Day 5: The Godfather

Happy self-isolation day, something another. I ran four miles today and then got stung by a bee, so I decided it was time to quit running. My days are now filled with zoom calls and meetings. I honestly feel like I talk more since Corona than I did before. This introvert is tired of talking.

One thing I am not tired of talking about is movies.

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Diane Keaton and Al Pacino, “The Godfather 1” (source: dujour.us)

Today’s film is “The Godfather” filmed in New York City and Italy. This is one of my personal favorites. “The Godfather” is based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972, it is one the most quoted, most referenced, and most revered movies in the history of cinema (You’ve Got Mail, anyone?). It was nominated for over 30 awards and winner of Best Picture (Al Ruddy), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola). It starred some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Canne, Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, and Abe Vigoda.

“I’m Gonna Make Him An Offer He Can’t Refuse.” – Don Corleone, “The Godfather”

Okay, so it has a legend for a director, phenomenal actors, and a brilliant story, but what makes “The Godfather,” a timeless classic? I believe it is power. We, the viewers, see the power of the notorious crime family. We like the allure it has and the grip it has on its followers. Michael tells Kay repeatedly that his family is a part of the mafia life, but he wants no part of it. Yet, at the end of the day, he is worse than his father and his father’s father.

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Al Pacino as Michael Corleone (source: broadway.org.uk)

We observe murder, affairs, assassins, and manipulation, lies, all within the perspective of the family. Everything is reasoned and everything is excused. Women are not apart of any of the decisions. Yet, we love it. We quote, it. We consider it a classic story. A timeless story. Would I have wanted to be apart of the family? No. Would I have wanted to be a woman in that period? Again, no. Will I continue to consider this one of the greatest stories ever told? Absolutely. 

Vito Corleone (The Godfather), does have morals to a certain extent. He refuses to get involved in drugs, he wanted peace among the five families, and, from what we see, was faithful to his wife and children. However, Michael is angry. He becomes The Godfather and does everything his father would never do. Why? Power. Power is dangerous: it does things to a man. As we see in our film for today, power changed Micheal Corleone forever. Everyone is attracted to power, yet how are we going to handle it when we get it?

“Some Day, And That Day May Never Come, I Will Call Upon You To Do A Service For Me.” – Don Corleone, “The Godfather”

One of my favorite scenes is when Michael goes to visit his father in the hospital and finds that he is in immediate danger. He hides him and saves his life. Then later, he orders mass killings of the heads of the five families. I have watched “The Godfather” dozens of times, and each time, I  try to figure out the disconnect between saving his own father, yet killing so many others. I have come to realize that we are all Michael Corleone to someone in life: we all pick and choose who we save and who we do not. There are two more movies in the series, and although the first is my favorite, you should watch them all to see how the story continues.

Filming locations for “The Godfather” include Mulberry Street in Little Italy, New York, Long Island, Staten Island, 49th Street, Mott Street, Fifth Ave, and Sicily, Italy.

Fun Fact: Nicolas Cage is Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire’s (Rocky) nephew. He decided to choose a different last name when he went into the industry and chose the last name ‘Cage’ after the Marvel superhero Luke Cage. Also Talia Shire is the mother of the actor who played Princess Mia’s love interest in “Princess Diaries.” See, I told you I am full of useless Hollywood trivia.


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4 thoughts on “Day 5: The Godfather

  1. Loved the movie, and loved your review. It made me feel sad when Michael ended up being The Godfather and being even worse than his Dad. I guess it was inevitable, but I liked seeing him happy is Sicily with his young wife. I think his turning point was when she was blown up in the car. That gave him a real reason to participate in the family business. It was interesting how they tried to separate their “business” from their family lives. And there were always kids around! One of my favorite scenes was where Marlon Brando was playing in the garden with his grandson…too bad it ended with his death. But I guess that made it even more touching. Sonny’s death was horrible and his character was kind of a loose cannon. That’s why it had to be MIke to take over the business. I might watch the other 2. Good to see this movie again.

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    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I was sad when he became The Godfather as well. It changed his life forever, as well as his wife’s life. They definitely had some kind of disconnection between family and “family” business. They did tried to separate it, but it tended to backfire on them. I hope you get a chance to watch the othe two at some point. Not my favorite movies, but it gives clarity on the continuation of the story.

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