So I’m mildly ashamed to write this: this was the first time I’ve ever seen The Godfather. But I’m a girl, so I guess it’s not THAT embarrassing. Seriously though, I’ve seen bits and pieces, and knew some basic references, which are now engrained in pop culture. I already knew about the horse head, but this is where I learned everything else I knew about The Godfather:
Ok, maybe that is a little embarrassing, come to think of it. But, good news? I am now of the camp that this is the most badass movie ever. Yes, ever. Without crazy special effects and a billion dollar budget, The Godfather still manages to own all movies, and has for almost 40 years. With a perfect 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and appearances on countless other lists (best movie of all time, most influential movie, blah, blah).
The movie is the original gangster movie; set during 10 years between 1945 and 1955, The Godfather follow the rise of the Corleone crime family. Led by the Don (Marlo Brando, in an iconic role for which he won best actor), the movie is based on the Mario Puzo novel of the same name. Interesting fact: though Puzo wrote two sequels to The Godfather, neither are the inspiration for the second 2 movies in the series. However, Puzo did serve as a screenwriter for all three movies.
So back to the movie; the Don has his good son Michael, who stayed out of the family business, and his “family” son, Sonny, who’s lined up to be the next Don. Of course, the best laid plans are never meant to be, and nothing turns out as planned. With rival Mafia families, assassination attempts and a (gorgeous) side story filmed in Italy, The Godfather is proof that a gangster movie can be done right. Personally, I found that this movie has a very human element; with the focus on family and doing right by your loved ones, you almost forget that you’re watching warring Mafioso factions—no small feat.
One thing that surprised me: there are a TON of famous people in this movie! Besides Brando, you also have Al Pacino (who was surprisingly hot as a young guy!), James Caan (who I ID’d as Buddy the Elf’s dad from Elf), Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton. I literally had no idea all these actors were in this movie. I think I was vaguely aware of Brando and Pacino, but surely not the others.
Next up: waiting for The Godfather part II and III (via Netflix, obv). ALL THREE in the series were nominated for best picture, with both part I and II taking home the statue. I’ve heard that part II is even better than part I, but I’ll save the official Oscartini verdict until I’ve actually seen them both =)
Now, confession time: since I’ve professed serious ignorance about all the Godfather, can I get some affirmation from anyone else that “You’ve Got Mail” was how you were familiar with The Godfather? “Take it to the mattresses”? It would make be feel better about my (former) lack of Godfather education!
Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)
- There are approximately 61 scenes in the film that feature people eating/drinking, or just food.
- The line “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” was selected by the American Film Institute on it’s list as one of the top 100 movie quotes.
- Although it is now recognized as one of the most acclaimed and beloved films of all time, The Godfather only received three Academy Awards (best picture, actor and adapted screenplay)
- Budget: $6.5 Million, gross revenue: $133 million+