The Godfather (1972)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Cinematography Gordon Willis

The Godfather is a 1972 American crime drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy, based on Mario Puzo‘s best-selling novel of the same name. It stars Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as the leaders of a fictional New York crime family. The story, spanning 1945 to 1955, chronicles the family under the patriarch Vito Corleone, focusing on the transformation of Michael Corleone (Pacino) from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafia boss.

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The world inside the underworld!

4 July 2005 | by Vishv Jeet (United States) – See all my reviews

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.

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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.

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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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“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
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

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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.

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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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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..

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The Best Of The Set: By A Mile

4 June 2015 | by garthbarnes-11921 (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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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