Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writers: Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Marlon Brando and Al Pacino
In a new series of articles we’ll be looking back over movies of the past and offering our thoughts in retrospect. And why not start off with a masterpiece?
Let’s not beat around the bush here, not just The Godfather, but the entire trilogy is a work of art when it comes to film making. I’m in the very small minority when it comes to my ordering of the series, in that I believe that the third is better than number two and that the original is the best. But that does not take away my belief that the series as a whole is one of the best trilogy’s ever made.
I had the pleasure of first watching The Godfather when I was about 12 years old with my mum, and I can distinctly remember completely forgetting that the people I was watching on screen weren’t real. That’s a serious testament to not just the performances of every single actor on screen, but also to Francis Ford Coppola’s fantastic directing. The narrative is beautifully woven to create an “epic” feel to the movie, as though we are watching a real family dynasty unfold before our eyes. Something that would not be possible without the highest quality directing, acting, composing and writing. As such it would be unfair to single any one aspect of this film and label it as the most important cog in well designed machine.
This was Al Pacino’s breakout role and my God what a film to be known for. His performance in this film is near perfect, his story arc is both believable but without sacrificing the edge of your seat nature that is so often captured perfectly by well fleshed out characters that you feel invested in. And for me it is that point which takes The Godfather beyond being a great film to a near perfect one. Every character is well thought out, they could very well be real people (As younger me believed) and you invest in their flaws and stories. Beyond that though, like only the best performances can, Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Don Vito Corleone has managed become film legend. If you haven’t imitated the line “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” then have you really been paying attention?
For a movie released in 1972 to still hold up to today’s standard of film making is a real achievement that shouldn’t be understated. You will still to this day struggle to find a more compelling tale of family, loss and struggle. Sure, some blood effects could be better by today’s standards, but as time moves on that’s something that has to be accepted as inevitable in an industry such as this.
I can’t say enough positive things about this movie. If you’re a film fan, then you need to see this film. If you’re studying film at University, then you need to see this film. If you have even a passing interest in Italian/American mafia, then you need to see this film.