The Godfather (1972)

Marlon Brando in the opening scene of The Godfather

The Godfather” is considered by many to be the best movie ever made. This compelling drama following a mafia crime family created a genre of gangster films that still flourishes in Hollywood. Francis Ford Coppola created a masterpiece that has become ingrained in our pop culture and launched his amazing career as a director.

The Making of “The Godfather”

Most great films have a great backstory as well regarding how it was made, and the story behind “The Godfather” is just as fascinating as it is improbable.

– Here’s an excellent documentary from 1990 about the making of this iconic film, addressing much of the drama surrounding the casting decisions.

– In this video, Coppola discusses how he was able to convince the studio to use Marlon Brando.

Director’s Commentary

The Francis Ford Coppola commentary in most of the DVD/Blu ray sets is amazing. It’s funny in a way as he never stops talking, so it works for fans who have seen the movie many times. Coppola provides so much detail regarding every aspect of the production. This is a must-see for film students and movie buffs.

The Godfather, Part II

Coppola followed up arguably the greatest movie of all time with the greatest sequel of all time. Some even argue that Part II surpasses the original, though in our view the original still stands above it by a hair.

The Godfather, Part III

We won”t focus much on Part III here, because like most fans we don’t believe it lives up to the first two films.

Here’s a great interview with Robert Duvall explaining why he wasn’t in the third film as Tom Hagen. There had been rumors that Duvall didn’t want to play second fiddle again to Pacino in a supporting role, but Duvell explains it really came down to money. That’s hat drove the last film, and he wanted to be treated fairly. There’s doesn’t seem to be hard feelings, as he’s very complimentary of Coppola and the first two films. Watch below and see the second part of the interview here.

The Director – Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola’s big break resulted in this iconic film:

At this point, honestly, there was no particularly good business or creative reason why Paramount should have hired Coppola to adapt a super hot property like Mario Puzo’s hugely popular pulp crime novel, “The Godfather,” to the big screen. However, several well-known directors, including Sergio Leone (“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”), had already turned the project down and the instinctive and mercurial young producer Robert Evans was sold on Coppola.

Even so, Coppola faced opposition from a highly skeptical studio structure and was nearly fired during the production. He wasn’t. “The Godfather” redefined the gangster film for a new era, combining a sort of twisted glamour with shocking violence, operatic drama, black humor, and a riveting family saga. Phrases like “an offer he couldn’t refuse” permanently entered the language and actual criminals started to copy the behavior and clothes styles they saw in the film. Hollywood was stunned when “The Godfather” lost several Academy Awards to the brilliant but less epochal realist musical, “Cabaret.” “The Godfather” won only three Oscars, but one of them was for Best Picture.

Deleted Scenes

Here’s a great compilation of deleted scenes from the films compiled in chronological order:

Podcasts

The Rewatchables
Bill Simmons, Sean Fennessey and Chris Ryan “honor one of the greatest films in American cinema history.” This is an excellent movie podcast in case you haven’t checked it out. Many episodes are exclusively on the Spotify player but this one is available on all podcast players. It’s a great episode until Simmons gets way to hung up on some nits . . .

Cast Reunion

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan and Talia Shire reunite for the 45th anniversary of “The Godfather” on the TODAY show with Matt Lauer.