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godfather

THE GODFATHER (1972)

When mafia crime family patriarch Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) miraculously survives an attempt on his life, his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) steps in to avenge the would-be assassins, launching a wave of bloody reprisals. Director Francis Ford Coppola brings Mario Puzo's opus dazzlingly to life in this Oscar-winning saga that brought Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Writing – as well as penultimate placement on several Best-All-Time Movie lists, surpassed only by Citizen Kane.

The high octane cast includes: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Robert Duvall.

#3 on the AFI Top 100; and 1972's Best Picture. Ten Oscar nominations, three wins (Best Picture, Best Actor, and Adapted Screenplay).

Director Francis Ford Coppola's, "The Godfather," is a sweeping, involving look at the American Mafia. Some have called this the "Gone With The Wind" of mobster pictures. Coppola received a nomination for best directing.

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Quote: "I made him an offer that he couldn't refuse."

"Luca Brasi held a gun to his head while my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract."

The film's basic story involves the life and bloody times of Mafia head, Don Corleone, and his family. It's a fascinating tale about how the "family business" affected and changed the lives of the Corleone family, even those who weren't involved.

Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) the head of this crime family, runs into trouble when he opposes the plan of another crime family that plans to sell drugs all over New York, being content with the gambling / protection type rackets that have been financially lucrative. A mob hit against Don Corleone, leaves him in bad shape, and his son Michael (Al Pacino) who had planned to stay away from crime family life / business, is drawn quickly into this turmoil to handle it. Once involved he can't find an easy way back out.

The high octane cast includes: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, John Cazale, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Martino, Abe Vigoda, and Morgana King.

This powerfully written, directed screenplay won numerous Oscars, including: Best Picture, Actor (Brando), Screenplay (Coppola and Puzo). The film's great Musical Score, by Nino Rota, also won an Oscar.

The powerhouse cast was superb, and did a lot with this gifted script, that offered acting roles that were meaty and great opportunities to shine their various talents. This film really got the career train rolling for actors as varied as Diane Keaton, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and James Caan.

"The Godfather" is the film where the formerly great Marlon Brando, his career then at loose ends, made a triumphant, film comeback. Interestingly, the much imitated Brando parodied his performance here, in "The Freshman," to fun effect.

Al Pacino's performance as Michael is probably his best ever, as the son who feels family obligations outweigh personal convictions to live an honest life in an honorable profession.

Diane Keaton's performance, as Michael's girlfriend/ wife, Kay Adams Corleone, is second only to her role as Annie Hall.

Robert Duvall, gives a convincing performance as Ted Hagen, a trusted lawyer of the Corleone family.

James Caan excels as Don Coreleone's hot tempered son, Santino "Sonny" Corleone.

The Al Littieri's role of the Italian singer, Sollozzo "The Turk," popular with the mob, was supposedly based on the young Frank Sinatra. Frank supposedly claimed otherwise, and that's good enough for us.

Some have criticized this, for the most part, universally praised film, claiming it glorified life in the Mob. One should reserve judgment until one sees the other two films in this trilogy, which offers some pithy truths about why this kind of life has serious, painful, tragic consequences, leaving serious doubts on the wisdom to choose this life of crime. This is also a great warning to those who are considering marriage: When you marry someone, you also are marrying into their family.

If you liked THE GODFATHER you may enjoy GOOD FELLAS, CASINO, and/or GODFATHER 2.