The Godfather

The Godfather

Infobox Film
name = The Godfather

image_size = 215px
caption = theatrical poster
director = Francis Ford Coppola
producer = Albert S. Ruddy
writer = Novel:
Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola
Robert Towne
narrator =
starring = Marlon Brando
Al Pacino
James Caan
Robert Duvall
Diane Keaton
music = Nino Rota
Carmine Coppola
cinematography = Gordon Willis
editing = William H. Reynolds Peter Zinner
Marc LaubAllmovie [ Production credits] ]
Murray Solomon
distributor = Paramount Pictures
released = 15 March fy|1972 "(US)"
runtime = 175 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget = $6,000,000 "(est.)"
gross = $245,066,411 (worldwide)
followed_by = "The Godfather Part II"
imdb_id = 0068646

"The Godfather" is a 1972 crime drama film based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola, and an uncredited Robert Towne. [Kenneth Turan, [ Robert Towne's Hollywood Without Heroes] , "New York Times" (November 27, 1988)] It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton, and features Richard S. Castellano, Abe Vigoda and Sterling Hayden. The story spans ten years from 1945 to 1955 and chronicles the Italian-American Corleone crime family.

"The Godfather" received Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In addition, it is ranked as the second greatest film in American cinematic history, behind "Citizen Kane" on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list by the American Film Institute.American Film Institute [ "Citizen Kane Stands the test of Time"] ] It is also ranked as #1 on Metacritic's top 100 list and in the top 10 on Rotten Tomatoes' all-time best list. [cite web | title=Metacritic: Best Reviewed Movies | url= | accessmonthday=April 13 | accessyear=2007 ] [cite web | title= "Rotten Tomatoes: Top Movies: Best of Rotten Tomatoes | url= | accessmonthday = April 13 | accessyear= 2007 ]

Two sequels followed "The Godfather": "The Godfather Part II" in 1974, and "The Godfather Part III" in 1990.


* Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone – the boss (the "Don") of the Corleone family, Formerly known as Vito Andolini. He is the father of Sonny, Fredo, Michael and Connie and surrogate father to Tom Hagen. Husband of Carmella Corleone. A native Sicilian.
* Al Pacino as Michael Corleone – the Don's and Carmella's youngest son, recently returned from military service following the end of World War II. The only college-educated member of the family, he initially wants nothing to do with the Corleone family business. His evolution from doe-eyed outsider to ruthless boss is the key plot-line of the film.
* James Caan as Santino "Sonny" Corleone – Vito and Carmella's hot-headed eldest son; he is being groomed to succeed his father as head of the Corleone family. He is the family's underboss.
* Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen – an informally adopted son of Vito and Carmella Corleone, he is also the family lawyer and the new "consigliere" (counselor).
* Diane Keaton as Kay Adams – Michael's girlfriend and, ultimately, his wife and mother to his children.
* John Cazale as Fredo Corleone – the middle son of Vito and Carmella Corleone. Fredo is not very bright and appears to be the weakest of the Corleone brothers.
* Talia Shire as Constanzia "Connie" Corleone – Vito and Carmella's only daughter. She marries Carlo Rizzi.
* Richard S. Castellano as Peter "Pete" Clemenza – a "caporegime" for the Corleone family.
* Abe Vigoda as Salvatore "Sal" Tessio – a "caporegime" for the Corleone Family.
* Al Lettieri as Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo – a heroin dealer associated with the Tattaglia family.
* Gianni Russo as Carlo Rizzi – Connie's husband. Becomes an associate of the Corleone family, and ultimately betrays Sonny to the Barzini family.
* Sterling Hayden as Captain McCluskey – a corrupt police captain on Sollozzo's payroll.
* Lenny Montana as Luca Brasi – an enforcer utilized by Vito Corleone.
* Richard Conte as Emilio Barzini– Don of the Barzini family.
* Al Martino as Johnny Fontane – a world-famous popular singer and godson of Vito.
* John Marley as Jack Woltz – a powerful Hollywood producer.
* Alex Rocco as Moe Greene – longtime associate of the Corleone family who owns a Las Vegas hotel.
* Morgana King as Carmella Corleone – Vito's wife and mother of Sonny, Fredo, Michael and Connie, and surrogate mother to Tom Hagen.
* John Martino as Paulie Gatto – A "button man" (soldier/hit man) under Capo Pete Clemenza and Vito's driver.
* Victor Rendina as Philip Tattaglia– Don of the Tattaglia family.
* Simonetta Stefanelli as Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone – A stunningly beautiful young girl Michael meets and marries while in Sicily.
* Louis Guss as Don Zaluchi – Don of the Zaluchi family of Detroit.
* Tom Rosqui as Rocco Lampone – a soldier under Clemenza who eventually becomes a "caporegime" in the Corleone family.
* Joe Spinell as Willi Cicci – a soldier in the Corleone family.
* Richard Bright as Al Neri – Michael Corleone's bodyguard. He eventually becomes a "caporegime".
* Julie Gregg as Sandra Corleone – wife of Sonny.


