Monday, 20 January 2014

Film Favourites: The Godfather

Al Pacino and Marlon Brando in The Godfather

When I first saw The Godfather I had absolutely no interest in it's subject matter, but I was studying film at the time and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about as it's considered such a cinematic classic. After all, you can't have an opinion on something you haven't seen. And honestly it deserves every single bit of praise that is heaped onto the franchise, it was love at first watch and a movie that still takes my breath away with just how absolutely flawless it is (the book is also splendid, I literally read my paperback until the spine fell off. If you're also a fan of the film, it's an absolute must.)

Al Pacino and Robert Duvall in The Godfather
Al Pacino and Diane Keaton and John Cazale in The Godfather

It's really hard to try and condense the epic storyline into a few short sentences but I shall do my best. The film essentially tells the story of the ageing Don Vito Corleone, one of the heads of the Mafia families in New York. After an attempt is made on his life, it's up to his sons to step up to the plate: hot headed and impulsive Sonny who has trouble thinking without his fists, reasonable lawyer Tom Hagen who struggles for acceptance due to being adopted and not Sicilian, meek and incompetent Fredo who it seems won't amount to anything, and war veteran Michael who has only ever wanted to distance himself from his family's activities (but ends up becoming the most ruthless Mafia boss of all)

Unfortunately when a film becomes as successful as The Godfather people become far too happy to judge it by it's cover and the type of person they imagine it's fan base to consist of. The video games don't help. This movie is about so much more than the Mafia and shoot outs. It's a beautiful film about family and loyalty, love and honour, and the shift in attitudes and traditions between the generations. I never, ever expected to like The Godfather but it touched me and made me think in ways no other film has before. Not to mention opening my mind up to a whole new genre.

Al Pacino in The Godfather
Al Pacino and James Caan in The Godfather
Al Pacino in The Godfather as Michael Corleone
Al Pacino and Diane Keaton in The Godfather
Al Pacino and Diane Keaton in The Godfather
Al Pacino in The Godfather
(screencaps from screenmusings.org)

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