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The Godfather

A 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola

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The fated first-born.

  • Jun 23, 2011
**** out of ****

The most overrated word is most definitely "overrated". Recently, I've heard the word been used in the most peculiar of situations; one of them being to describe the world-renowned cinematic classic, "The Godfather". Cinephiles of all ages are always attacking "classics" because they go in with some pretty large expectations. And when they don't get the "best movie of all time", they start making up reasons why the movie might be "bad". See...I don't like that, and I'll never do it. I review films based on my personal enjoyment and/or admiration for the movie, as well as the effort that was put into every key aspect. If a movie has a brilliant script, then it will entertain me no matter what. A good movie is a good movie. And "The Godfather" is most definitely one.

There were good and even great gangster films before this one. Francis Ford Coppola, the director and co-writer behind this fine production, simply put the icing on the cake by making an undeniably historical one. Love it or hate it, "The Godfather" definitely did something for cinema. Heck, when people think "crime/gangster/mob cinema", they instantly think of this very film. That is because "The Godfather" is memorable for many, forgettable for others, and boring-as-hell for those without attention spans or the intelligence required to enjoy it.

I enjoy a good mobster flick. I like stories involving the types of people involved. "The Godfather" probably inspired half of the mob flicks that I like, and one show which I love. "The Godfather" is not only superb entertainment, but also superb screen-writing. This is purely based on opinion, but one cannot deny facts. And here's a fact for you: "The Godfather" is a well-made cinematic landmark.

The film opens on the wedding reception of Don Vito Corleone's (Marlon Brando) daughter. There is much discussion about business, favors, and Hollywood during the reception, and then life goes on. However, there is something I must tell you: the Don heads the greatest Mafia family in New York City area. The Don's son, Michael (Al Pacino) has ambition to become the head of the crime family after his father passes, as does the possibly even more ambitious Sonny (James Cann). The film follows the downfall and possibly re-birth of the Corleone family, as the Don grows weak after being shot.

As can be expected, his son and Sonny attempt to get revenge on the shooters. The now bed-ridden Don is getting old, and the new "godfather", or if you prefer to use the term I have been using, "don", must be chosen. In twists of drug involvements, Vegas trips, and casinos; "The Godfather" tells its story with efficiency and masterful observation.

I understand that my analysis of the story may not be perfect. That's not entirely as I see it, although that's as much info as I'm willing to give. The story is not special because it unfolds within a three hour film; it is special because it is the story of "The Godfather". Adapted very well from the novel of the same name, the film attempts to show an emotional and soft side to the gangsters, as no film had done such a thing at the time. The film was legendary and critically acclaimed for many reasons, and the approach it took to mobsters and criminals within "families" was one of them.

Brando owns this movie. I have a feeling that without him, it just wouldn't have been "The Godfather". Marlon Brando is the kind of actor who can make a film good just by showing his presence. He's such a talented man, and this is one of his most memorable roles, among others. The supporting cast is as entertaining as it needs to be, much like the film. So everything works out fine.

Coppola establishes a pretty nice look for his movie. The cinematography is flawless and often times, the shots are memorable. We see some pretty wild and creative sights that even give us insight. Coppola has the directorial skills necessary to take something harrowing/bold, and make it into something perhaps more...interesting. "The Godfather" is a perfect example of American movie-making, a perfect example of what Francis Ford Coppola is capable of, and a perfect example of how to balance good dialogue, a good screen-play, a good director, and a good cast to make a film that shall impress anyone willing to accept it for what it is. I wouldn't suggest watching the film with expectations, for who knows: if you do that, you may end up like those poor, unlucky saps that just couldn't enjoy the film. They think it's a snooze-fest; I think it's an intellectually stimulating and intoxicating vision. It's a long crime epic, but for every moment of those three hours, I was hooked. And it takes a very good movie to do that. "The Godfather" is perhaps more than a very good movie. And it deserves every bit of that praise.

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More The Godfather reviews
Quick Tip by . September 01, 2009
The Godfather....who hasn't heard of this one?? Keeps pulling me back in...compelled to watch it, adore Al Pacino...great cast!
review by . November 07, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
One of the best films I have ever seen with a lot of memorable scenes and classic lines. On top of that probably the best directing ever and a perfect cast.Don Corleone, I honor you!Memorable dialogue to the last word (Michael is it true? No!).
review by . June 27, 2003
After I purchased Mario Puzo's novel, I stayed up most of that night reading it. Two years later, this film adaptation appeared and I have since seen it (as well as Godfather Part II) more than a dozen times. Francis Ford Coppola deserves all of the praise and awards these films have received over the years. He should also be admired for insisting that Pacino and Brando be cast in two of the major roles despite strong opposition from Paramount. Coppola assembled a superb cast but also an equally …
review by . August 24, 2001
Rarely does a film manage to express the power of a novel from which it was based -- but "The Godfather" does manage to do quite well. Realizing that the entire second section of the novel could not be fit into the movie (but was cleverly woven into "The Godfather, part 2") Puzo and Coppola produced a film which was remarkably consistent with the remainder of the book (although there are a few 'jumps' in the plot which make more sense to someone also familiar with the book). The cast for this picture …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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The Godfather
Theatrical poster Directed by Francis Ford Coppola Produced by Albert S. Ruddy Written by Novel:
Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola
Robert Towne (uncredited) Starring Marlon Brando
Al Pacino
James Caan
Robert Duvall
Richard S. Castellano
Abe Vigoda
Sterling Hayden
Diane Keaton
Talia Shire
John Cazale
John Marley
Richard Conte
Gianni Russo
Al Lettieri Music by Nino Rota
Carmine Coppola Cinematography Gordon Willis Editing by William H. Reynolds
Peter Zinner[1] Distributed by Paramount Pictures Release date(s) 15 March 1972 (US) Running time theatrical: 175:18. restoration: 176:59 Country United States Language English and Italian Budget $6,500,000[2] Gross revenue $133,698,921 (worldwide) Followed by The Godfather Part II

The Godfather is a 1972 American gangster film based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola, and Robert Towne (uncredited).[3] It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte and Diane Keaton, and features John Cazale, Talia Shire, Al Martino, and Abe Vigoda. The story spans ten years from 1945 to 1955 and chronicles the fictional Italian American Corleone crime family. Two sequels followed: The Godfather Part II in 1974, and The Godfather Part III in 1990.

The Godfather received Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and has ...

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Genre: Drama
Release Date: March 15, 1972
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Francis Ford Coppola
Runtime: 175 minutes
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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