At the wedding reception of Don Vito Corleone's daughter Connie and Carlo Rizzi in the late summer of 1945, Vito, the head of the Corleone Mafia family – who is known to his friends and associates as "Godfather" – and Tom Hagen, the Corleone family lawyer and "consigliere" (counselor), are hearing requests for favors from friends and associates, because "no Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter's wedding day". Meanwhile, the Don's youngest son Michael, a decorated Marine war hero returning from World War II service, tells his girlfriend Kay Adams anecdotes about his father's criminal life, reassuring her that he is not like his family.

Among the guests at the celebration is the famous singer Johnny Fontane, Corleone's godson, who has come from Hollywood to petition for help in landing a movie role that will revitalize his flagging career. Jack Woltz, the head of the studio, will not give Fontane the part, but Don Corleone explains to Johnny: "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." Hagen is dispatched to California to fix the problem, but Woltz angrily tells him that he will never cast Fontane in the role, for which he is perfect, because Fontane seduced and "ruined" a starlet that Woltz favored. The next morning, Woltz wakes up to find the bloody severed head of his prize $600,000 stud horse in the bed with him. Woltz gives in.

Upon Hagen's return, the family meets with Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo, who is being backed by the rival Tattaglia family. He asks Don Corleone for financing, political and legal protection for the importation and distribution of heroin, but despite the huge amount of money to be made, Corleone refuses, explaining that his political influence would be jeopardized by a move into the narcotics trade. The Don's oldest son, hotheaded Sonny, who had earlier expressed to the Don his support of the family entering into the narcotics trade, breaks rank during the meeting and questions Sollozzo's assurances as to the Corleone Family's investment being guaranteed by the Tattaglia Family. His father, angry at Sonny's dissension in front of a non-family member, privately rebukes him later. Don Corleone then dispatches his top button man (hit man), Luca Brasi, to infiltrate Sollozzo's organization and report back with information.

Soon after his refusal to support Sollozzo, Don Corleone is shot several times in an assassination attempt, and it is not immediately known whether he has survived. Meanwhile, Sollozzo and the Tattaglias kill Luca Brasi. Sollozzo then abducts Tom Hagen and persuades him to offer Sonny the deal previously offered to his father. Enraged, Sonny refuses to consider the deal, and issues an ultimatum to the Tattaglias – turn over Sollozzo or face war. They refuse, and Sonny responds by having Bruno Tattaglia, son of Don Phillip Tattaglia, killed.

Michael, who is considered a "civilian" by the other Mafia families, not involved in mob business, visits his father in the hospital, but is shocked to find there is no one guarding him. Realizing that his father is again being set up to be killed, he calls Sonny with a report, moves his father to another room, and goes outside to watch the door. With the help of Enzo the baker, who feels indebted to the Don and has come by the hospital to pay his respects, he bluffs away Sollozzo's men. Police cars soon appear with the corrupt Captain McCluskey, who breaks Michael's jaw when he insinuates that McCluskey is being paid by Sollozzo to set up his father. Just then, Hagen arrives with "private detectives" licensed to carry guns to protect Don Corleone, and takes Michael home.

Following the attempt on the Don's life at the hospital, Sollozzo requests a meeting with the Corleones, which Captain McCluskey will attend as Sollozzo's bodyguard, and Michael volunteers to kill both men during the meeting. This initially amuses Sonny and the other senior members of the family; however, Michael convinces them that he is serious, and that killing Sollozzo and McCluskey is in the family's interest: "It's not personal. It's strictly business." Although cops are usually off limits for hits, Michael argues that since McCluskey is corrupt and has illegal dealings with Sollozzo, he is fair game.

At the meeting, after being searched by McCluskey, Michael excuses himself to go to the restroom, where he retrieves a planted revolver and assassinates Sollozzo and McCluskey. For his safety Michael is sent to Sicily, while the Corleone family prepares for all-out warfare with the rest of the Five Families, united against the Corleones, as well as a general clampdown on the mob by the police and government authorities. In Sicily, Michael lives under the protection of Don Tommasino, an old friend of the family. While there, he falls in love with and marries a local girl, Apollonia Vitelli, who is later killed by a car bomb intended to assassinate Michael.

Back in New York City, Don Corleone returns home from the hospital and is distraught to learn that it was Michael who killed Sollozzo and McCluskey. Some months later, in 1948, Sonny severely beats Carlo Rizzi for brutalizing the pregnant Connie, and threatens to kill him the next time he abuses her. An angry Carlo responds by plotting with Tattaglia and Don Emilio Barzini, the Corleones' chief rivals, to have Sonny killed. Carlo beats Connie again in order to lure Sonny out. Furious, Sonny drives off alone to fulfill his threat. On the way, he is ambushed at a toll booth and machine-gunned to death in his car.

