The Godfather (1972)
AFI Top 100 / Classics / Crime / Drama / Epic
Directed by Francis Ford Coppala
Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
James Caan as Santino 'Sonny' Corleone
Richard S. Castellano as Peter Clemenza
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Sterling Hayden as Capt. McCluskey
John Marley as Jack Woltz
Richard Conte as Don Emilio Barzini
Al Lettieri as Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams
Abe Vigoda as Sal Tessio
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
Gianni Russo as Carlo Rizzi
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
Rudy Bond as Don Carmine Cuneo
The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne. It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte and Diane Keaton, and features John Cazale, Talia Shire, Al Martino and Abe Vigoda. The fictional story, which spans ten years from 1945 to 1955, chronicles the development of the Italian American Corleone crime family.
The film starts out with 'Don' Vito Corleone, the leader of a New York Mafia family, attending his daughter’s wedding. His dear son Michael has just returned from the war, but has never had any interest in following his father’s footsteps. Michael is clearly aware of how the family business runs, for he has grown up his whole life with it surrounding him. Don Vito is friendly and compassionate with those who give him and his family respect, but is malicious and violent to those who cross him and are not looking out for his family’s well being. The way he handles his businesses are old fashion and not many are in accordance with that way anymore, for times are different. It is no longer about family or the community. A new competitor of the Corleone family have plans to start selling drugs in New York and wants Don Vito’s power to help him with his business. Here is when the problems begin, since Don Vito has different ways of dealing with his business and Michael becomes involved in all the drama. He knows he has no other choice since it is all for the good of his family. His American girlfriend, Kay is not too happy with the changes and at the end of the film realizes he has become the new Don.
The Godfather received Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry . In addition, it has been ranked third behind "Citizen Kane" (1941) and "Casablanca" (1942) on the AFI's top 100 Movies list by the American Film Institute.