Cinematic Adventures: The Godfather

My wife and I have been married for nineteen months and have been together for nearly six years, time flies when you are in love. The greatest film of all time and my favorite film is The Godfather, shockingly enough, my bride has never seen the film. She admittedly is not a huge fan of sitting down and paying attention to a film for an extended period of time, she fell asleep during Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which I thought was one of the best films in the last few years. I have begged her to sit down and watch The Godfather with me and the quarantine has finally got her to agree to sit down and watch the cinematic masterpiece that is, The Godfather. I am so excited to share this film with her, there are few greater pleasures in life than showing someone this movie for the first time and we are finally screening the film tonight. The Godfather was nominated for 11 Oscars and won three including, best picture, best actor (Marlon Brando) and best adapted screenplay. Three actors from this film were nominated for best supporting actor, Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall.

The movie is based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name which is wildly different than the film. I do think everyone should try reading the book because it is entertaining but at the same time there are some seriously odd and uncomfortable parts. When Paramount Pictures bought the rights to the book and decided on Francis Ford Coppola to write and direct the film, Puzo was hired to co-write the screenplay. It would eventually result in the greatest dialogue ever being showcased on film and while the film is regarded as perfect by nearly everyone who has ever seen it, the road to the final product was as bumpy as ever in the history of cinema.

This film would eventually end up being Al Pacino’s breakout performance but he was not wanted by Paramount and throughout the filming of the movie, the studio would threaten to fire Pacino. Coppola would fight everyday to keep Pacino on set because he knew that he was the right person to play the soon to be iconic character, Michael Corleone. Paramount was at their breaking point and told Coppola they wanted to replace Pacino with Ryan O’Neal, Robert Redford, or James Caan (who was already cast in the film as Sonny Corleone, Michael’s brother). Coppola had to act quickly and he decided to rearrange the shooting schedule to showcase Pacino and what he felt was going to be the most powerful scene of the film, he would show the daily film to the studio and they would have no choice but to keep Pacino. The scene below was the one that Coppola decided to shoot and the rest is history.

Before filming began, Coppola had one man in mind to play the Godfather, Vito Corleone and that man was Hollywood icon, Marlon Brando. Paramount vehemently expressed their displeasure with Coppola’s decision and said under no circumstance whatsoever would Brando be in the film. Brando was notoriously known for being tough to work with on film sets, he had falling out of the good graces of many who called the shots in Hollywood. After Coppola stood up to the executives and said he would not make the film without Brando, Paramount decided to let their director have his way, under some stipulations. Brando would have to take a tremendous pay cut and to do a screen test for Coppola and he would have to sign a contract that he would not cause disruptions during filmmaking. This seemed to be a Herculean task, Brando was a proud and iconic actor, a screen test and a pay cut would be a tough sell. Coppola ventured out to Brando’s home with the script, Italian cheeses, cigars and wine in hopes that he would convince Brando to do a “makeup test” to not let on that it was actually a screen test. Brando agreed and once again, the rest is history, I can’t imagine this movie without Brando.

I understand this movie was made in 1972 and is one of the most famous films ever made but if you haven’t seen this, I beg you to run to your television and order this movie and at least have some joy during quarantine. There are so many scenes that should be used to teach acting and how to create tension, drama, compassion and the feeling of being immersed into the film. I already posted two iconic scenes but there are so many more, Sonny at the toll booth, Vito’s speech to the five families, Carlo’s fight with Connie, Michael in Sicily, the car bomb, just to name a few AND THE GREATEST SCENE IN FILM HISTORY…. THE BAPTISM

This movie means so much to me, it reminds me of Sunday dinners at my house growing up. The gravy would be getting made, the meatballs being rolled, the fresh bread from the bakery, Jimmy Roselli on the record player in the morning and then a Godfather marathon in the afternoon. Some of the happiest memories of my childhood revolve around this movie with a side of cutlets, provolone and peppers. Growing up as an Italian American, not 100% Italian but more than 50% I understand that some Italians feels like this portrays our people in a negative light, I never viewed it like that. I look at the all too relatable qualities of this film that remind me of being at my Nana’s house, the food, the furniture, the large gatherings and all the pride that goes with being Italian. This is the greatest film of all time, the greatest cast and one of the finest directors ever, go check it out now!

Scors Cinematic Adventure Rating: 9.6/10