Instead of seeking revenge for Sonny's killing, Don Corleone meets with the heads of the Five Families to arrange an end to the war. Not only is it draining all of their assets and threatening their survival, but ending the conflict is the only way that Michael can return home safely. Reversing his previous decision, Vito agrees that the Corleone family will provide political protection for Tattaglia's traffic in heroin. At the meeting, Don Corleone deduces that Don Barzini, not Tattaglia, was ultimately behind the mob war and Sonny's death.

With his safety guaranteed, Michael returns from Sicily. More than a year later, he reunites with his former girlfriend, Kay, telling her that he wants to marry her. With the Don semi-retired, Sonny dead and middle brother Fredo considered incapable of running the family business, Michael is now in charge, and promises Kay to make the family completely legitimate within five years.

Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio, two Corleone Family "caporegimes" (captains) complain that they are being pushed around by the Barzini Family and ask permission to strike back, but Michael denies the request. He plans to move the family operations to Nevada and after that, Clemenza and Tessio may break away to go on their own. Michael further promises that Connie's husband, Carlo, is going to be his right hand man in Nevada. Tom Hagen has been removed as "consigliere" and is now merely the family's lawyer, with Vito serving as "consigliere". Privately, Hagen complains about his change in status, and also questions Michael about a new "regime" of "soldiers" secretly being built under Rocco Lampone. Don Vito explains to Hagen that Michael is acting on his advice.

In Las Vegas Michael is greeted by Fredo and Johnny Fontane in the hotel-casino partly financed by the Corleones, and run by Moe Greene. Michael explains to Johnny that the Family needs his help in persuading his friends in show business to sign long-term contracts to appear at the casino. In a meeting with Moe Greene, Michael offers to buy out Greene but is rudely rebuffed. Greene believes the Corleones are weak and that he can secure a better deal from Barzini. As Moe and Michael argue, Fredo takes sides with Moe. Afterward, Michael firmly tells Fredo to never again take sides with anyone against the family.

Michael returns home. In a private moment, Vito explains his expectation that the Family's enemies will attempt to kill Michael by using a trusted associate to arrange a meeting as a pretext for assassination. Vito also reveals that he never intended a life of crime for Michael, hoping that his youngest son would hold legitimate power as a senator or governor. Shortly afterwards, Vito dies of a heart attack while playing with his young grandson Anthony in his tomato garden. At the burial, Tessio conveys a proposal for a meeting with Barzini, which identifies him as the traitor that Vito was expecting.

Michael arranges for a series of murders to occur while he is standing as godfather for Connie and Carlo's son:
*Don Stracci and his bodyguards are shot by Clemenza with a shotgun as they exit an elevator;
*Moe Greene, while having a massage in one of his hotels, is shot in the eye by an unknown assassin;
*Don Cuneo, while leaving a hotel, is trapped in a revolving door by Willi Cicci and shot;
*Don Tattaglia and a woman he is with are gunned down while in bed by Rocco Lampone and another unknown assassin;
*Finally, Don Barzini is shot on the steps of a courthouse by Al Neri, who is disguised by wearing his old policeman's uniform.

After the baptism, Tessio believes he and Hagen are on their way to the meeting between Michael and Barzini that he has arranged. Instead, he is surrounded by Willi Cicci and other button men. Realizing that Michael has found out about his betrayal, Tessio tells Hagen that his betrayal "was only business". Meanwhile, Michael confronts Carlo about Sonny's murder and gets him to admit his role in setting up the ambush. Michael informs Carlo that his punishment is to be excluded from the family business and hands him a plane ticket to exile in Las Vegas. Carlo gets into a car to go to the airport, where he is garroted by Clemenza.

Later, Connie confronts Michael, accusing him of Carlo's murder. Kay questions Michael about Connie's accusation, but he refuses to answer. She insists, and Michael lies, assuring his wife that he had no role in Carlo's death. Kay is relieved by his denial, believing it to be true. The film ends with Clemenza and new "caporegimes" Rocco Lampone and Al Neri paying their respects to Michael. Clemenza kisses Michael's hand and greets him as "Don Corleone." Kay watches as the door closes.

Differences from the novel

One of the primary parts of Puzo's novel which was not used for the movie was the flashback story of Don Corleone's earlier life, including the circumstances of his emigration to America, his early family life, his murder of Don Fanucci, and his rise in importance in the mafia, all of which were later used in "The Godfather Part II".

Many subplots were trimmed in the transition from the printed page to the screen, including: singer Johnny Fontane's misfortunes with women and his problems with his voice; Sonny's impulsive dabbling in street crime as a teenager and his utter lack of the tact and coolheadedness possessed in such abundance by his father; Sonny's paramour Lucy Mancini's new-found love in Dr. Jules Segal (a character entirely missing from the film), who not only repairs Lucy's vaginal malformation but puts Michael in touch with the surgeon who repairs Michael's facial bones (which had been damaged by Capt. McCluskey) and also operated on Johnny Fontane's vocal cords, thus restoring his singing voice; Jack Woltz's increasing pedophilia; Kay Adams' home life; Luca Brasi's demonic past; the Corleone family's victorious rise to power in earlier New York gang wars in which Don Corleone survives a previous assassination attempt and Al Capone sends triggermen from Chicago in an unsuccessful attempt to aid a rival gang; Don Corleone's ingenious plan used to take Michael out of exile in Sicily; the detailed savage attack on the two men who assaulted Bonasera's daughter, which was led by Paulie Gatto and involved retainer thugs (which was only alluded to in the film).

