Spanning the years 1945 to 1955, a chronicle of the fictional Italian-American Corleone crime family. When organized crime family patriarch, Vito Corleone barely survives an attempt on his life, his youngest son, Michael steps in to take care of the would-be killers, launching a campaign of bloody revenge.
|Release Date||:||March 14, 1972|
|Production Company||:||Paramount Pictures, Alfran Productions|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Francis Ford Coppola, Fred T. Gallo, Tony Brandt, Stephen F. Kesten|
|Writers||:||Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo|
|Casts||:||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, Rudy Bond, Al Martino, Morgana King, Lenny Montana, John Martino, Salvatore Corsitto, Alex Rocco, Tony Giorgio, Victor Rendina, Simonetta Stefanelli, Saro Urzì, Sofia Coppola, Louis Guss, Gabriele Torrei, Tony King, Richard Bright, Vito Scotti, Tere Livrano, Julie Gregg, Angelo Infanti, Corrado Gaipa, Franco Citti, Max Brandt, Carmine Coppola, Roman Coppola, Don Costello, Robert Dahdah, Gray Frederickson, Ron Gilbert, Joe Lo Grippo, Sonny Grosso, Randy Jurgensen, Tony Lip, Lou Martini Jr., Raymond Martino, Joseph Medaglia, Rick Petrucelli, Sal Richards, Tom Rosqui, Frank Sivero, Filomena Spagnuolo, Joe Spinell, Nick Vallelonga, Conrad Yama|
|Plot Keywords||:||italy, love at first sight, loss of father, patriarch, organized crime, mafia, lawyer, italian american, crime family, part of trilogy, rise to power, mob boss, 1940s|
This is a masterpiece. A timeless masterpiece. Initially, I didn't like this film all that much - I found it rather over-hyped and boring. This was until the advent of DVD, which gave me the feature I needed for this sort of film: subtitles. Once I switched them on and heard (read) every last word of Brando's ramblings and other characters ramblings, I grew a true appreciation for this epic.
To make a true epic, you need all of three following ingredients working in near perfect harmony. For screenwriters who come across this, take the following pointers on board: 1) Contrasting Characters: Good films have some character distinction, but most fall rather flat because the core of each character is the same.
Of course, there are exceptions to rule (ie... where you want mono-tonal characters... aka matrix; or where you want outlandish contrasts... aka The Fifth Element), but ultimately, this is what makes films deep, meaningful and grand. Consider the contrasts between the Don's children. Michael is rather cool, rational and collected, whereas Sonny is more hot-headed, spontaneous and simple minded. But simply having these contrasts is not nearly enough. What you really need to do is to develop these characters - place them in situations - and then dwell on how their character impacts on the situation they're put in. The Godfather is a terrific example of how to pull this off. While many try to do this in screenplays, most lose the plot and create character obscurities that stretch credibility.
2) Transformation: The central character(s) must undergo a transformation, resulting in them being almost unrecognizable by the end of the film. By putting them into situations, the character's character must not only influence the outcome of the situation; it must also have a lasting impact on the character. Consider Michael at the wedding and compare that to the Michael we see at the end of the film. Again, many films try, but most fail because they come up with unreal (literally, not praisingly) or simply moronic transformations (eg, Wall Street).
3) Patience: Men in Black 2 was an astounding film for one simple reason - it was an entire film squashed into about 70 minutes. It was not much longer than an episode of ER or Buffy. I certainly hope the new goal of Hollywood isn't to make films as short as possible.
All the great ones spend time - time developing characters, family life, growth, patience with the story telling in general. This is the key (provided that the story isn't mind-numbingly boring). Dances with Wolves, Heat.. and so on are very patient but top-class films. While studios may be lukewarm on the idea of longer films, they are worth it if you have a ripper story to base it on.
I feel that this film has not dated all that much and has tremendous re-watch-ability.