Photo By: Noah Nickel via Prime Video
50 years after its initial release, The Godfather remains a timeless cinematic masterpiece.
The movie, based on Mario Puzo’s crime novel of the same name, was adapted to film by Puzo and world renowned director Francis Ford Coppola in 1972. Since its release, The Godfather has become one of the most influential movies of all time. There are countless iconic scenes that have been recreated or referenced throughout pop culture, including the famous quote, “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
The film follows a fictional Italian family in 1940s New York. It stars Marlon Brando as the family patriarch Don Vito Corleone, and it includes a stellar accompanying cast including Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and Talia Shire.
The movie starts at the wedding of Don Vito’s daughter Constanzia also known as Connie. The opening scene alone shows how much power the patriarch has in the community. Here we meet the Corleone family, Frederico also known as Fredo, Santino also known as Sonny, and the youngest Corleone, Michael.
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, has the greatest story arc in the movie. He is the only son of Don Vito that isn’t involved in the family’s criminal affairs and is portrayed as an honourable man. At his sister’s wedding, he makes his distaste for his family’s lifestyle known and seems distant from them, almost ashamed of being a Corleone.
His character development is what makes this movie so powerful. After an attempted murder on his father, Michael becomes a completely different person. This drastic change and his subsequent rise to power is beautifully portrayed on screen. For a film like The Godfather, being three hours long is more of an advantage than a problem; the pace of the movie is well-timed with each scene building up to the next, and ultimately delivering a very satisfying climax.
The film dominated the Oscars the year after its release, winning best picture, best leading actor, and best writing based on other source material categories. However, Brando rejected his award in a protest against Hollywood’s portrayal of Indigenous peoples in film. The Indienous actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the Oscars ceremony on his behalf in order to give the message.
The fact that the movie is now 50 years old and is still far superior to the vast majority of movies that have come since shows you just how ahead of its time The Godfather was. It is an undeniable staple in the film industry that set the standards for filmmaking.
For those that haven’t experienced this cinematic masterpiece, you can expect exceptionally well-written drama, character development, and a very entertaining yet slow-burn type story that gave rise to a whole genre of crime movies that you’ve likely enjoyed without even knowing how much they owe to The Godfather. For those revisiting the godfather of film on its anniversary, you can expect to come away with a deeper appreciation for the classic.
Whatever camp you fall into, now is as good a time as ever to watch The Godfather.