According to the book, the reason Michael gives Sonny for his new-found aggression is "They made it personal when they shot Pop. It is not business, it's personal"; but in the movie, he states his father's motto, "It's business, not personal".

Additionally, the novel makes it clear that Lucy was not pregnant by Sonny when she moved to Las Vegas, thus leaving no room for Vincent Mancini of "The Godfather Part III". Puzo wrote the screenplays of all three movies, so the contradiction was well known to him.

Characters with smaller roles in the film than in the novel include Johnny Fontane, Lucy Mancini, Rocco Lampone, and Al Neri (the latter two are reduced to non-speaking roles). Characters dropped in the film adaptation beside Dr. Segal include Genco Abbandando (only spoken of, he appears in a deleted scene featured in "The Godfather Saga"; he first appears on film in "The Godfather II") and Dr. Taza from Sicily. Also, in the book, Michael and Kay have two sons, but in the movies they have a son and a daughter.

The novel and film also differ on the fates of Michael's bodyguards in Sicily, Fabrizio and Calo. The film has them both surviving (Calo, in fact, appears in the third installment). In the book, however, Calo dies along with Apollonia in the car explosion, and Fabrizio is shot and killed as one more victim in the famous "baptism scene" after he is tracked down running a pizza parlor in America. Fabrizio's murder was deleted from the film but publicity photos of the scene exist. [] (He is later killed in a completely different scene in "The Godfather Saga" which was deleted from "The Godfather Part II").

The ending of the book differs from the end of the movie: whereas in the film Kay suddenly realizes that Michael has become "like his family", the drama is toned down in the book, where Tom Hagen lets her in on secrets for which, according to him, he would be killed should Michael find out. During the film's baptism scene, all the heads of the Five Families were killed. In the novel, only Barzini and Tattaglia, previously at war with the Corleones, are killed.


Coppola and Paramount

Francis Ford Coppola was not the first choice to direct. At least two other directors were approached first. Italian director Sergio Leone was offered the job, but he declined because he didn't find the story interesting as it glorified the Mafia. (He went on to direct his own gangster opus, "Once Upon a Time in America", which focused on Jewish-American gangsters.) According to Robert Evans, head of Paramount Pictures at the time, Coppola also did not initially want to direct the film because he feared it would glorify the Mafia and violence, and thus reflect poorly on his Sicilian and Italian heritage; on the other hand, Evans specifically wanted an Italian-American to direct the film because his research had shown that previous films about the Mafia that were directed by non-Italians had fared dismally at the box office, and he wanted to, in his own words, "smell the spaghetti". When Coppola hit upon the idea of making it a metaphor for American capitalism, however, he eagerly agreed to take the helm. ["The Kid Stays in the Picture" (2002), documentary film about Evans' life] At the time, Coppola had directed eight previous films, the most notable of which was the film version of the stage musical "Finian's Rainbow" — although he had also received an Academy Award for co-writing "Patton" in 1970.cite book|title=New American Cinema|publisher=Duke University Press|year=1998|editor=Jon E Lewis|pages=14-17] Coppola was in debt to Warner Bros. for $400,000 following budget over-runs on George Lucas' "THX 1138", which Coppola had produced, and he took "The Godfather" on Lucas' advice. [cite book | last = Hearn | first = Marcus | title = The Cinema of George Lucas | publisher = Harry N. Abrams Inc. | year = 2005 | location = New York City | pages = 46 | isbn = 0-8109-4968-7]

There was intense friction between Coppola and the studio, Paramount Pictures, and several times Coppola was almost replaced. Paramount maintains that its skepticism was due to a rocky start to production, though Coppola believes that the first week went extremely well. Paramount thought that Coppola failed to stay on schedule, frequently made production and casting errors, and insisted on unnecessary expenses. Coppola says, in the DVD commentary, that he was shadowed by a replacement director, who was ready to take over if Coppola was fired, but despite such intense pressure, Coppola managed to defend his decisions and avoid being replaced.

Paramount was in financial troubles at the time of production and so was desperate for a "Big Hit" to boost business, hence the pressure Coppola faced during filming. They wanted "The Godfather" to appeal to a wide audience and threatened Coppola with a "Violence coach" to make the film more exciting. Coppola added a few more violent scenes to keep the studio happy. Fact|date=September 2008


Coppola's casting choices were unpopular with studio executives at Paramount Pictures, particularly Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone. Paramount, which wanted Laurence Olivier (who could not take the part due to health problems), originally refused to allow Coppola to cast Brando in the role, citing difficulties Brando had on recent film sets. One studio executive proposed Danny Thomas for the role citing the fact that Don Corleone was a strong "family man." At one point, Coppola was told by the then-president of Paramount that "Marlon Brando will never appear in this motion picture". After pleading with the executives, Coppola was allowed to cast Brando only if he appeared in the film for much less salary than his previous films, perform a screen-test, and put up a bond saying that he would not cause a delay in the production (as he had done on previous film sets). "The Godfather" DVD Collection documentary "A Look Inside," [2001] ] Coppola chose Brando over Ernest Borgnine on the basis of Brando's screen test, which also won over the Paramount leadership. Brando later won an Academy Award for his portrayal, which he refused to accept.

