The Godfather

1972 Drama / Crime Movie
Based Upon the novel by Mario Puzo.
"Mr. Corleone is Johnny's godfather. To the Italian people, that is a very religious, sacred, close relationship."Tom Hagen to Woltz
Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Screenplay: Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Adapted from the novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
Music: Nino Rota
Running time: 175 minutes

Minor Spoilers Below: Go watch the movie!

Best Movie of All Time!... as voted upon by the users of it makes top 5 for most everyone else's lists.

This movie follows the exploits of the Corleone family, one of the five major Mafia families in New York City, right after the end of World War II.

This movie portrays the Mafia from the inside. It shows us a group of folk loyal to the Godfather, a patriarch who metes out wisdom and justice. A man who is willing to help out his friends in need, and expect perhaps nothing in return other than another favor owed back.

"You shall have your justice. Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do me a service in return. Until that day, consider this justice a gift from my wife, your daughter's godmother." -Don Vito Corleone to Bonasera

Granted, the justice dished out in this movie is hardly the type that most people think of when they hear the word. But Coppola is brilliant in making us sympathize with these violent criminals. He convinces the audience that those who run up against the judgement of the family deserved what was coming to them.

One scene which does this quite well is when we see Don Corleone (Brando) arguing that they should stay out of Narcotics. Liquor, Gambling, Women, these are victimless crimes. But to the Don, drugs are a dirty business, and it is best to keep his hands out of it.

The movie follows the actions that the Godfather's sons are forced to take in order to protect their father, and the rest of their family, when the Godfather is injured by a would-be assassin.

Coppola's attention to detail is amazing. Every little thing is arrayed just so, to either convince you that it really is New York in the middle 40's, or as a piece of subtle symbolism that, when they all add up, hammer his point through. Aren't subliminal messages fun?

This movie was one of the few that was able to achieve both critical acclaim, and box-office success. It received the following Academy Awards and Nominations: Winning:


While this movie was hardly the original Mafia / Gangster movie, it certainly revitalized the genre, setting the stage for classics such as Goodfellas, The Usual Suspects, Scarface, and of course, The Godfather Part II & III. It was one of the first steps leading to the Glorification of Organized Crime in popular culture.

It also had a tremendous effect on the careers of most of the actors in it. It made the careers of Pacino and Keaton, vaulting them into the spotlight from relative obscurity. It was also the defining role for most of the other actors, most notably Marlon Brando. Whenever people think of Brando, one of two things usually pops to mind, his appearance in A Streetcar Named Desire, or The Godfather, and for most people it's The Godfather.

Oh yes. And another thing I've noticed while doing a little research for this node. The general consensus is that you have no right to call yourself a man if you haven't seen this movie. Ladies, you're still fine, but you guys had better see it.

Marlon Brando           Don Vito Corleone  
Al Pacino               Michael Corleone  
Diane Keaton            Kay Adams Corleone  
Robert Duvall           Tom Hagen  
Richard S. Castellano   Peter Clemenza  
James Caan              Santino 'Sonny' Corleone  
Sterling Hayden         Police Captain McCluskey  
Talia Shire             Constanzia 'Connie' Corleone-Rizzi  
John Marley             Jack Woltz  
Richard Conte           Don Emilio Barzini  
Al Lettieri             Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo  
Abe Vigoda              Sal Tessio  
Gianni Russo            Carlo Rizzi  
John Cazale             Frederico 'Fredo/Freddie' Corleone  
Rudy Bond               Ottilio Cuneo  
1: Marlon refused his award, sending an actress portraying an American Indian in his stead, who passed along the message that he didn't want this, his 2nd Academy Award, due to the portrayal of Indians in the Cinema and Television.
2: That's right, Three freaking different nominations from one movie in the same category. Wooha!