The Godfather (1972)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 53 mins

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This masterfully crafted, epic crime saga begins as "Don" Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia "family", oversees his daughter's wedding with his wife Carmela. His beloved son Michael has just come home from the war, but does not intend to become part of his father's business. Through Michael's life the nature of the family business becomes clear. The business of the family is just like the head of the family, kind and benevolent to those who give respect, but given to ruthless violence whenever anything stands against the good of the family. Don Vito lives his life in the way of the old country, but times are changing and some don't want to follow the old ways and look out for community and "family". An up and coming rival of the Corleone family wants to start selling drugs in New York, and needs the Don's influence to further his plan. The clash of the Don's fading old world values and the new ways will demand a terrible price, especially from Michael, all for the sake of the family.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Marlon Brando

Crew: Francis Ford Coppola (Director), Gordon Willis (Director of Photography), Carmine Coppola (Music Director), Nino Rota (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama

Release Dates: 24 Mar 1972 (India)

Tagline: An offer you can't refuse.

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Did you know? Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) was so nervous about working with Marlon Brando that, in the first take of their scene together, he flubbed some lines. Francis Ford Coppola liked the genuine nervousness and used it in the final cut. The scenes of Brasi practicing his speech were added later. Read More
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Direction

Production

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Distribution

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Writers

Screenplay Writer
Novelist

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director

Art

Production Designer
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
DTS, Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 (Flat), 2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
An offer you can't refuse.
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
When Michael gets out of the car in front of the hotel in Las Vegas, he is with his brother, Fredo. However, it is clearly not John Cazale (Fredo) getting out of the car, but someone else (notice the hairstyle in the scene).

Revealing Mistakes
Outside the hospital, as McCluskey prepares to punch Michael, as the shot changes showing McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) punching Michael, it is clearly not Sterling Hayden throwing the punch as evidenced by the longer, brown hair of the man doing the punching (vs. Hayden's short, gray hair).

Revealing Mistakes
Watch closely during the fight between Sonny and Carlo and you can see Carlo slightly jumping as Sonny throws him over the little fence.

Revealing Mistakes
When Michael Corleone calls home after his father's brush with death, the dial on the pay phone is clearly out of alignment.

Audio/Video Mismatch
During Sonny and Carlo's fight, one of Sonny's "movie" punches is shot from the wrong angle and clearly misses, but still produces the sound of an impact.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Moe Greene says his line "I talked to Barzini," it's clearly obvious the line was dubbed in.

Audio/Video Mismatch
(at around 1h 29 mins) There is blood on the forehead before there is a shot.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Sollozzo releases the abducted Tom Hagen, he says to him "...and bad luck for you if you don't make that deal!" His lip movements, however, show that he only says "...and bad luck for you!"

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Don Corleone is heard, off camera, introducing the heads of the other families and where they're from, at the meeting, his voice is noticeably different than it was in scenes before or after.

Audio/Video Mismatch
In Vito's brush with death, one hitman's pistol emits a muzzle flash, visible just after a cut to the overhead shot of them running away, but there is no accompanying sound effect for this last gunshot.

Character Error
When Tom Hagen is trying to convince Sonny not to go to war after Vito Corleone was almost murdered, he states that the Corleone family will be outcasts and all the five families will go after the Corleone family. However, the Corleone family is one of the five families, so he should have said that the other four families will go after the Corleone family.

Character Error
When Mrs. Corleone and Don Stracci sing "A Luna Mezzo 'O Mare" during the wedding celebration, Stracci's dentures can be seen coming loose. Stracci re-seats his teeth without missing a note.

Character Error
When Vito Corleone shows Johnny Fontane out of his office, we see an extra walk onto the frame from the left, but as soon as she sees Vito, she quickly lets out a little smile and backs away, as if she was in the wrong place.

Character Error
When Michael Corleone is leaving the safe-house in Sicily by car to meet Apollonia, the driver clips the gate on the way out causing the hanging decoration to fall off.

Continuity
When Don Corleone is talking to the pastry shop owner during the wedding scene, the man is holding a small shot glass. As he is getting up to grab Don Corleone's hands, the glass is still in his hand but in the next shot it is gone.

Continuity
The waiter fills Tom Hagen's glass twice within seconds during his dinner with Woltz.

Continuity
Fredo removes his sunglasses twice during Michael's meeting with Moe Green.

Continuity
Enzo (the baker) visits Don Corleone in the hospital after he is critically wounded. Enzo is holding a large bouquet of pink carnations and baby's breath. Later, when he is standing outside the hospital with Michael, the bouquet has been changed to a much smaller one with orange carnations.

Continuity
In the wedding scene, immediately after Kay Adams meets Tom Hagen, the cigarette in her hand disappears and then reappears.

Continuity
After Vito Corleone's brush with death, Fredo sits next to the front of the car on the pavement and next to Vito's head. But following that, when pedestrians walk towards Vito, Fredo is gone, then he is back in the same place in the next shot.

