crendine24 March 2015
This film contains all the elements of a genuine masterpiece. Its attention to detail, history, and tradition. An absolutely wonderful screenplay. Its comparative closeness to the novel and a storyline which became the template for future stories in this genre. As for the performances: there is not one single character flaw in this entire cast. What continues to amaze me about this film more than any other is the fact that not only were the correct actors and actresses chosen for the roles but that they were each chosen at the perfect point in their respective careers. Throughout this film, there is not one actor nor actress who seems "too old or young for the part". Nor does anyone (including an extremely strong Diane Keaton) seem "out of place" or "unconvincing". The plot and storyline could not have been better and this is one film that no matter how many times you've seen it, it still continues to amaze, entertain, and (in some ways) inform. Like some of the classics which preceded it, it holds up very well over time and will probably continue to do so. I currently own on VHS "The Godfather Saga" (the first 2 movies woven together in chronological order) which is absolutely amazing. It begins with the birth of Vito and ends with the eventual rise of Michael. Although Francis Ford Coppola does not like this version of his epic, I sure wish he would release it on DVD.
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Be sure to give it the respect it deserves.
BA_Harrison6 March 2016
The Godfather used to hold the top spot in IMDb's Top 250 movies list; it now sits at number two, behind Frank Darabont's emotionally manipulative crowd-pleaser The Shawshank Redemption, which has become the go-to title for people who can't be arsed to think for themselves when it comes to naming their favourite film. People clearly aren't showing The Godfather enough respect (perhaps they need to be taught a lesson, capiche?).

In my opinion, Francis Ford Coppola's sweeping Mafia epic (based on Mario Puza's bestselling novel) trumps Shawshank in every way…

The film boasts a superior cast headed by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, with excellent support from James Caan and Robert Duvall; Tom Robbins and Morgan Fairchild are simply no match.

Coppola's storytelling is impeccable from start to finish, drawing the viewer into the film as inextricably as Michael Corleone (Pacino) is drawn into the sinister, violent underworld of Sicilian organised crime. Darabont does a reasonable enough job at papering over Shawshank's plot holes, but fails to lend his film the sense of style and class so evident in every scene of the Godfather.

Nino Rota's score for Coppola's movie is sublime, a majestic piece of music so emotive that just a few notes evoke an entire genre. I can't even recall Shawshank's score.

Rather unsurprisingly, The Shawshank Redemption deals with the theme of redemption, and closes with a contrived feel-good ending. The Godfather is darker and far more complex, dealing with loyalty, honour, obligation, destiny, desire, vengeance, violence, love, hate, and trust; it doesn't sell-out with a sappy, happy ending, closing instead with Michael embracing the lifestyle that he once sought to avoid. Perfectamundo (that's Italian for 'perfect'. Possibly).

In short, The Godfather is the don in every department.
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Truly the Godfather of movies
SnoopyStyle28 November 2013
Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the head of a Mafia family. Sonny (James Caan) is his eldest and heir apparent. Michael (Al Pacino) is a return WWII hero and wants to keep out of the family business. The Don refuses to go into the drug business which precipitate a mob war.

There is no doubt that this is one of the greatest movie of all times. Director Francis Ford Coppola has crafted a masterpiece from Mario Puzo's novel. It is not just a great story, but great characters and great actors playing them. Forty years later, it's still as compelling as ever. The pacing is slower than today's standard, but it packs a punch more potent than anything recent. The acting power alone is incredible. When you consider that Al Pacino is the new unknown kid, the cast is unquestionable the best that Hollywood has to offer in that era. Every 10 minutes, there is an iconic scene. There is no way I can list them all.

I rarely give a 10. Rarer still do I give it with no reservation. A perfect movie is not enough. It has to have cultural significance and some originality. That is 'The Godfather'. It is still being referenced today. May all the haters sleep with the fishes.
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Tolispro30 March 2019
Alright, this movie is simply perfect. I don't have one bad thing to say about it honestly. Phenomenal acting from few of Hollywood's greatest talents. Al Pacino gives a career defying performance in The Godfather along side Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duvall and a young Diane Keaton. This movie is simply perfect. This adaptation of Mario Puzo's book tells the tale of an immigrant living the American Dream. But even though all of the starts were absolutely phenomenal in their individual roles only one remains more iconic than the others--Marlon Brando as Don Vito. Fans of the movie will come back and watch it again and again to witness Brando in his absolute finest.
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Count Me In The Minority
sddavis6325 November 2002
First I have to say that it is very difficult to watch this movie for the first time (which I just did) and approach it with an open mind. The glowing reviews it gets everywhere (many of course calling it the best movie ever made) gives one extremely high expectations and the possibility of being easily disappointed. The many parodies of the movie also give it a cult status that makes one think one knows the story even if one has never seen it.

I thought "The Godfather" was a good movie, but nothing more than that really. I personally wouldn't call it the greatest movie ever made; not even one of the greatest. It was good, worth watching once and I'm glad I've finally seen it, but nothing more.

The portrayal of mob life in the post-war era seemed realistic enough, and the appropriate atmosphere was set. The opening scenes (revolving around Don Corleone's daughter's wedding) gave me mixed feelings. I thought the whole thing went on too long, but it did demonstrate that Corleone's "business" never ended - he was constantly meeting with various people looking for favours rather than being front and centre at the wedding. Brando, of course, won (and refused to accept) the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Corleone, but I wasn't actually taken with his performance. First, I really didn't think of him as the Lead Actor. Al Pacino (as Corleone's son Mike) was, I thought, far more important to the story and far more interesting to watch. Brando had - to me - an almost cartoonish aura around him. Over-rated in my view. But Pacino was excellent, and the character of Mike the most interesting in the movie, as he evolves from the returned war hero who wants nothing to do with the family "business" to the eventual "Don."

It's not that I thought this was a bad movie. It was quite watchable and for the most part very interesting. I just think I've seen better.

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The godfather
auuwws15 September 2020
The Godfather deserves to be called the best movie in history, and from my personal point of view, nothing is wrong with it
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