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The Godfather (1972)

November 26, 2009

VERDICT:
10/10 Bloody Cannolis

Might just the greatest movie ever made and still holds up as the best in the trilogy.

The Godfather is about clean-cut war hero Michael Corleone – of the Corleone mafia family – who returns home only to find himself getting his hands dirty after an attempt is made on his father’s life by a rival family.

Couldn’t really think of a fitting Thanksgiving movie to write about considering I haven’t seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles in ages, but since I feel like AMC is inevitably going to have a Godfather marathon going today, this’ll do.

This is one of those situations where I probably won’t have much to say because there’s only so much you can write about something that’s near-perfect. With that being said, here it goes.

For starters, the acting’s phenomenal. Marlon Brando – who had already established himself as one of the greatest actors of all-time – in what might be the greatest role of his career as Don Vito Corleone. Won the Oscar for it, no one was surprised. Al Pacino in his break-out role as Michael Corleone – one of the few times where he rocks it without going “HOO-WAAH!” all over everyone’s ass. A nice change of pace for Al.

Robert Duvall, James Caan, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda, and a slew of other side characters that are all great and just as memorable as the next. I could go on, but for fear of dragging on like a bastard, just trust me, everyone here is out of sight.

But the reason I like this movie far more than its sequels (not counting Part III, no one counts Part III) is because Coppola makes this movie about family that happens to be in the mafia, rather than the other way around. Yeah, a lot of people get whacked here – which isn’t all too family-like – but you also really get the sense that these Corleones legitimately care for each other. Sonny protecting his sister from getting her ass whupped, Michael moving his father’s hospital bed, Vito trying to keep Michael out of the family’s affairs, Michael’s entire character arc – every time the Corleone’s make a move, they’re doing it for the good of their family, and that’s something you don’t really get in Part II, at least not in Michael’s story. There’s such great development here for every single character that it doesn’t take long for you to get connected and feel like a part of the family yourself – another thing you don’t really get in Part II, at least not in Michael’s story.

Another thing worth noting is that all the violence and the shock factor this movie had going for it back in ’72 still holds up impressively well today. The horse’s head, Michael’s shootout in the restaurant, Sonny at the toll booth, the legendary baptism montage – there’s a lot of ’em (and they all kick ass). I feel like a lot of movies that made people gasp in the ’70s don’t really have the same effect today as they did back then, but somehow The Godfather managed to change all that and will probably still have people going “Good lord!” for years to come while still feeling totally authentic. Well done.

Look, if you haven’t seen The Godfather, you really don’t know what you’re missing. The script is practically perfect on every front. The dialogue is quotable beyond belief and the plot line is only complemented by the flawless pace-setting that Coppola moves it along. The acting – timeless. The directing – incredible. And, man, just such a great, complex, and entertaining story that makes three hours go by in a flash.

Not sure that it’s my favorite movie of all-time, but its easily in the top 3 and it might just be the closest thing to a perfect movie you’re going to find.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2009 4:26 pm

    I’m so glad you gave this a 10/10, cause really if you want a film that will teach you everything about life, look no further than this one. So many people are like “dude The Departed is so much better, Godfather is like 3 hours long”. This is such a bad excuse that is used all the time. This is one of the greatest films of all-time, and really does give you a wonderful look at one of America’s most famous families. Also, Marlon Brando is one of the greatest actors of all time (R.I.P).

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