Classic Film Review: The Godfather

By Blake Smith

In 1972 Francis Coppola released one of if not his most important films of his entire career, The Godfather based on the book by the same name written by Mario Puzo. This film alone is one of the most important films to have ever been made making careers and inspiring them at the same time. It is the definition of a genre-defining movie.

In this almost three-hour classic follows the Corleone family and their reign of violence, betrayal, and general terror over the New York area with the main plot of the movie watching Michael Corleone’s slow descent into the criminal underworld of New York. This movie is a family film through and through and the more cliche mob tropes are sidelined in this film for a more grounded take on the subgenre. More classic mob films before this– like the original 1932 version of Scarface– leaned much more on action than presenting a cohesive story. This film, not following into this trap, has aged like wine making the most memorable lines in film history.

The Godfather (1972) - IMDb

As I said before, this film made a lot of careers; because of this film, Al Pacino became an A-list celebrity leading to future big rules in Scarface, Heat, Godfather Part II, Devil’s Advocate and so much more. His display of acting in this film is nothing short of great– each scene comes off as very personal. One of my favorite scenes throughout the whole is when, in the restaurant, Al Pacino has one of the greatest turning moments in character shifts in history where you see the moment that encapsulates Michael fulfilling his revenge over his father’s attempted murder. Countless scenes like this would be parodied for decades to come, including more notably Marlon Brando as Vito. His approach to acting in this part was very much cold and intimidating, similar to his acting style in Apocalypse Now. Some people call his form of acting “lazy”– which might partly be true– but if it is it never took away from the film and rather added to it.

Overall, this film is a cinematic classic that influenced many directors for years to come. It’s one of those films that everyone has to see at least once in their lifetime, I can’t recommend it enough. This film is a must-see.

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