Continuity
The blood on the bed in the "horse head" scene. First it's there, then it disappears.

Continuity
Level of wine in the glasses while Michael and Kay are having dinner following the attempted assassination of Vito Corleone.

Continuity
The level of wine in Vito Corleone's glass when he is discussing Barzini's move to kill Michael.

Continuity
When McCluskey is harassing Michael at the hospital, Michael's jacket changes. Michael's jacket is open a few inches near his tie as McCluskey is puling back his arm to hit Michael. After the cut his jacket is closed and straight when he gets punched.

Continuity
When Sonny talks to Paulie in the meeting room and tells him to get some brandy for his cold, his right hand is between his legs. In the next shot, Sonny's right hand is on top of the couch.

Continuity
The gun that Sonny gets from the drawer in the dining room when Clemenza comes to the house following the attempt on the Don's life, is in his belt, disappears when he throws Clemenza against the counters and reappears as he turns around after talking to his wife.

Errors in Geography
When Sollozzo is taking Michael to the restaurant for their conference, his car drives onto a bridge, where Michael sees a sign reading "To New Jersey", and he asks, "We're going to Jersey?", just before the car U-turns in mid-span. In fact, the only bridge between Manhattan (where they picked Michael up) and New Jersey is the George Washington Bridge, and the bridge on which the car is shown is definitely not the GWB. (It may be the Williamsburg or 59th Street bridge.)

Factual Mistake
The typefaces shown in the headlines of the various New York City newspapers depicted are almost all incorrect for the newspapers shown.

Factual Mistake
The use of the title 'Don' is incorrect as the proper use of this term of respect is always attached to the individual's first name, not surname. Marlon Brando's character should have been addressed as Don Vito, not Don Corleone. Same rule would apply to the other 'Dons'... Barzini, Fanucci, etc.

Revealing Mistakes
During the sequences filmed in Sicily, Michael's broken-jaw make-up does not match the make-up used during the sequences filmed in New York. This is because Paramount Pictures would not pay the costs of sending makeup artist Dick Smith to Italy with the rest of the crew.
Trivia:
Al Pacino boycotted the Academy Awards ceremony, angry that he was nominated for the Academy Award Supporting Actor, noting that his character had more screen time than his costar, Best Lead Actor nominee (and winner) Marlon Brando.

During an early shot of the scene where Vito Corleone returns home and his people carry him up the stairs, Marlon Brando put weights under his body on the bed as a prank, to make it harder to lift him.

Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) was so nervous about working with Marlon Brando that, in the first take of their scene together, he flubbed some lines. Francis Ford Coppola liked the genuine nervousness and used it in the final cut. The scenes of Brasi practicing his speech were added later.

Al Pacino's maternal grandparents emigrated to America from Corleone, Sicily, just as Vito Corleone had.

During filming, James Caan and Gianni Russo did not get along and were frequently at loggerheads. During filming Sonny's beating on Carlo, Caan nearly hit Russo with the stick he threw at him, and actually broke two of Russo's ribs and chipped his elbow.

Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone "look "like a bulldog," so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. For actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist; this appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.

The smack that Vito gives Johnny Fontane was not in the script. Marlon Brando improvised the smack and Al Martino's confused reaction was real. According to James Caan, "Martino didn't know whether to laugh or cry."

In 1974, The Godfather (1972) premiered on NBC over 2 nights - Saturday November 16th, and Monday November 18th, from 9-11pm. Both nights, at 11pm, New York City's Municipal Water Authorities had some overflow problems from all the toilets flushing around the same time.

The early buzz on the film was so positive that a sequel was planned before the film was finished filming.

James Caan improvised the part where he throws the FBI photographer to the ground. The extra's frightened reaction is genuine.

For the scene where Clemenza is cooking, Francis Ford Coppola originally wrote in the script, "Clemenza browns some sausage". Upon seeing this, Mario Puzo crossed out "browns" and replaced it with "fries", writing in the margin, "Gangsters don't brown."

Note the attention to detail: most of the cars have wooden bumpers, as they did just after the war as car manufacturers handed over the chrome that was supposed to be used on bumpers for the war effort.

According to Francis Ford Coppola, the term "Don Corleone" is actually incorrect Italian parlance. In Italian, addressing someone as "Don" would be like addressing them as "Uncle" in English, so the correct parlance would be "Don Michael" or "Don Vito". Coppola says that Mario Puzo, who couldn't speak Italian, simply made up the idea of using "Don" with a person's last name, and it has now become a pop culture staple.

The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo (Connie's husband) took four days to shoot and featured more than 700 extras. The use of the garbage can lid was improvised by James Caan.

