The Godfather: 8 things that still hold today

Since George Lucas Star wars has changed the face of Hollywood cinema, with every single highest-grossing film ever made has been a great sci-fi blockbuster epic. But, five years before Star wars arrived, Francis Ford Coppola broke that same record with a decidedly darker, more adult-oriented film.

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It’s hard to imagine that a bloody three-hour gangster epic was the The Empire Strikes Back of his time, but it is a testament to the brilliance of Coppola’s vision. Half a century later, The Godfather remains a timeless masterpiece that is still being discovered by new viewers today.

8 Marlon Brando’s iconic performance as aging mafia boss is timeless

Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather

Decades after starting his acting career, Marlon Brando gave one of his most iconic performances as aging mafia boss Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Al Pacino is truly the star of the film, but Brando’s Vito is responsible for many of the film’s most memorable moments, like the opening scene of his daughter’s wedding when he responds to requests or his surprisingly sweet scene in the tomato garden. with his grandson when he puts an orange zest on his teeth.

Brando’s ride is minimalist and understated, making it seem like the Don has enjoyed power for so many years that he no longer feels the need to exercise or flaunt it.

7 Michael’s haunting portrayal of Al Pacino was changing careers

Michael Corleone isn’t the main character in Mario Puzo’s source novel, one of the many things fans might not know about the character, but Coppola had the right idea when he focused the story. from an infamous criminal family on one who seems to have a chance to have a legitimate career and a crime-free existence. Al Pacino was relatively unknown before Coppola cast the actor in The Godfather role, but he never had to worry about recognition again after blowing audiences away with his haunting portrayal of Michael’s corruption.

At the start of the film, Pacino plays Michael as a noble war veteran with a bright future. In the end, he’s a heartless criminal. The actor captures this journey in a few key moments of no return, like the Sollozzo and McCluskey murders.

6 The contrast between the glamorous lifestyle of the crowd and the dirty work was influential

The wealth and extravagance of the Corleone family have been accused of glamorizing Mafia life, but Coppola makes no effort to describe the violence and corruption that pays for the Corleone’s glamorous lifestyle.

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When Coppola has someone murdered by one of the Corleones – or, in fact, is murdered, like Sonny at the fateful tollbooth – his portrayal of violence is distinctly dark and unglamorous, and that’s clearly an influence. on many similar movies and TV shows made since then.

5 Gordon Willis’ breathtaking cinematography is timeless

A crowd of people with the Statue of Liberty in the background in The Godfather

Cinematographer Gordon Willis has captured countless iconic shots for The Godfather, including the opening image of a Don Corleone in a tuxedo sitting behind his desk and stroking a cat. Willis uses a handful of powerful images to encapsulate the film’s take on the dark side of the American Dream, such as framing a crowd stricken in the weeds with the Statue of Liberty – a symbol of American freedom and opportunity – looking on mournfully. in the distance.

Willis also plays with the color of the film in interesting ways. The first scenes set in the 1940s have a nostalgic brownish quality that evokes photographs from that time. It’s timeless and more than it holds today.

4 Horsehead streak is still shocking

One of the most iconic scenes of The Godfather sees film producer Jack Woltz waking up to find his precious horse’s severed head (and a pile of his blood) in his bed. Realizing he is dealing with cold-blooded killers, Woltz agrees to give Johnny Fontane a role in his film.

The horse’s head is not an accessory; it is an actual severed horse’s head that was supplied for production by a dog food company (according to the book by Gene D. Phillips, Sponsor: The intimate Francis Ford Coppola). A rubber head would have looked fake, but the audacity to use a real head spouting real blood ensures that this scene is still shocking today.

3 The star-studded supporting cast is impressive, even today

James Caan in costume in The Godfather

The stars of The Godfather are Marlon Brando, as a veteran criminal he doesn’t want his son to become, and Al Pacino, as the son himself, but the massive film set is filled with screen legends playing roles. Support.

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Supporting players like James Caan as the badass Sonny, Robert Duvall as dedicated family lawyer Tom Hagen, and Diane Keaton as Michael’s other half, Kay, may not be as much screen time or story time to play as the two protagonists, but they embody their roles and help complete the reality of the world of Corleones. Today the whole is an impressive collection of the best of cinema.

2 The post-war setting is emblematic

Al Pacino as Michael wearing his army uniform in The Godfather

According to The telegraph, Paramount executives wanted to define The Godfather today to save money. Fortunately, Coppola insisted on maintaining the period setting of the novel in the 1940s and 1950s. In addition to the gorgeous aesthetics of vintage cars, The GodfatherThe chronology gives its themes a certain historical context.

After many American men, like Michael Corleone, were sent to fight in World War II, an entire generation faced collective PTSD. Incidents like the attack on Pearl Harbor have had a lasting effect on morale in the country, which is reflected in The Godfatherthe dark storytelling and corruption of Michael’s soul.

1 The final blow is always beautiful

The door closes at the end of the Godfather.

Every great movie needs an iconic end shot that is conclusive enough to solve the narrative and deep enough to get audiences thinking about the trip they just took. With the last stroke of The Godfather, Coppola completes Michael’s path to darkness when Kay confronts him in his office about the murders his sister has accused him of.

He sternly tells Kay not to ask him about business before his capos shut the door for him. The photo of the door that closes Kay’s face – coupled with the look of devastation in Diane Keaton’s eyes – perfectly demonstrates how much Michael has changed from the good man she fell in love with and how much his new one. lifestyle affects the people it cares about.

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