Michael Corleone returns home from the war for his sister’s wedding. However his return coincides with the beginnings of a war between the main families sparked by the marketing of drugs. Michael’s involvement in the family business increases when his father is the victim of an assassination attempt and Michael wants to kill the two men responsible before going to Italy for a year to lay low. When Michael’s brother Sonny is murdered, Michael returns home to take control of the family and clear up the war.
The most famous and the best film about organised crime is also one of the best films ever made. The plot is at once straightforward and complex, it deals with things on many levels from the action to the theme of family. The basic story is gripping and sprawling at the same time. It creates many memorable scenes and lines that have become part of the general knowledge that we all share ? that’s why it’s referred to in everything from Sopranos down to The Simpsons.
Every shot is perfectly framed and has a great sense of period throughout. From the opening speech with it’s memorable lines and camera focus down to the final shot and all it implies, it is full throughout. The action is a pleasure to watch and the lines are so much more classy than more recent attempts at gangster films.
Pacino is great ? he not only changes before our eyes over the 3 hours but he manages it into the next film too. Brando is always a risk on any film, and when he started mumbling and filling his cheeks with cotton wool, Coppola must have worried about what was happening, but he delivers a performance that is so good that almost everyone has impersonated him at some time. The main cast is full of good performances from actors from all stages. Up and comers such as Duvall, Caan, Keaton etc are as good as more ageing icons such as Richard Conte, Sterling Haydn, Castellano etc.
In every area the film oozes class and professionalism. The look at family life is excellent and the only downside is that it can’t help but glamorise organised crime ? people may be killed but it still looks and sounds cool. But then, if we’re going to start criticising films because they glamorise violence or destruction then The Godfather comes along way down the hit list ? long after countless hundreds of action movies and summer blockbusters.
Overall this film will always be a classic, your Harry Potters, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings etc will come and go based on how well hyped they are ? but Godfather has been on most people’s top 5 list for decades and will to continue to be for many more. Now that’s respect.