Godfather | Retro Movie Review (Tom Bejvl)

The story of the New York Mafia Corleon family, led by old don Vito (Marlon Brando), is set in the years 1945-55 and records a sharp rise in organized crime after the end of World War II…

As soon as you start looking for the most popular or downright praised movies of all time, it’s more than likely that The Godfather, which is still considered the pinnacle of mob movies, will be on the list, one of the best films of the 20th century and above all quite possibly one of the best films of all time. At the same time, the then unknown director Francis Ford Coppola was given a small budget, and as a beginning filmmaker he was not given such confidence. But Coppola just made Godfather a great epic chapter of American crime, which is truly magnificent, has no bad dramaturgical points, and especially the crowds up to that point, particularly famous as evil incarnate, portray in a more human form , which makes them basically ordinary. mortals who are no different from normal people like us.

Coppola was very lucky to play into that fortune, as Don Corleone’s family’s iconic Marlon Brando gives Vita Corleone absolute credibility in the first two minutes, when Vito Corleone actually acts like the man who has reached the highest possible position in the mafia underworld and who will come to the pole, he decides here in principle. Vito Corleone may be a gangster, but at the same time a loving husband, father and grandfather who tries to avoid the family business with his youngest son Michael, he actually takes his adopted son Tom Hagen almost like his and also his sons Sonny and Fred and his daughter Connie feels immense love. Vita’s general character stands out the most compared to other Mafia dons such as Balzini or Tataglia, and indeed he breaks established rules on how to perceive the Mafia, which is also true of the entire Mafia family.

In addition to Brand, Coppola was lucky in casting younger actors, most of them playing their most famous role in the finale, Michael Corleone, but also thanks to the roles of other mobsters such as Tony Montana or Carlito Brigante. The same can’t be said for James Caan as Sonny Corleon, but the most discerning movie buff knows that Caan certainly didn’t rise to fame for just one role. And Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen is the same case, and overall the trio were rightly nominated for Best Supporting Actor in the same year. They didn’t have to be mad at each other for the same year because neither of them won that year. A sadder fate befell John Cazale, who went on to have a bigger role in Godfather II, before he managed to star in Coppola’s Conversation and then the films Dog Afternoon and Deer Hunter before succumbing to bone cancer. at the age of 42. In addition to her role in Godfather, Talia Shire also plays a key role in the Rocky series, and Godfather wasn’t the only successful role for Diane Keaton. More or less for all these representatives of younger roles, however, these were groundbreaking roles, and in fact, everyone is indebted to Godfather.

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The Godfather became a cinema classic and a recognized work as early as 1972 when it premiered, it is still one of the most important films of all time and for a time it was even the most profitable film all time. Coppola proved that an anonymous filmmaker can surprise and truly create an interwoven family mafia saga, where brutal murders and other forms of violence take place, but above all, the recognition of family values ​​and loyalty.

Vito Corleone is such a unique character who, moreover, did not come to power as a terrifying and totally brutal man, but fundamentally a good man who was mainly concerned with justice and loyalty. The Godfather himself begins with the Corlen family at its peak, and then begins the chain of events when the Corleons are in danger of ending. And the consequences will not only fundamentally affect this family forever. When you take in the beginning and end of The Godfather you just realize how great the dramaturgical structure of this cinematic gem really is and really has to become a lot all the time the characters go through some development, the events that happen still have a major impact on the story and most importantly, it all really feels like a huge work of cinema.

The opening wedding already has an incredibly realistic charge, where you can imagine how the gangsters accept every aspect of a classic wedding, all the dance energy and simple joy of such an important day feel genuine, and Coppola already presents this complicated world with a very stylish and non-marking exposition. . It slowly introduces us to the characters, introduces us to the relationships that the characters have with each other, and before the start of the main plot, we will see an elegant trip to Hollywood, where a cult scene with a horse’s head will take place. In such a stylish way, during the first half hour, Coppola shows that it is difficult to take your eyes off this mafia epic, and that he has not yet drawn all the cards.

Francis Ford Coppola co-wrote the screenplay with book author Mario Puz and together they would have transformed Puz’s simple book into a more complete and elaborate form, where, among other things, Michael can begin to present the family business. in an elegant way. way without explaining the necessary to say that Michael is starting a family business and the opportunity to spank someone. Don’s youngest son thus becomes a full member of Don’s crime family against his will, and that’s not the end of all the tragedy.

The godfather really represents a world where it is very easy to make big profits, but you can also easily find your head in it. Corleone’s family is then diverse and complements each other perfectly – Vito is cunning and perfectly trained in mafia life, Michael later becomes more and more ruthless about the consequences of his actions, Fredo is the most sensitive of all Corleons, Sonny is a rioter and Tom Hagen is once again Unmistakably loyal, his surrogate family means a lot to him, and is repeatedly shown that he wouldn’t betray. At the same time, Vit’s right-hand man Clemenza, the caporegime Salvatore and her husband Connie Carlo also have significant roles here. They too represent different roles and different types of gangsters, and Coppol really manages to place the viewer in a believable world, where the war between the various gangsters really rages on.

The Godfather looks visually stunning, Nino Rota has created an incredible soundtrack, Coppola has truly created a spectacular dramaturgical ensemble, where all aspects work in every respect and especially the cynical, who condemns the Godfather after the first sighting , but does not understand his high praise. reconsideration of opinion. In the end, however, one of the Corleon boys is definitely following in his father’s footsteps and will never be the same again. The door closes, Diane Keaton stares in shock at what has happened to her husband, and in the meantime he confides in me that the Corleon family is not only back on top, but even on top as ever. The Godfather is simply legendary and, moreover, it saw quite a worthy and equally successful sequel to the Godfather II and subsequently also to the Godfather III …… with which it is somewhat more complicated. But the original Godfather is rightly considered the pinnacle of mafia movie stories and to this day is deservedly one of the most magnificent movie projects of all time. And most likely it won’t disappear from the top of the most popular films of all time, because this film surprisingly only receives more viewers for future generations. It’s surprising, but in a very pleasant way……….


Verdict: 5 out of 5

Photo: Photo © Paramount Pictures

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