The Godfather: Retro Reviews

the godfather al pacino crime sitting in chair

I truly can’t do The Godfather justice in a mere thousand words.  And, unfortunately, many have already written volumes analyzing and exploring this divine document.  But as someone extremely fussy and picky about film quality, and someone attempting to better educate themselves about the history of cinema, I feel I’m doing an injustice not to mention when a film not only meets, not only exceeds, but makes love to my expectations, cuddles them warmly in the afterglow, and makes eggs in the morning.

What can be said about God’s own face?

I was putting off watching The Godfather for a while just because of the shear length of the film.  I’ve only made one other mistake that bad, and it involved five lines of coke and a banana.  For the longest time I’ve heard that Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece about a Sicilian crime syndicate in New York is one of the best movies ever made, and for the longest time it’s just been on the back burner.  Until last night, when I finally sat down and made myself watch it.

Really, what can be said?

The Godfather runs for almost 3 whole hours, and each second is utter perfection.  It’s a testament to the strength of the screenplay when you can sit in one spot and watch the film for twice the length of most feature films and be totally riveted and enthralled the whole time.  This is a long, long movie, but not a single instant is wasted.

I’m not even going to bother to explain to you the plot of the film, because if you haven’t seen it yet, you should go figure out for yourself just what the whole thing is about.  I went in with a basic knowledge of some of the more famous scenes and dialogue (horse’s head in the bed, leave the gun take the cannoli, an offer you can’t refuse, etc.) just because this movie is a cultural icon and has been referenced nonstop throughout the ages.  That is, I had no idea what the actually story arc was.  And not entirely expecting it at the beginning of the movie, watching Michael Corleone slowly become corrupted by his father and sink into the depths of evil was goddamn mesmerizing.

Which begs the question, why people do actually like this movie?  If you look at the story elements objectively, every character is either a weak willed woman or a murderous sociopath.  There’s absolutely no reason to sympathize with any of them, and at the end of the day, the whole movie ends up, in many ways, glorifying greed, violence, and the abandonment of morality.

That’s the miracle of Coppola’s magnum opus.  The storytelling in the movie is so perfect, the screenplay so airtight and compelling, that during the course of the film, I really didn’t give a shit how many people Sonny and Michael and Vito killed.  I really didn’t care.  In fact, I reveled right there with them every time they committed murder or beat the shit out of someone.  I rooted for them.  We, the audience, everyone who’s ever enjoyed The Godfather, rooted for them.  The plot is so good that morality itself is a moot point in comparison with the story.

That isn’t to say that the film doesn’t really glorify being amoral.  It’s much more about the complexities and intricacies of how a human being can be corrupted by power, and serves as a very honest fable about corruption through power.  In the end, Michael Corleone changes, and becomes a different person, sacrificing his humanity for control over the Corleone dynasty, and gets away with the things he does.  There isn’t really a lesson to be learned here.  The mere facts about corruption are all that stand out in the film.  There isn’t a conclusion insofar as an answer to whether or not Michael is happy running the family or enjoys his life, or regrets his decisions.  The film simply states that if a man abandons his soul and his humanity, and ruthlessly dispatches with his enemies, he can ascend to untold heights of material influence.  This is ambiguity at its most refined.  It’s ultimately up to the viewer by the end of the film to ask themselves what they would want and whether or not they themselves would make the same choices Michael would make.  Coppola doesn’t impose any one viewpoint on the audience, and the camera remains a purely objective way of witnessing The Godfather epic .

the godfather marlon brando al pacino old retired micheal don corleone

Speaking of the camera.  Fuck.  If you were caught up too much in the story of The Godfather, it demands a repeat viewing just to appreciate every shot in the film.  Every shot.  They’re all perfect.  The camera follows the action without fail and never ceases to have the most compelling perspective possible on the scene at hand.  There’s always a slight sense of distance between the viewer and the events in the film, even when there’s a solid close-up on one person’s face.  This is always a technique I’ve found fascinating in films, as it becomes at some times that the farther away we are from the dramatic action, the more compelling it becomes.  For example, The White Ribbon by Michael Haneke includes a scene of a small boy being beaten by his father, but we only hear the child’s noises of pain from behind a closed door down a long hallway.  It’s a terrifying and disturbing sequence made all the more powerful by our removal from the action. That’s not to say that we are removed to such an extreme in The Godfather.  The film maintains just enough of a distance to increase dramatic tension yet remains close enough to give us every imaginable detail in the scene at hand.

In the end, most of the movie, up until the baptism scene, focuses mostly on the actors and how they interact with each other and the camera.  There are very few instances (again, up until the baptism scene) where the shot is overpowering of the focus of the scene, or where the music in the film takes over the mood or story.  In fact, Coppola barely every plays music during any scene of dialogue, preferring instead to let the actors speak for themselves.

The Godfather easily ranks in the best films I’ve ever seen, and now in my list of personal favorite movies as well.  There are masterpieces everywhere.  This is something more.

97 comments

  1. opendialogue4themasses

    Your review was very good! The Godfather is definitely one of my top favorite movies, and is truly one of the best classics! I love when they have the Godfather marathons on AMC! Check out my blog where I talk about Entertainment News and Current Events:
    opendialogue4themasses.wordpress.com

  2. ghostbusterbev

    Yes, the Godfather ranks close to the top of my list of favorites…Godfather II is just as good…then Godfather III loses some of its flavor. Two of the characters I felt were miscast in Part III: the brother who got sent to Las Vegas and Sofia Copolla as Michael’s daughter. I have watched all three movies at least six times and each viewing is a treat. My number one all time favorite is The Last Emperor of China, another long movie well worth the screen time.

