The Godfather

I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” – Don Vito Corleone

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “gangster film”? Your answer is probably the same as ours. You see the stories of families bound together by honor, respect, and justice, but also secrets, violence and death. And at the very top of such families, you see none other than the iconic character of The Godfather.

The enormous influence of this movie is evident in so many aspects of modern pop culture. It has been referenced, parodied and used as inspiration in so many pieces of media, it’s almost overwhelming. And with good reason, too! The Godfather has been praised as one of the greatest, most elegant and powerful movies of all time.

Carefully adapted from Mario Puzo’s famous novel, this movie follows the struggles of Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, as he tries to steer his family into a better future during the times of conflict and great change. The movie opens with an image of a happy family during a wedding, but we are immediately shown that there are much darker affairs hiding below all the drinking and dancing.

We are introduced to the character of Michael Corleone, Don Vito’s son, who is a bit of a black sheep – someone ashamed of his family and their “business”. He is played by the incredible Al Pacino, whose performance can only be described as captivating. The rest of the cast must be mentioned too, since everyone played their parts so well that the entire film feels lifelike and relatable. James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and many others helped make this film a cinematic masterpiece.

But don’t go into this movie thinking it’s just an organized crime flick. There are so many psychological and sociological layers to it. It’s a complex portrayal of an Italian-American family that resorts to violence in order to live their dream. We find power-play, politics and betrayal at every corner, and each instance of it turns the characters we care about away from that first image of happiness, and into ruthlessness.

The traditional directing style of Francis Ford Coppola turned The Godfather into an instant classic. Every scene could be a painting, with living and breathing characters moving through the dark and gritty images of New York, as well as the soft and peaceful landscapes of Sicily. Scenes shot on location add to the film’s realism, but the dedication of Coppola to this realism sparked some controversy (yes, we’re talking about the horse head scene, which is probably one of the most recognized and impactful scenes of the movie).

The score also adds to the Italian feel of the movie. Ask a random person on the street if they recognize the opening notes of Speak Softly Love, the main theme of the movie composed by Nino Rota. We’re sure a large majority will need only a second or two to guess the movie. It’s elegant, it’s deep, and it’s subtly powerful.

One of the drawbacks of the movie could be a slight loss of focus after a certain turning point for Michael Corleone. Depending on what you enjoy, the family drama could distract from the criminal plot of the movie, but it could also add to it. These are supposed to be real people, remember, with realistic problems for that era. For someone else, the scenes of graphic violence might take away from the family values that are the pillar of The Godfather. Whichever the case, there’s no denying that both sides of the movie were masterfully written and directed, with some of the most recognizable characters in the movie history.

IMDb 4.6 /5
4.6 out of 5
Rotten Tomatoes 4.9 /5
4.9 out of 5
Rogue Cinema 4.9 /5
4.9 out of 5
Overall

Combined average

4.8out of 5

Excellent
4.8 out of 5
Category Action