At the meeting in the restaurant, Sollozzo speaks to Michael in Sicilian so rapid subtitles could not be used. He begins with: "I am sorry. What happened to your father was business. I have much respect for your father. But your father, his thinking is old-fashioned. You must understand why I had to do that. Now let's work through where we go from here." When Michael returns from the bathroom, he continues in Sicilian with: "Everything all right? I respect myself, understand, and cannot allow another man to hold me back. What happened was unavoidable. I had the unspoken support of the other Family dons. If your father were in better health, without his eldest son running things, no disrespect intended, we wouldn't have this nonsense. We will stop fighting until your father is well and can resume bargaining. No vengeance will be taken. We will have peace. But your Family should interfere no longer."

The scenes in which Enzo comes to visit Vito Corleone in the hospital were shot in reverse with the outside scene shot first. Gabriele Torrei, the actor who plays Enzo, had never acted in front of a camera before and his nervous shaking after the car drives away was real.

Gordon Willis insisted that every shot represent a point of view, usually setting his camera about four feet off the ground, keeping the angle flat and even. Francis Ford Coppola managed to get him to do one aerial shot in the scene when Don Vito Corleone is gunned down, telling Willis that the overhead shot represented God's point of view.

Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.

The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray the actor found while on the lot at Paramount, and was not originally called for in the script. So content was the cat that its purring muffled some of Brando's dialogue, and, as a result, most of his lines had to be looped.

According to Al Pacino, those were real tears in Marlon Brando's eyes when Michael pledges himself to his father in the hospital scene.

James Caan originally heard the phrase "bada-bing!" from his acquaintance, the real-life mobster Carmine Persico, and improvised its use in the film.

Orson Welles lobbied to get the part of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), even offering to lose a good deal of weight in order to get the role. Francis Ford Coppola, a Welles fan, had to turn him down because he already had Marlon Brando in mind for the role and felt Welles wouldn't be right for it.

According to Mario Puzo, the character of Johnny Fontane was NOT based on Frank Sinatra. However, everyone assumed that it was, and Sinatra was furious; when he met Puzo at a restaurant he screamed vulgar terms and threats at Puzo. Sinatra was also vehemently opposed to the film. Due to this backlash, Fontane's role in the film was scaled down to a couple of scenes.

Gianni Russo used his organized crime connections to secure the role of Carlo Rizzi, going so far as to get a camera crew to film his own audition and send it to the producers. However, Marlon Brando was initially against having Russo, who had never acted before, in the film; this made Russo furious and he went to threaten Brando. However, this reckless act proved to be a blessing in disguise: Brando thought Russo was acting and was convinced he would be good for the role.

Radio personality Howard Stern has said that he would gladly have any cast member of this film as his guest and they can show up at his studio unannounced. Though over the years cast members such as Robert Duvall and James Caan were pre-scheduled guests, his "just show up" policy was never taken up until Gianni Russo arrived one day. Stern immediately had him escorted into his studio, even though he was in the midst of other guests at the time and interviewed him.

The character Moe Greene was modeled after Jewish mobster Bugsy Siegel, although Siegel was not known for wearing glasses. Both were assassinated with a shot through the eye, with the glasses worn by Greene being necessary in order to accomplish the special effect eye shot.

Although there are many claims of real Mafiosi as cast members Francis Ford Coppola stated in a May 2009 interview with Howard Stern that no organized crime members were cast or used as consultants. Coppola went on to explain there are expectations of reciprocity once one is provided a "favor" by an organized crime member or otherwise involved in a business action with the same. He specifically denied the connection of Gianni Russo to organized crime. The closest Coppola claims to have come to a real gangster during production, at least to his knowledge, was an interaction with Lenny Montana, who played Luca Brasi. Coppola said when he asked if Montana knew how to spin the cylinder of the revolver Montana replied "You kiddin'?".

Francis Ford Coppola was reluctant to let his sister Talia Shire audition for the role of Connie. He felt she was too pretty for the part and did not want to be accused of nepotism. Only at Mario Puzo's request did Shire get a chance to audition.

Al Pacino wore a foam latex facial appliance that covered his entire left cheek and was made up with colors to match his skin tone and give the effect of bruising, to simulate the effect of having his jaw broken by Captain McCluskey.

A young Sylvester Stallone auditioned for the roles of Paulie Gatto and Carlo Rizzi, but was not cast for either. Stallone instead decided to try his hand at writing, first completing the screenplay for the modestly successful The Lord's of Flatbush (1974). He would later get his break in Rocky (1976), alongside Talia Shire, who portrays Connie Corleone in this film.

When Marlon Brando won the Best Actor Oscar for this movie, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather to represent him at the awards ceremonies. The presenters of the award were Roger Moore and Liv Ullmann. When Moore offered the statuette to Littlefeather, she snubbed him and proceeded with her speech about the film industry's mistreatment of American Indians.

The three-year-old child actor Anthony Gounaris responded best when his real name was used while shooting the film. That's why Michael's son's name is Anthony.

Al Pacino, James Caan and Diane Keaton were all paid $35,000 for their work on the film.

George Lucas put together the "Mattress Sequence" (the montage of crime scene photos and headlines about the war between the five families) as a favor to Francis Ford Coppola for helping him fund American Graffiti (1973). He asked not to be credited.