The Godfather is a 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It was produced by Albert S. Ruddy. The screenplay was written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola based on the 1969 crime novel of the same name by Mario Puzo. The Godfather stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda, Talia Shire, Gianni Russo and John Cazale.
The storyline follows an ageing head of a famous crime family, Don Vito Corleone, who decides to transfer his position to one of his subalterns, a series of unfortunate events start happening to the family, and a war begins between all the well-known families leading to insolence, deportation, murder and revenge, and ends with the favourable successor being finally chosen.
Principle photography took place in New York, USA with 90% of the filming completed on location in New York City and its surrounding suburbs. After the crew then moved to Sicily, Italy to continue filming. When filming The Godfather it was agreed that they would not use any modern filming devices, helicopters or zoom lenses. Instead they chose to use a “tableau format” of filming making use of shadows and low light levels to showcase psychological developments underexposing the film in order to create a “yellow tone”. The scenes in Sicily were shot to display the countryside and “display a more romantic land,” giving these scenes a “softer, more romantic” feel than the New York scenes.
When The Godfather was released it received positive reviews from the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it holds a 99% rating with the consensus “One of Hollywood’s greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema”.
Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and praised Coppola’s efforts to follow the storyline of the eponymous novel, the choice to set the film in the same time as the novel, and the film’s ability to “absorb” the viewer over its three-hour run time. While Ebert was mainly positive, he did criticise Marlon Brando’s performance, saying his movements lacked “precision” and his voice was “wheezy”.
On the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, John Podhoretz praised The Godfather as “arguably the great American work of popular art” and “the summa of all great moviemaking before it”. Two years before, Roger Ebert wrote in his journal that it “comes closest to being a film everyone agrees… is unquestionably great.”
Commercially, The Godfather was a huge box office success, breaking many box office records to become the highest grossing film of 1972. Produced on an estimated production budget of $6m, it took $302,393 on its limited release opening weekend in the US. It went on to take $245,066,411 in total worldwide box office receipts.
The Godfather received numerous nominations and awards. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards; winning 3, nominated for 7 Golden Globes; winning 5 and nominated 5; winning 1. In total the film received 51 nominations in various categories and won 24 of them.
Year of Film
Francis Ford Coppola
Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Al Lettieri, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda, Talia Shire, Gianni Russo, John Cazale
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama
Budget: $6,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: $302,393 (USA)
Gross: $245,066,411 (Worldwide)
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