By Rahul Chohan (England)


“I believe in America”. Is this the quote that made The Godfather one of America’s highest rated films of all time?

Many people believe that the film itself is a gangster film which glorifies violence. Although this is a common misconception I don’t believe that it’s true. The Godfather is more than anything about The Corleone family, and the rise and fall of that dynasty. Yes, it does have crime involved but don’t most blockbuster movies? The film itself is almost like a Shakespearean play, the rise and fall of a great man; Macbeth and Michael Corleone.

The film is based upon a novel by an Italian writer: Mario Puzo. The film is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and won three Oscars. It was produced in 1972 and the main characters are Marlon Brando who is Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as his son and the heir to the “throne”. Al Pacino’s role as Michael is perhaps the most captivating role in the film. I say this because he was a war hero; a person looked up to by many who gradually becomes the leader of a crime organization.

The film was mainly filmed in New York although there are a few scenes through the middle of the film which are filmed in the beautiful city of Sicily in Italy. It was filmed by cinemascope. This was because technology was not as far at them times. Also the film would be best viewed in cinemas for a wide screen view. Nowadays though filming is used digitally and made for DVD quality. Although The Godfather was created for wide screen view there still have been many DVD remakes such as a box set that I own.

When the film was released the critical response was mixed. Some thought, like myself, that it was and is one of the best films of that era and all time. Others believed that the film was wrong and should not have been released. This is because of its violence. One of the most memorable and controversial scenes in the movie when a man wakes up to find his beloved horses head in the bed with him because he didn’t agree with what the godfather asked for. This scene caused a lot of issues as many people thought that the horse’s head was cut for the film; in actual fact the horse’s head was real but the horse wasn’t killed for this film. There are other scenes which involve controversial issues such as wife beating. Many critics used scenes such as these and disregarded the films true meaning.

I believe that the acting is superb all the way through the movie. With actors such as Marlon Brando and Al Pacino (Scarface, Carlito’s Way) the film was sure to be a blockbuster. Brando plays his role brilliantly as he portrayed the role of the Godfather. His dialogue from the film is so famous that even people who have never watched the film are aware of. His lines were such that they were more like monologues; for example, if one attempted part of the quote one would end up finishing the whole monologue. I even go as far as to copy the accent and characteristics of Brando himself as I found his performance very moving and admirable.

Al Pacino played the son on Vito Corleone (Brando); the first Godfather. Pacino who plays the son is who the film is about; it’s about how he is a great man who becomes a part of his father’s crime syndicate. Many people say that Pacino became the mainstream movie star from this film; I agree with this. His roles in other films such as Scarface were only because of his role in this fantastic movie. Although I did prefer Brando’s role in the movie Pacino carries the film on and his acting and Michael’s story is what moves us as the audience as he is the great son who becomes in part three… the hated father. Overall I believe that all of the actors have played their roles incredibly otherwise the film wouldn’t be as much of a blockbuster but Brando and Pacino were the two that struck out to me as the ones who held the film and made it the cult classic that it is.

The production of the film is probably one of the best produced films I have seen; from the beautiful soundtrack to the camera effects used. The soundtrack from the film is one of the most contagious that I’ve heard. The popularity of it is so much that I knew it before I had watched the movie. Although it may only be “just” a track from the movie it also tells the story of the movie; it shows the sweet and comforting façade but hides the inner crime of the “welcoming” Corleone family.

The camera angles in this film are so well used for example; the establishing shot when Sonny (James Caan); colloquially speaking “beats the hell” out of a character who hurts his sister. The shot is perfect; it uses the scenery of Manhattan very well as Caan uses everything in sight to attack him with. The most captivating and moving effect of camera angles in the film is right at the end when the camera shows Michael being the Godfather as two men show him respect and kiss his hand, the angle then zooms out and shows Kay (Diane Keaton); Michael’s lover look apprehensive as the door then closes and leaves her outside. This angle shows that Michael has become the Godfather.

Overall, I believe that this film is one of the greatest ever made, I believe it’s lived the test of time, the film was made in 1972 and it is still regarded as one of the best films ever. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to watch a great film with more than just one or two different genres. I will never forget this film and I will personally always call it “the greatest of all time”.

Rating: 5/5



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