The Godfather (1972)

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 9/10

THE GODFATHER (1972) - Francis Ford Coppola

If one has never heard of The Godfather….

Based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo, and with the screenplay written by Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola's epic will always be remembered as one of the greatest films of all time. It has been ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest film of all time, behind Casablanca and Citizen Kane. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor. It has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The Godfather has been referred to constantly by pop culture today and bears a legacy that will last forever. It seems the whole world knows the critical acclaim of Coppola's classic, but has everyone actually seen it? What is it actually about? What makes it so honored to this day?

The Godfather is a crime film that chronicles the experiences of the Italian-American Corleone family, from the years 1945 to 1955. Marlon Brando is the Don, Don Vito Corleone. Al Pacino is Michael Corleone, Vito's brightest yet most rebellious son. Unlike what a normal audience would guess, The Godfather does not center on the godfather himself, but rather on Michael. More of a political drama, The Godfather first strives with its cast, one of the greatest in cinema. We tend to identify with Don Corleone's family not because we adore watching gang wars, but because we "live our normal lives" with them from the beginning. We watch them sit together in the kitchen, waiting for the next battle. Yet in the end, they are still a gang of ruthless criminals. Quoting from The Princess Bride, "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line".

Marlon Brando, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, portrays the Don skillfully. His voice is wheezy, compressed into a whisper. His physical movements lack energy and strength. With the help of breathtaking makeup, Brando successfully stuffs himself with abstract food in his jaws, becoming the one and only Vito Corleone. He has links to people ready to ask him favors and to pay him back. Some are trustworthy, some are not, but the Don's intelligence can always help him distinguish between the two. His presence is fatherly yet intimidating, affectionate yet formidable. However, his emphasis in dialogue is too rasp at times that one wishes to truly comprehend what he is saying.

Coppola has achieved greatly and gave a visual look for The Godfather. With sleek and well-lit decor, Coppola brings the narrative of Puzo's novel to life through a simulated era of the 1940s. If The Godfatherwas a modern look at the time of gangsterism, the film would have strayed from perfection. The world that the characters live in bears a reddish-brown tint, slightly overexposed but just right. The meticulous amount of detail immerses the audience into the time period of the 40s. With a talented cast, the setting of the film enhances the power of the actual narrative.

That being said, The Godfather, in this critic's opinion, is a touch too long. The movie is nearly 3 hours long, and without a doubt, it feels even longer when viewing it. The Godfather is an epic in its own proportions, but it is too detailed in places at times. Despite its authentic and boldly written dialogue, the overall picture is too many people speaking in too many locations. It is an extremely political movie for a gangster film, and one needs patience to sit through The Godfather in its entirety. If one can get past this, then Coppola's film is a riveting piece with the word "classic" written all over it.

The Godfather is a compelling film. It is superb in every department of filmmaking: writing, acting, directing. Francis Ford Coppola has made one of the most moving chronicles of American life every created. It is a metaphor for protecting one's business in the country, amplified with the glamour of classic Tommy guns. With themes of family and loyalty, The Godfather tells a uniquely personal story that is rich and incredibly layered. The movie is as powerful as it is ubiquitous, because we not only see the American Dream within the Corleones, but we eventually see ourselves too. Simply put, it gets nearly everything right. With evocative set designs, a haunting score, and enthrallingly realistic performances, The Godfather is a movie you can't refuse.

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