In the midst of trying to legitimize his business dealings in New York City and Italy in 1979, aging Mafia Don Michael Corleone seeks to avow for his sins, while taking his nephew Vincent Mancini under his wing.
When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.
When the aging head of a famous crime family decides to transfer his position to one of his subalterns, a series of unfortunate events start happening to the family, and a war begins between all the well-known families leading to insolence, deportation, murder and revenge, and ends with the favorable successor being finally chosen. Written by
J. S. Golden
Six cameras were used to shoot the wedding sequences, including four in the garden to capture cinema verite shots, as well as a soundman wandering around to record improvised dialogue. There was also a camera in a helicopter, but many of these shots were too jumpy, and weren't used. See more »
When the dons meet, one of them sits back twice: once before and once after an edit. See more »
I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom but I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a "boy friend," not an Italian. She went to the movies with him. She stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago he took her for a drive, with another boy friend. They made her drink whiskey and then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her. Like an animal...
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In the Blu-Ray version, the 2002 Paramount logo is used and tinted in sepia. See more »
For me it isn't "the greatest ever", but it's still great
Marlon Brando is Don Vito Corleone, head of perhaps the most powerful
New York-area mafia family in the 1940s, in this well-respected film by
director/writer Francis Ford Coppola. As the film begins, Vito is
receiving "business" guests in his office at his home while his
daughter Connie's (Talia Shire) wedding and reception are taking place.
The epic plot takes place over many years, telling the story of Vito,
his family--including Michael (Al Pacino), Santino (James Caan) and Tom
Hagen (Robert Duvall), his associates, and their interactions with
other mob syndicates.
The Godfather is commonly considered to be one of the "greatest films
of all time". Even though I've given it a 10, I wouldn't put that same
kind of exalted emphasis on it. I've given literally thousands of films
10s over the years, and for me, Godfather just barely made a 10. I
think it has a number of flaws, but Coppola also has a knack for
transcending the problems with some brilliant move or another. At any
rate, it is definitely must-see viewing--even if it's only because it's
so highly regarded--if you've not experienced the film yet. I think
it's a good idea to attain cultural literacy, and films as popularly
loved as The Godfather become necessary elements in achieving that
Shorn of its gangster trappings, The Godfather is sprawling and
soap-operatic in tone. The sprawl is appropriate to its origins as a
novel by Mario Puzo, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Coppola.
There is a large cast of characters--maybe too large, as it can be
difficult to keep track of just who everyone is. Even after you've
watched the film a couple times you may find scenes where mobsters seem
to spontaneously appear and you catch yourself saying, "Wait, who is
that guy supposed to be again?" The soap opera angle can be a positive
or negative depending on your tastes. I tend to not like soap-operatic
stories, but of course Coppola put yummy gangster topping on this one
to make it palatable for guys like me. At root, though, The Godfather
is concerned with realistic depictions of a very dysfunctional family
as they try to make it through life--including marriages, births,
adultery, spats between family members, tiffs with others in their
community, and so on. My theory is that the soap opera angle accounts
for much of the film's appeal. For me, it (and the slight lack of focus
from the sprawl) accounts for much of the reason that I barely gave the
film a 10.
But two things help the film transcend a lower score for me. Even
though the gangster stuff has been far surpassed in graphic brutality
in the intervening years, the dramatic context of the violence usually
gives it tremendous impact. Films like Ichi the Killer (2001), which I
just watched for the first time the night before watching The Godfather
again, make the Godfather's brutality fit for Sesame Street in
comparison. However, although Ichi's violence is effective, setting
that knob to "11" doesn't make it better. Besides, Ichi is so over the
top that it would make many Godfather fans want to hurl.
To the extent that Coppola and Puzo just focus on the extended Corleone
family, they create tremendous depth in their relationships. The whole
film can be looked at as a fascinating depiction of "oscillating"
dynamics in the family, with the pole pairs being
interacting/distancing, control/lack of control,
benevolence/malevolence. Most character stances and actions are some
combination of those ranges of characteristics, and everyone dances
around the poles, so to speak, throughout the film. From this angle,
even the attractive surface violence (well, attractive to us fans of
that stuff in artworks) is mainly there for the purpose of pushing
characters more to one pole or the other. There is an implication that
underlying these mechanisms is some natural tendency towards achieving
(a dynamic) equilibrium.
But there are more superficial stylistic factors that help push my
score up to a 10, also. The most obvious, which everyone and their
grandparents have mentioned, are the performances. It's tough to go
wrong when you have a cast including Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert
Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, and so on. Another commonly mentioned
element that I agree is fantastic and superbly integrated to create
atmosphere is Nino Rota's score.
Less often mentioned is the consistently intriguing cinematography by
Gordon Willis. Most of Willis' unusual shots in the film are so subtle
as to be barely noticeable unless you're looking for them. The opening,
for example, consists of a long (it lasts a few minutes) "zoom out"
from Amerigo Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto). The shot is beautifully
lit--most of the frame is extremely dark, giving Bonasera a chiaroscuro
effect (the opening is also unusual in that it's a long monologue from
a minor character).
Willis and Coppola have a knack for placing their actors in the frame
to create depth and interesting visual patterns. This is done so slyly
that at first blush you wouldn't believe it's something they thought
about, but if you keep this in mind while watching, you can see
delightful visual paths that zigzag, wind to a focal point, and so on,
all created by the confluence of actors and scenery in the frame.
If you haven't seen The Godfather before, the most important thing you
can do before watching is to forget about all of the "greatest film of
all time" hype. That's only likely to set up expectations that could
never be met; more than likely you'll be disappointed. Just think of it
as one of the better films from one of Hollywood's more admirable but
relatively odder directors, featuring earlier performances from a very
well known cast, and keep in mind that it's as much a "historical
family saga" as a crime or gangster film.
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