The studio originally wanted Robert Redford or Ryan O'Neal to play Michael Corleone, but Coppola wanted an unknown who looked like an Italian-American, who he found in Al Pacino. "The Godfather" DVD commentary featuring Francis Ford Coppola, [2001] ] Pacino was not well known at the time, having appeared in only two minor films, and the studio did not consider him right for the part, "The Godfather" DVD Collection documentary "A Look Inside", [2001] ] in part because of his height. Pacino was given the role only after Coppola threatened to quit the production. Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Martin Sheen, "The Godfather" DVD Collection documentary "A Look Inside", [2001] ] and James Caan also auditioned. "The Godfather" DVD Collection documentary "A Look Inside", [2001] ]

Among those who auditioned for other parts were Bruce Dern, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, who were considered for the role of Tom Hagen that eventually went to Robert Duvall. Sylvester Stallone auditioned for Carlo Rizzi and Paulie Gatto, Anthony Perkins for Sonny, and Mia Farrow auditioned for Kay. William Devane was seen for the role of Moe Greene. Mario Adorf was approached for a role as well. A then-unknown Robert De Niro auditioned for the roles of Michael, Sonny, Carlo and Paulie Gatto. He was cast as Paulie, but Coppola arranged a "trade" with "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" to get Al Pacino from that film. De Niro later played the young Vito Corleone in "Part II", winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role.

To some extent, "The Godfather" was a family affair for Francis Ford Coppola. Carmine Coppola, his father, who had a distinguished career as a composer, conductor and arranger, wrote additional music for the film and appeared in a bit part as a piano player, and Carmine's wife Italia Coppola was an extra. The director's sister Talia Shire was cast as Connie, and his infant daughter, Sofia, played Connie and Carlo's newborn son, Michael Francis Rizzi, in the climactic baptism scene near the movie's end. [Sofia Coppola played roles in the later Godfather movies. In "Part II," she plays a nameless immigrant girl on the ship that brings Vito Corleone to New York. In "Part III," she played the major speaking role of Michael Corleone's daughter Mary.>] Coppola also cast his sons as Frank and Andrew Hagen, the two sons of Tom Hagen. They are seen in the Sonny-Carlo streetfight scene and behind Al Pacino and Robert Duvall during the funeral scene.

tar salaries

Al Pacino, James Caan and Diane Keaton each received $35,000 for their work on "The Godfather," and Robert Duvall got $36,000 for eight weeks of work. Marlon Brando, on the other hand, was paid $50,000 for six weeks and weekly expenses of $1,000, plus 5% of the film, capped at $1.5 million. Brando later sold his points back to Paramount for $300,000. [ [ The Godfathers' Stats ] ]


Most of the principal photography took place from 29 March fy|1971 to 6 August 1971, although a scene with Pacino and Keaton was shot in the autumn — there were a total of 77 days of shooting, fewer than the 83 for which the production had budgeted.

Locations [ [ THE GODFATHER: Scene Locations ] ] around New York City and its environs were used for the film, including the then-closed flagship store of Best & Company on Fifth Avenue, which was dressed up and used for the scene where Pacino and Keaton are Christmas shopping. At least one location in Los Angeles was used also (for the exterior of Woltz' mansion), for which neither Robert Duvall nor John Marley were available; in some shots, it is possible to see that extras are standing in for the two actors. A scene with Pacino and Keaton was filmed in the town of Ross, California. The Sicilian towns of Savoca and Forza d'Agrò outside of Taormina were also used for exterior locations. Interiors were shot at Filmways Studio in New York.

One of the movie's most shocking moments involved the real severed head of a horse. Animal rights groups protested the inclusion of the scene. Coppola later stated that the horse's head was delivered to him from a dog food company; a horse had not been killed specifically for the movie. This scene was shot in Port Washington, New York. "The Godfather" DVD commentary featuring Francis Ford Coppola, [2001] ] "The Godfather" DVD Collection documentary "A Look Inside", [2001] ]

In the novel, Jack Woltz, the movie producer who has his horse's head put in his bed, is also shown to be a pedophile as Tom Hagen sees a young girl (presumably one of Woltz's child stars) crying while walking out of Woltz's room. This scene was cut from the theatrical release but can be found on the DVD (though Woltz can still briefly be seen kissing the girl on the cheek in his studio in the film).

