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Drama - Gangland

The Godfather (1972)

Duration2h 55m
RatingsUK: 18 USA: R, Denmark: 15 
Source of storyA novel of the same name by Mario Puzo
DirectorFrancis Ford Coppola
Writers/ScriptMario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola
StarringMarlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, Richard Conti, Al; Lettieri, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Al Martino, 
RatingsIMDb: 9.2 by 1,761,607 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 97% by 133 reviewers. Review2view: 10/10.

Elevator Pitch: It is the immediate decade after WW2. The Corleone family led by Vito is one of the major underworld families of New York. Vito is approached by Sollozzo with an offer to be part of the growing drug business, but refuses, initiating an attack on the Corleones, Vito being shot but not killed. Response is planned, Michael, his youngest son, killing Sollozzo and his hired police captain in an Italian restaurant. There-after Michael goes into hiding on Sicily, starting a new life there, marrying a local beauty. But back in New York Sonny, the eldest son, now running the business is machine gunned at a highway toll, and back on the island Michael’s bride is blown up by a bomb intended for him. Michael returns, marries his American sweetheart and after his father’s death plans retribution against the other families.

Content: There is a bit of hasty fully clothed sex and a moment of female nudity. The most famous scenes may be of the wedding where Vito’s daughter is married and he grants petitioners favours, one of whom is a funeral director. Another is a singer looking for a movie role, eventually resulting in a producer finding the head of his favourite horse in bed with him. There are meetings in smoke filled rooms and a variety of assassinations throughout the movie. Away from the gloom of night time New York, Sicily is sunny and Michael goes through the formal process of wooing the local café owner’s daughter. Once Michael is in charge back in New York it is evident that he will be ruthless in his ambitions for the family. The opposition is taken on, and traitors within the  family are dispatched.

A View: This is the second time I have reviewed the film on this site, prompted by new showings at the time of the fiftieth anniversary.  It won Oscars and is No 2 on the IMDb Greatest Film list. Watching it again I was struck how fast it moves. While it lingers on the wedding where the whole film is set up, once it is done it rolls along. There is no question about it. Despite its age, it remains essential viewing, so if you have not seen it put it at the top of your must do list.

Other major films about underworld America reviewed  on this site include: Once Upon a Time in America, Scarface and Gangs of New York.  

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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