Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – The Godfather (1972)

Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall & Diane Keaton

Rating 9/10

It was always business. The murders, the deceit, revenge, the lot. Nothing personal. No one betrays the family, not even a family member.

This film combines a brilliant screenplay and incredible performances with an intriguing story. I don’t know anyone who isn’t fascinated by mafia movies. Full of overt violence, they are not easy to watch and this one is no different.

It all begins with a wedding. Don Vito Corleone’s (Brando) only daughter is getting married. Here we meet the main players in the Corleone gang:  sons – Sonny Coreleone (Caan), Michael  (Pacino) & Fredo, Consigliere and adopted son, Tom Hagen (Duval), famous singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) and many other thugs and bodyguards. Everyone is there.

Drama strikes when a Drug Lord demands protection from the Corleone family which Don Vito refuses in no uncertain terms. Drug Lord gets cranky, pins an arm and shoots a few, then, my friends, it is on! The Don himself does not escape gunfire and ends up in hospital. Reluctant mobster Michael is then drawn into the family business by the attack on his ole papa.

More action with bloody consequences and Michael is shipped off to Sicily where he falls in love and more action happens (you really must see it to believe it). There’s more bloodshed on the streets of New York City and surrounding boroughs as the depth of police corruption and family betrayals are uncovered.

The Don regains control and meets with the heads of the five families to work out a truce. A kind of peace reigns once again. But for how long? Michael returns and takes over the family business, heads to Vegas and wheels and deals. Another death occurs (can you believe it?) and blood, once again, flows.

This is a serious film. Not once does Pacino or Brando crack a smile. They deliver powerful and honest performances that keep you glued to the screen. They are simply mesmerising. In fact all the performances are flawless. But Brando was the only actor to win an Oscar and he famously refused it (see https://oscarclub.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/native-american-indians-in-film/).

The Godfather film is based on the novel with the same name by Mario Puzo. He used the five real mafia families of New York City as a basis for his story. The character of Johnny Fontane was believed to be based Frank Sinatra, who was wildly upset by this. Was it, then, a historical novel?

The first Godfather film has been hailed by many as one of the best films of all time. So if you haven’t seen it, you need to. Don’t forget to let us know what you think.

The Godfather Trivia:

  • Budget – A cool $6.5 million
  • Director Francis Ford Coppola didn’t want to glorify the mafia, so he decided to make this film as a metaphor for capitalist America.
  • Paramount didn’t approve of Coppola’s casting of Brando. Instead they thought Ernest Borgnine would be more suitable. Ba-bow!
  • At the time Pacino was an unknown – an unpopular choice but ultimately a wise one.
  • Coppola’s sister, Talia played Connie Coreleone, his wife was an extra and his, now famous, daughter Sofia was the baby in the baptism near the end of the film.
  • Brando wore a mouthpiece especially designed for him by a dentist
  • A real horse’s head is used in the infamous bed scene. Actor John Marley was not aware it was going to be real so his screams in this scene are genuine.
  • When the Don is carried up the stairs, Brando added more weight to his bed as a joke on his co-stars.
  • Food and drink are featured in 61 scenes of this film. I think I should have been born Italian.
  • Brando copied the gravelly voice of a real mob boss, Frank Costello.
  • Coppola based a lot of the characters on members of his own family… eeeek
  • Pacino’s heritage is in a Sicilian town called Corleone … sound familiar?
  • For some reason Oranges feature heavily throughout this film
  • 18 characters die
Let’s now leave our Mob friends alone for a while. Next time we are watching The Sting starring the oh so yummy Robert Redford, Paul ‘hotstuff’ Newman and Robert Shaw.
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3 comments on “Best Picture – The Godfather (1972)

  1. Pingback: 10 Best movie villains EVER! « Oscarclub's Blog

  2. Pingback: Top 10 movies inspired by novels « Radu presents: The Movie-Photo Blog

  3. vimax
    September 2, 2011

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