The shooting of Moe Green through the eye was inspired by the death of gangster Bugsy Siegel. To achieve the effect, actor Alex Rocco's glasses had two tubes hidden in their frames. One had blood in it, and the other had a BB gun and compressed air. When the gun was shot, the compressed air shot the BB through the glasses, shattering them from the inside. The other tube then released the blood.Fact|date=August 2008

The equally startling scene of McClusky's shooting was accomplished by building up a fake forehead on top of actor Sterling Hayden. A gap was cut in the center, filled with fake blood, and capped off with a plug of prosthetic flesh. During filming, the plug was quickly yanked out with monofilament fishing line, making a bloody hole suddenly appear in Hayden's head.

The opening scene of "The Godfather" is a long, slow zoom, starting with a close-up of the undertaker, Bonasera, who is petitioning Don Corleone, and ending with the godfather, seen from behind, framing the scene. This zoom, which lasts for about three minutes, was shot with a computer-controlled zoom lens designed by Tony Karp. [ [ "Doing the impossible - Part 1 - The Godfather" - - Art and the Zen of Design ] ] The lens was also used in the making of "Silent Running".


A side entrance to Bellevue Hospital was used for Michael's confrontation with police Captain McCluskey. [ [ Photo of Bellevue side entrance] ] As of 2007, the steps and gate to the hospital were still there but victim to neglect.

The hospital interiors, when Michael visits his father there, were filmed at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary on 14th Street, in Manhattan, New York City.

The scene in which Don Barzini was assassinated was filmed on the steps of the New York State Supreme Court building on Foley Square in Manhattan, New York City. [ [ NY State Supreme Court steps] ]

Two churches were used to film the baptism scene. The interior shots were filmed at Old St. Patrick's in New York. For the baptism, Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 was used, as were other Bach works for the pipe organ. The exterior scenes following the baptism were filmed at Mount Loretto Church in Pleasant Plains on Staten Island, New York. In 1973 much of Mount Loretto Church was destroyed in a fire. Only the facade and steeple of the original church remained, and were later incorporated into a new structure that was built to replace the structure destroyed in the fire.

core controversy

Nino Rota's score was removed at the last minute from the list of Academy Award nominees when it was discovered that he had used the theme in Eduardo De Filippo's 1958 comedy, "Fortunella" (co-written by Fellini); although the theme was played in a brisk, staccato, comedic style in "Fortunella", the melody was the same as "The Godfather's" love theme, and because of that it was deemed ineligible for an Oscar in 1972.

Nevertheless, "The Godfather Part II" won a 1974 Oscar for best original score, although it featured the same love theme that made the 1972 score ineligible.


filename=Love Theme From The Godfather.ogg
title=Love Theme From The Godfather
description=The famous theme, composed by Larry Kusic and Nino Rota.
The film is greatly respected among international critics and the public and is routinely listed as one of the greatest films ever made, with a "100%" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It also holds a 100% rating on metacritc, based on 14 reviews. It was voted greatest film of all time by "Entertainment Weekly",ref|ent-weekly and is now ranked as the second greatest film in American cinematic history – behind "Citizen Kane".In the 2002 "Sight & Sound" poll of international critics, "The Godfather" was ranked as the fourth best film of all time. Both "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" have been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. This is not the case for the third installment in the "Godfather" trilogy.

The soundtrack's main theme by Nino Rota was also critically acclaimed; the main theme ("Speak Softly Love") is well-known and widely used. "(See Score Controversy)"

"The Godfather" was an enormous box office hit, smashing previous records to become the highest grossing film of all time. It made US$5,264,402 in its opening weekend and went on to gross $81,500,000 in its initial run;cite web|url= |title=The Godfather (1972) - Box office /business |accessdate=2008-09-16 |work=IMDB ] nearly fourteen times its budget and marketing campaign. Re-releases boosted its North American total to $134 million.

"The Godfather" won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando refused to accept the award and sent actress Sacheen Littlefeather in his stead to the Oscars to explain why) and Best Writing (adapted screenplay) (Francis Coppola, Mario Puzo). The film was nominated for eight additional Academy Awards. Furthermore, it won five Golden Globes, one Grammy, and numerous other awards. Nino Rota's music score for the film was initially nominated for an Oscar, but was subsequently withdrawn when it was discovered that Rota recycled some of the music he had written for an obscure 1958 Italian film "Fortunella".

Stanley Kubrick believed that "The Godfather" was possibly the greatest movie ever made, and without question the best cast. [ [ Michael Herr for Vanity Fair] "He watched The Godfather again the night before and was reluctantly suggesting for the tenth time that it was possibly the greatest movie ever made and certainly the best-cast."]

Cinematic influence

Although many films about gangsters had been made prior to "The Godfather", Coppola's sympathetic treatment of the Corleone family and their associates, and his portrayal of mobsters as characters of considerable psychological depth and complexity [ cite web |url= |title= CBS |archiveurl= |archivedate=2007-12-20] was hardly usual in the genre. This was even more the case with "The Godfather Part II", and the success of those two films, critically, artistically and financially, opened the doors for more and varied depictions of mobster life, including films such as Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas" and TV series such as David Chase's "The Sopranos".

