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The Godfather
The Godfather

The Classic Mafia Movie

The Godfather is a 1972 American crime drama directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy adapted from a book by acclaimed author Mario Puzo. The film 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 (Brando), focusing on the transformation of Michael Corleone (Pacino) from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafioso.

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The Film Explained

The movie portrays a fictionalized account of the Mafia crime family headed by Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) during the mid-20th century in New York City. Although it is fiction, most organized crime members believe this film to be accurate in it’s portrayal of Mob life

“A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults.” – Don Vito Corleone

The story follows the methods and rituals of the Corleone Crime Family. It features Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) as he eventually takes over his father’s crime syndicate while balancing his duties as a husband and father. Alongside him are his two brothers, Santino “Sonny” Corleone (James Caan) and Frederico “Fredo” Corleone (John Cazale), as well as his right-hand man, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). It is worth mentioning that Duvall rendered a Tour De Force of acting in this film!

The Godfather

The film begins with a lengthy segment of a classic Italian wedding. While the guests are making merry, Don Vito Corleone is inside the house listening to requests for “favors” which is customary on a Don’s Daughter’s wedding day. This is where Luca Brazzi makes his famous speech congratulating his boss on the marriage of his beloved daughter

“I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your daughter… ‘s wedding… on the day of your daughter’s wedding. And I hope their first child be a masculine child. I pledge my ever-ending loyalty” – Luca Brazzi

The Cast

The cast of Godfather was perfect and included some of Hollywood’s best actors. Marlon Brando characterized one of cinema’s most iconic bad guys, Don Corleone. He performance was nothing short of genius. Brando won the 1972 Academy Award for his role.

The Godfather Movie Trailer 1972

Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando): is the head of a mafia family, and has three sons. His oldest son Sonny (James Caan) is reckless and hotheaded, but Vito loves him dearly. Michael (Robert Duvall), the youngest son, is the most loyal to Vito’s wishes, willing to do anything for him. Fredo (Al Pacino) is the middle child and is often overlooked by his father. However, he still respects him greatly and would never disobey a command.

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Sonny Corleone (James Caan): The eldest son of Vito Corleone, who was the brother of Vito’s daughter Connie (Talia Shire). He was notoriously hot tempered, especially with knuckleheads like Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo). After being setup by mob capo Tesio, Sonny was gunned down on the causeway

“I’m gonna end this war by killin’ that old bastard” – Sonny Corleone

Michael Corleone (Al Pachino): The youngest son of Vito, who took over as Don after his father’s death. Michael is a complex character who was a war hero before returning to New York. Although passive in his youth, Michael became one of the strongest leaders to ever become head of an organized crime family

Fredo Corleone (John Cazale): The second son of Vito. He has been aptly described as a weak link because he does not have the same leadership ability or intelligence as most other family members. To this day, if a son is perceived as weak he is called “Fredo”

“Paulie?, oh, you won’t see him no more” – Clemenza

Tom Hagan (Robert Duvall): Although he was not a blood relative, he was still considered part of the family. Don Vito found Tom on the street as a boy and took him in. Tom studied law and became the exclusive client of The Corleone family

The Godfather
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Connie Corleone (Talia Shire): The role of Connie was played by Talia Shire, the sister of writer/director Francis Ford Coppola. Although she had a strong alliance with her blood relatives, she had a weakness for her misguided and arrogant husband Carlo. After betraying the family, Carlo went to sleep with the fishes.

Kay Adams (Diane Keaton): Michael Corleone’s girlfriend and later, his second wife.

“Don’t ever ask me about my business, Kate” – Micheal Corleone

The Godfather


The Godfather movie is a cinematic masterpiece. It’s one of the best films of all time because of its universal themes and masterful storytelling.

“Leave the gun, take the cannolis” – Clemenza

The Godfather
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The film has won three Academy Awards and has been nominated for seven more. The winners include Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola). At the Academy Awards ceremony, Brando sent a Native American named Sacheen Littlefeather to proclaim that he is declining the award

“Now you listen to me, you smooth talking son of a bitch, let me lay it on the line for you and your boss, whoever he is! Johnny Fontane will never get that movie! I don’t care how many dago guinea wop greaseball goombahs come out of the woodwork!” – Jack Woltz

The Godfather is widely considered by critics and fans alike to be the greatest film ever made. We agree with this assessment

The Godfather – Fun Movie Facts

  • The Godfather was primarily filmed on location in and around New York City and in Sicily, and was completed ahead of schedule in most regards
  • The film was the highest grossing movie of all time for that period. Box offices reported sales between 250 and 290 million dollars
  • The Godfather was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1990, being called “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and is ranked the 2nd greatest movie in American cinema (Citizen Kane being number one) by the American Film Institute
  • Many accomplished directors including Sergio Leone, Peter Bogdanovich, and Arthur Penn all turned down the chance to direct The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola got the job partly because he was Italian-American and could understand the dialog and mannerisms better
  • Ernest Borgnine was also up for the role of Vito Corleone but Brando aced the audition by putting cotton balls in his mouth as he recited the dialog
  • The role of Michael Corleone was originally given to James Caan. Coppola really wanted Al Pacino to portray Michael because he was an unknown in the industry. Pacino only agreed to accept the role if Caan could play his on-screen brother Sonny
  • Production on the sequel “The Godfather Part II” started before the first film was even finished.
  • Robert De Niro was originally cast in the role of Paulie, but left the movie to take a role in the film “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.” He returned to play a younger version of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II and won an Oscar. Oddly enough, De Niro only speaks 17 words of English in the entire film. The bulk of his scenes contained the Sicilian dialect of the Italian language.
  • The role of Clemenza was scheduled to be reprized in The Godfather Part II but the actor Richard S. Castellano had a dispute with producers and was not hired for the sequel. The character Frank Pentangeli was created to fill the gap in the story line
  • The famous line “Leave the gun, take the cannolis” was adlibbed on set by Richard S. Castellano . It was not part of the screenplay
  • Mobster Hyman Roth is played by Lee Strasberg, the famous acting teacher. Ironically, his performance in the film was not critically acclaimed
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The Godfather Movie Cast

  • Marlon Brando – Vito Corleone
  • Al Pacino – Michael
  • James Caan – Sonny
  • Richard Castellano – Clemenza
  • Robert Duvall – Tom Hagen
  • Sterling Hayden – Captain McCluskey
  • John Marley – Jack Woltz
  • Richard Conte – Barzini
  • Al Lettieri – Sollozzo
  • Diane Keaton – Kay Adams
  • Abe Vigoda – Tessio
  • Talia – as Connie
  • Gianni Russo – Carlo
  • John Cazale – Fredo
  • Rudy Bond – Cuneo
  • Al – as Johnny Fontane
  • Morgana King – Mama Corleone
  • Lenny Montana – Luca Brasi
  • Johnny Martino – Paulie Gatto
  • Salvatore Corsitto – Bonasera
  • Richard Bright – Neri

Brando’s iconic performance almost didn’t happen as the studio had concerns about his reputation and the fact that he was difficult to work with. However, director Francis Ford Coppola was insistent on casting Brando and ultimately convinced the studio to let him take on the role of Don Vito Corleone.
The Godfather also introduced us to many memorable quotes, including “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business,” and “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” These lines have become iconic and ingrained in pop culture.
The film’s success led to two sequels, both of which were also critically acclaimed. The Godfather remains a must-watch movie for anyone interested in cinema or simply looking for a gripping, dramatic story.

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11 responses to “The Godfather”

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  11. todaywithellierae Avatar

    I don’t remember Vito Corleone having had 2 wives. I remember all three brothers having had the same mother.

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