The Godfather (4 of 4)

“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 American masterpiece of crime The Godfather is one of the most acclaimed movies of all time. Winner of three Academy Awards including Best Picture  (nominated for 11) and landing at the #2 spot for AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies, this movie is truly an epic above the rest. Staring Marlon Brando, Al Pachino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton among others, the cast is an essential who’s who of now notorious gangster movie actors. With exceptional performances come unforgettable scenes and The Godfather is simply full of them.

For those unfamiliar with the story, The Godfather is about an Italian-mob family, the Corleone family, who is struggling to maintain power as the world changes around them. The head of the family is Don Vito Corleone, played by Brando. His sons Sonny (Caan), Fredo (John Cazale) and adopted son Tom (Duvall) are all in the business with their father. Vito’s youngest son, Michael, has just returned from WWII and wants nothing to do with the family “business”–at least initially.

Don Vito Corleone is an old-fashioned man, he is fine dealing with booze, women and gambling, but doesn’t want his crime syndicate to turn to drugs. So, when another Italian-mob family head asks for his political influence to protect a new drug cartel along the east-coast, Don Vito turns him down. In response, the angered Sollozzo, working for the Tattaglia family, puts a hit out for Don Vito.

The failed attempt on his father’s life pushes Michael too far, and as revenge for his father’s attempted murder he insists to his older brothers that killing Sollozzo (along with a crooked police chief) is the only way to ensure his father’s safety. The murderous act officially brings him into the underworld of the Italian mob.

After the killings, Michael is exiled to Italy where he waits two years before returning to his aging father and accepting the role of Don for the Corleone family, promising to make the family business legitimate in five years. Ultimately Michael seizes power back for the family by knocking off every other Italian mob-boss in New York and a casino owner in Vegas.  

The Godfather, by combining an incredibly involved plot and masterful production technique, became the new perfection of cinema. It has story, heart, conflict, relevance and above all family.

My favorite scene is when Michael shoots Sollozzo in the diner. I know what’s going to happen and every time I watch it I’m still tense. It is a perfectly acted scene with coverage most directors can’t imagine getting.

When most people think of gangster films, this movie or at least characters like these are the very first thing anyone thinks of. The irony of the gangster life is perfectly depicted in this film. The gangster is a dynamic and persuasive character, the climax of individualism, yet ultimately he must rely on others (the family or the gang) for his power. What makes the gangster so strong initially, his selfish individualism, always begins his undoing.

Full of memorable and conflicting characters and presented in a style now definitive of the genre, The Godfather is an absolute must see.  But this, although wonderful, is not a movie everyone will love. It’s long and violent and brooding and forces empathy from the viewer onto despicable characters. It is also the best gangster film ever made and arguably one of the best movies in history. So, it’s more than worth trying to stomach for those unsure.

We all know deep down crime doesn’t pay, but doesn’t this family make it look appealing? What’s your favorite Godfather moment or quote? Comment in the sidebar!

<—— Over and Up

Tyler

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    • Adam
    • March 23rd, 2011

    Yes it does lol my faviorte quote is “a man who doesn’t spend time with his family isn’t a real man”.and Micheal:”my father is like everyother powerful man like a senator or president” Kay:your being nieve senators and presidents don’t have people killed.Micheal:Whos being nieve Kay.

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