The image of the Mafia as being a feudal organization with the Don being both the protector of the small fry and the collector of obligations from them to repay his services, which "The Godfather" helped to popularize, is now an easily recognizable cultural trope, as is that of the Don's family as a "royal family". (This has spread into the real world as wellndash cf. John Gotti ndash the "Dapper Don", and his celebritized family.) This portrayal stands in contrast to the more sordid reality of lower level Mafia "familial" entanglements, as depicted in various post-"Godfather" Mafia fare, such as Scorsese's "Mean Streets" and "Casino", and also to the grittier hard-boiled pre-"Godfather" films.

In the fy|1999 film "Analyze This", which starred Robert De Niro, who played Vito Corleone in "The Godfather Part II", many references are made both directly and indirectly to the "Godfather". One scene is almost a shot by shot replica of the attempted assassination of Vito Corleone. In the comedy "The Freshman" (fy|1990), Marlon Brando plays a role reminiscent of Don Corleone. And one of those most unlikely homages to this film came in 2004, when the PG-rated, animated family film "Shark Tale" was released with a storyline that nodded at this and other movies about the Mafia.

Influence on popular culture

"The Godfather" along with the other films in the trilogy, had a strong impact on the public at large. Don Vito's line "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse" was voted as the second most memorable line in cinema history in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes by the American Film Institute. [ [ "Frankly my dear..." named number one movie quote] , ABC News (Australia) Online (June 23, 2005)]

Reports from Mafia trials and confessions suggest that Mafia families began a "real life" tradition of paying respect to the family don by kissing his ring, in imitation of the ending scene of the movie. There is no evidence of this custom being mentioned prior to the movie.

The scene where a delivery is made of a pair of pants and bullet proof vest wrapped around a fish is explained to be an old Sicilian message, "Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes!" This expression has made it into widespread American parlance.

An indication of the continuing influence of "The Godfather" and its sequels can be gleaned from the many references to it which have appeared in every medium of popular culture in the decades since the film's initial release. That these "homages", quotations, visual references, satires and parodies continue to pop up even now shows clearly the film's enduring impact. In the television show "The Sopranos", Tony Soprano's topless bar is named Bada Bing after the line in "The Godfather" when Sonny says, "You've gotta get up close like this and bada-bing! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit."

In addition, the fy|1997 Welsh film "Twin Town" (dir. Kevin Allen) set in Swansea features a scene in which a severed dog's head is discovered in its owner's bed, just as Jack Woltz finds the head of his prize stud in his bed. Another homage to the famous decapitated horse scene was a 2008 Audi commercial for their new R8 model, first aired during Super Bowl XLII, in which the grill of a rival luxury car is discovered in the oil-soaked bed. In the television show "Arrested Development", the scene is parodied when Michael Bluth discovers the handlebars of his bike in his bed. "Yes Dear" episode "On Your Mark Get Set Mow" ends with a mower steering wheel being found in Greg's bed, as a warning from other mowers. In "The Simpsons" episode "Lisa's Pony," Homer buys Lisa a pony and leaves it in her bed as a surprise. In the morning Lisa notices something in her bed, removes the blanket to reveal the horse (only his head is showing) which prompts Lisa to scream in shock. In commercial advertisements for Pepsi throughout the 1990s which also featured Marlon Brando, a young girl played by Hallie Kate Eisenberg speaks in a man's voice after drinking Coca-Cola instead of Pepsi.

The scene is also imitated in "The King of Queens" when Arthur wakes up and finds his bed soaked in Clam Soup. At the very end of the episode "Fun It" of "That '70s Show", Jackie wakes up in her bed, which is covered in ketchup, next to the severed head of Fatso the Clown. Even in children's shows, such as "The Rugrats", the twins Phil and Lil Deville wake up and find the head of a stuffed horse in their crib.

Current rankings

*"The Godfather" is ranked #2 on the IMDB's "Top 250" list. ["The Godfather" was ranked at #1 until the fy|2008 release of "The Dark Knight", however there are questions as to whether or not "The Dark Knight" is fairly atop the rankings, as a campaign was launched by its fans to game the rankings, one of the methods being deliberately rating its closest rivals for the IMDB top spot with low scores. Hoffman, Harrison: [|"When the 'wisdom of crowds' turns on itself: IMDB edition"] "Webware"] .
*In 2002, "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" reached #2 in Channel 4's "100 Greatest Films" poll.
*"Entertainment Weekly" named "The Godfather" the greatest film ever made.
*"The Godfather" was voted in at #1 in "Empire Magazine"'s "500 Greatest Films Ever" poll in 2008

American Film Institute

*1998 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies #3
*2001 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills #11
*2005 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
** "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse," #2
*2005 AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores #5
*2007 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) #2
*2008 AFI's 10 Top 10 #1 Gangster film


