The Godfather: Film Review

Basics of Cinema Challenge: 3/43

the-godfather

Title: The Godfather
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Genre: Drama
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castallano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton
Rating: R
Runtime: 177 min

Winner of Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor (for Marlon Brando) during the 45th Academy Awards, Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential (especially in the gangster genre) films of all time. Coppola gave the audience a film they definitely cannot refuse to see.

‘The Godfather’ tells the story of the Corleone family, a family that rules certain cities – including the most important people of those cities. When head of the family, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), was ambushed, the Corleone family started crumbling down. To avenge his father’s fall, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), the former outsider of the family now has to step in and join the family in their business.

The film opened with Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto) asking a favor from Don Corleone. Don Corleone has now been introduced as the man with power and the one people go to when they need something. In the midst of his daughter’s wedding, Bonasera is talking to the Godfather with very well-written lines. The exchange of words between the two was very gripping and interesting that it’s just impossible to  not pay attention to the interaction of the characters.

The character development was beautifully executed. The transition of Michael from a stranger who did not have any interest in the family business to the head of the family was smoothly done. It’s true, the film is a bit long and dragging but it was necessary to completely show how Michael Corleone got into power. This shows how compact and solid the screenplay really is. Even though the film can go on and on for so long, every sequence was important and removing a sequence would feel like someone losing their limb.

Of course, the story of Michael Corleone would not be as alluring if Al Pacino was not able to deliver. Like Brando who gave a stellar performance and even won multiple awards for this role, Al Pacino was brilliant in this film. Whenever he is in the scene, his presence was out of the room and that kind of vibe definitely makes him a very powerful, controlling Godfather.

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As the film reaches its conclusion and as Michael becomes the Godfather, the baptism sequence is offered to the audience. The famous baptism sequence is definitely one of the greatest sequences in the history of cinema. The juxtaposition of the baptism scene and the massacre scene was astounding. There is no better way to tell the coming of Michael Corleone to power than that scene. He is literally becoming the godfather by being the godfather to Connie’s child and at the same time, he is taking the title of the Godfather by killing the head of the other families.

‘The Godfather’ surely lives up to the standards and the title as one of the greatest film of all time. It is well-acted, well-written, and well-directed film with multi-dimensional characters that make the 177 minutes of the film worthwhile.

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