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, rise to power, mob boss, 1940s|
I am not a big fan of the sequels even the second is a big step down from this one. What a cast? Like an earlier reviewer said; REWATCHABLE!! Yes, I am Italian, not a Sicilian, and I have seen it hundreds of times. What a cast: Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall. Even the supporting cast is excellent with the film noir legend Richard Conte as Barzini. Puzo wrote such a rich, deep script. The characters suck you in and are so lifelike. Each brother is radically different from the other. Fredo, the mama's boy, the useless one who Michael kills off in the second one. Sonny, the human volcano, with a temper that has to be seen to be believed. Michael, the quiet and deadly one most like Vito but colder more ruthless. Michael was always outside the family looking in; he was held in contempt by the rest as the soft college boy who didn't want to get his hands dirty. This is the answer to the riddle of how he could kill Fredo, his own brother, later in the second one. Notice where he sits at the wedding, as far away from the family as he can get.
Events suck Michael into their world but he never is really in the family. We see his cruelty by the end of the movie as he slaughters the heads of the five families and his own sister's husband Carlo who fingered Sonny. The key scene for understanding Michael is the baby's baptism; watch the juxtaposition of the images with the words the priest is saying. As he renounces Satan he performs the very actions he is renouncing. Coppola was so good at using images to contradict words; it is really his signature. Pacino becomes the very image of Satan as he murders all those people while standing reciting the holy words of baptism renouncing the very deeds as he is performing them. What a work of art!! Only Francis Coppola could do this.
The film, to be fair to its critics, does gloss over the mafia a bit. We do not see old store owners shaken down with blow torches waved in front of their faces. I do think Puzo and Coppola do show the awful cost of the evil. Even here, Michael slowly transforms from a diffident outcast at the back of the family to a ruthless Don. It appears here that he is like Vito but that illusion is dispelled by his ruthlessness far exceeding Vito's. Michael because he was an outcast simply does not feel the bonds of family as Vito did. There is a coldness about him; he is like an iceberg. The movie is three hours long but it moves very quickly. The only parts that drag are the scenes of michael's exile in Sicily. It really is the story of the brothers and how radically different their fates are; Fredo is sent to Vegas where he becomes a weakling fop beaten up by Moe Greene, Sonny's temper ends up killing him like you always knew it would. Michael gets sucked in; there is always great resentment in Michael for the destiny he never wanted.
The second film shows Michael's estrangement from the family deepening. It culminates in him killing Fredo for putting him at risk. I always think it is important to see Michael as Puzo and Coppola paint him: a loner who protects himself ruthlessly. He really could care less about the family; he is all about power and control. Vito, for all his evil, cared and loved his family very deeply. Look, Fredo almost got him killed when Sollozo's men attacked, he fumbled and dropped his gun. Vito did not kill him; Michael was not so forgiving. It is a true masterpiece. I LOVE IT