Chronological versions

In fy|1975, Coppola edited "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" together for TV, putting the scenes in chronological order and adding some previously unseen footage, but also toning down the violence, sex, and profanity. It is rated TV-14. This version of the story was called "The Godfather Saga". In 1981, Paramount released the "Godfather Epic" box set which combined parts I & II in chronological order, again with additional scenes not shown in theaters. In 1992, Coppola would again re-edit all three Godfather movies (The Godfather, The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III) in chronological order dubbed "The Godfather Trilogy 1901-1980". It was released on VHS and laserdisc in 1993 but has yet (as of 2008) to appear on DVD. The total run time for this version is 583 minutes (9 hours, 43 minutes). This version spanned 5 VHS tapes and incorporated new previously deleted scenes that had not been seen in "The Godfather Saga". This set also included a 6th VHS tape: "The Godfather Family: A Look Inside" a Making-of documentary.

None of these releases contain all the additional scenes in one package. The "Saga" contains scenes not in the "Epic" or "Trilogy", the "Epic" contains scenes not in the "Saga" or "Trilogy", and the "Trilogy" contains scenes not in the "Saga" or the "Epic". Fans have longed for a complete release of the entire series, though Francis Ford Coppola has stated that the films were meant to be seen in their original form and has not agreed (as of 2008) to a chronological release.

2001 DVD release

"The Godfather" was released on DVD for the first time on 9 October fy|2001 as part of a DVD package called "The Godfather DVD Collection". [ [ DVD review: 'The Godfather Collection'] on DVD Spin Doctor] The collection contained all three films with commentary from Francis Ford Coppola and a bonus disc that featured a 73 minute documentary from 1991 titled "The Godfather Family: A Look Inside", plus a 1971 documentary. The package also contained deleted footage, including the additional scenes originally contained in "The Godfather Saga"; "Francis Coppola's Notebook" a look inside a notebook the director kept with him at all times during the production of the film; rehearsal footage; and video segments on Gordon Willis' cinematography, Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola's music, Francis Ford Coppola, locations and Mario Puzo's screenplays. The DVD also held a Corleone family tree, a "Godfather" timeline, and footage of the Academy Award acceptance speeches."The Godfather" DVD Collection [2001] ]

The restoration was confirmed by Francis Ford Coppola during a question and answer session for "The Godfather Part III", when he said that he had just seen the new transfer and it was "terrific".

The Coppola Restoration

After a careful restoration of the aging first two movies, "The Godfather" movies were released on Blu-ray and DVD on 23 September fy|2008 under the title "The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration". The work was done by Robert A. Harris of the Film Preserve. The Blu-ray box set (four discs) includes high definition extra features on the restoration and film. They are included on disc 5 of the DVD box set (five discs).

Other extras are ported over from Paramount's 2001 DVD release. There are slight differences between the repurposed extras on the DVD and Blu-ray sets, with the HD box having more content. [ [ 'Godfather: Coppola Restoration' on Sept. 23] on DVD Spin Doctor]

Paramount lists the new (HD) extra features as:

  • Godfather World
  • The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t
  • …when the shooting stopped
  • Emulsional Rescue Revealing The Godfather
  • The Godfather on the Red Carpet
  • Four Short Films on The Godfather
  • The Godfather vs. The Godfather, Part II
  • Cannoli
  • Riffing on the Riffing
  • Clemenza

The new DVD boxset was released on 2 June fy|2008 in Europe. [ [ The Godfather Trilogy: Remastered Collection] on UK] It has been rerated as a "15" by the BBFC. [ [ The Godfather Trilogy: Remastered Collection - Limited Edition Steelbook] on UK] It is unclear whether a chronological box-set will be released.

Video game

In March 2006, a video game version of "The Godfather" was released by Electronic Arts. Prior to his death, Marlon Brando provided voice work for Vito, however, due to poor sound quality from Brando's failing health, a sound-alike's voice had to be used instead. James Caan, Robert Duvall and Abe Vigoda lent their voices and likenesses as well, and several other "Godfather" cast members had their likeness in the game. However, Al Pacino's likeness and voice (Michael Corleone) was not in the game as Al Pacino sold his likeness and voice exclusively for use in the video game. Francis Ford Coppola said in April 2005 that he was not informed and did not approve of Paramount allowing the game's production, and openly criticized the move. [cite web | title = "Coppola Angry over" Godfather" Video Game", April 8, 2005 | url= | accessmonthday = August 22 | accessyear= 2005 ]



Further reading

* Burr, T, "The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time", New York: Time-Life Books ISBN 1-883013-68-2. Lists "The Godfather" as "the greatest film of all time."
* Cowie, Peter, "The Godfather Book", London: Faber and Faber, 1997
* Nourmand, Tony, "The Godfather in Pictures", London: Boxtree, 2007 ISBN 978-07522-2637-8

External links

* [ The Godfather - Official site from Paramount Pictures]
* [ The Godfather family tree and crime structure]
* "The Guardian", April 22, 2006, [ "Mob mentality"]

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