The Godfather

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvalll and Diane Keaton 

My hope is to talk about an award-winning film every day until we reach February 24, when this year’s ceremony will be held. Yesterday, I talked about the movie “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” and today I want to talk about one of the most important films ever made. Winning Oscar’s for Best Picture, Best Actor for Marlon Brando and best adapted screenplay in the 1976 ceremony. Let’s talk about Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. 

The movie’s beginning is iconic and right from the start we know we are about to see something special. We are introduced to this world with someone asking “the Godfather” for a special request and with that we see the power of Vito Corleone. The main story is centered around the Corleone family, a gangster organization led by Don Corleone. The times are changing and the gangsters want Corleone’s political connections in order to get protection to start selling drugs, and when he refuses he is shot down on the streets. The plot of the movie takes off from there as we see how his sons react and take over the family business while the Don heals and takes us deep into the mafia world. What I really love about this movie, and I think this was Mario Puzo’s intention in the novel, is you get to love this family and even hope they win, even when you know that basically they are criminals. This is achieved because the murders and the gangster dealings are treated as a secondary story to the father and son relationship and the importance of family. 

This film marks the beginning of so many important actors, and of course of Francis Ford Coppola as a director. I really found fascinating as I saw documentaries of that time, how 5 of the best directors were all friends and even helped each other on the process of making great films. Known as “New Hollywood” back then, Coppola was friends with other future great directors Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese and De Palma (Doty, 2016). That little group of friends would give us some of the best films of the time and even today. 

The films biggest highlight for me is Marlon Brando, he is brilliant in the role of Vito Corleone. He even came up with the look and the sound of the character and it was perfect. One of the greatest scenes for me it when he takes his older son to the funeral and says “look how they messed with my boy”. The pain in his eyes as he tries to stop from crying, it is just perfect acting by Brando. Brando gave us one of cinema’s most iconic character. 

This movie also started the career of Al Pacino. Michael Corleone is a complex character. At first, he did not want to be part of the “family business” and by the end becomes the leader of the organization and the new “Godfather”. In the end, he did it for his family and that in his mind made it right to do all he did. Al Pacino proves right from the start just how great an actor he is. The story goes that the studios wanted another actor, but Coppola wanted Al. Al Pacino has go on saying that it was the scene in the restaurant that convinced the studio that he was right for the role.

What a cast this film had. Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, James Caan, and Talia Shire. And they all were so good on this film. Each one of these actors went on to great movie careers and even Oscar wins. Pacino, Keaton and Duvall won Oscar’s for best actor and best actress in future film roles.

Doty, M. (2016). 13 Hollywood Revelations From ‘De Palma’ Documentary: The Director Helped Cast ‘Star Wars.’ Retrieved from https://www.thewrap.com/brian-de-palma-director-documentary-revelations-star-wars-fatal-attraction/

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