The Godfather (1972)

dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is the youngest son of the Corleone crime family. Previously having shunned his family’s criminal empire, Michael is drawn in when his father Vito (Marlon Brando) the head of the family is incapacitated. Film producer Robert Evans famously said of the making of this film, “I wanted to smell that spaghetti on the screen”, and it works like magic. A largely Italian cast, and the masterful eye of Coppola give this film a timeless authentic feeling. To my mind the best Godfather film, showing the tragedy of Michael’s journey from rebellious war veteran, to criminal mastermind. I love watching Clemenza teach Michael how to make a large Italian meal for the gang, I’ve made that recipe a couple of times, it’s not bad at all. Marlon Brando masterfully shifts between calculating businessman, and cheeky father figure, every hand gesture and sigh feels natural. My least favourite piece of Godfather trivia is that the studio gave Coppola feedback that the film was not violent enough, so he tweaked it, adding the scene where Carlo beats Connie – I hate that scene, and it’s unnecessary, I skip it when rewatching. There is something compulsively watchable about the way cinematographer Gordon Willis’s camera fixes on the perfect position, allowing characters to walk in and out of frame, like you’re part of the family, comfortable, but complicit.

By Nicholas Hudson-Ellis

Co-Founder & Film Programs Manager of Bangkok Screening Room.

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