    • imthemadman

      Great article! And thanks for linking to this one in the comments. I actually haven’t seen parts 2 and 3 (and judging by what I’ve heard and the reaction in the comments, I’m not missing much with 3) but I agree with most of your views. The cool thing about your piece, for me at least, was having it put into words why exactly Vito was such a sympathetic character. It was very weird for me to feel sympathy for him during the film, most likely because I just couldn’t detach him from his work. But he’s not Satan, he’s just a person. As of course is highlighted by Micheal and Kay’s discourse about the morality of senators and presidents. The fact that he’s the one to call the meeting of crime families together and speak about he uselessness of revenge his somewhat to his credit as well.

      • andyhodgson2000

        You absolutely must watch Part 2, it’s powerful stuff. The storyline with De Niro as a younger Vito Corleone meeting Clemenza and Tessio and ending up on the wrong side of the law almost by accident , is the perfect complement to Part I. Throw in Michael’s continuing descent/ascent (delete according to your current moral standpoint) along a similar path, it’s virtually 2 brilliant films in one.

  3. theangryusher

    It is also a movie about society and family in 1970′s America. When society and the “American Dream” are more of a nightmare, you remake it in your own image. Thanks, Don Corleone.

  4. Darren Williams

    Sorry that it took you so long to see the BEST film ever made which is The Godfather. As others have suggested….see part two but skip part three unless you want to see how poorly Sophia Coppola acts (and if you want a good laugh listen to the directors commentary and hear Francis get all teary eyed because he thinks she’s so good). It’s that sad, though she did turn out to be a good director.

    http://www.undermywheels.com

  5. thinkofone

    This movie resonates on so many levels. The story of a family of immigrants who made good in America, through a means that was sometimes unsavory and tough. A close and cultured family, shown by the traditional songs and patronage of the marriage scene, yet defined by Michael in his uniform describing his family to his girlfriend. It’s also a movie of transitions, when it originally came out; American itself was transitioning from the racial turmoil of the south, assassinations, riots, and a new and younger generation beginning to take leadership.

    In the movie, the transitions taking place was Veto’s children whom were exposed to the family business on different levels, with Santino being groomed for business which his father was head of, and with the youngest being Michael who was not to be exposed to it at all. Michael was to be the saint, to lead the family to true legitimacy in America.

    It also spoke to the slimy layer of their business, of back door deals, betrayal, intimidation, and brutal killings if you got in there way. It marked the end of the traditional ways of human pleasures, of alcohol, gambling and prostitution to the ugly business of drugs, which Veto did not want to have anything to do with.

    Michael had to transition himself from prince of the family once his father’s life was in jeopardy. He paid back the Turk and the precinct captain for the attempted on Veto’s life, but his heart was hardened when he lost his brother Santino, then his newlywed wife while hiding in Sicily.

    What’s amazing is Robert De Niro auditioned for the part of Santino, could you have imagined who would have played a young Vito in the second movie? Maybe Robert Redford would have taken the part of young Veto in the second movie after turning down the part of Michael in the first.

    This movie pays attention to detail. It picked the right person for each part. The musical score is perfect. The set design was impeccable. It gave you a glimps of powerful people doing all the ugly things to somehow become clean. Some wanted to be clean, some wanted to stay dirty. You have empathy for Michael’s dilemma and what he had to do to save his family. He saved his family, but lost his soul.

  6. newspapermache

    “Which begs the question, why people do actually like this movie?”

    It’s the underdog appeal, maybe (or rather, as always)? I think Michael was begging to be sympathized for his eventual moral descent because, well, he WAS the good guy to begin with. He “wasn’t like them,” so he tells Kate – his indifference (cautious distaste for the family business, even) was precisely rooted in his moral idealism. Later on, he practically trades this off for a crippled sense of family loyalty. From then on he’s always insisted that he’s doing things for the family’s sake, to eventually make them legitimate, normal members of society. Maybe it was an excuse all along to simply want to reclaim the family honor, who knows. As noble as his apparent intentions were, the means to arrive at them were clearly not, which is why it felt pretty heavy having to shoot him down for his wrongdoings (continuing on to Part III will probably make you extra-sympathetic for Michael, despite the mixed reviews given to the said installment).

  7. Maggie O'C

    It is impossible to write enough good about the Godfather. Unless you have five lines of coke and a banana. When I was a teenager back in the 70s/80s, I wanted to have the Godfather music played at my funeral but my mother told me that it was not sanctioned by the Church. We’re getting a new Pope maybe he’ll be from Italy and give me a pass. So glad you found this perfect perfect movie. I had my daughter watch it because that’s what good parents do.

    Congrats on the FP!

  8. Pingback: The Godfather: Retro Reviews | Kenneth Carnesi
  9. chefdaddy1

    This is a flim you watch over and over, you may miss something in the movie then hear it in the street. That person would say “Oh that was from the Godfather.” Great movie.

  10. VerboCityMayor

    Your review is a good start. There is so much more to be said.
    1) Consider the title: The Godfather. GOD + FATHER. Power plus family. You missed half the movie. Perhaps you need to see pt 2 to fully appreciate this. You cannot draw any conclusions about the characters until you see pt 2. When you know the whole story, then you can pass moral judgement.
    2) A critical view of Godfather is not complete without considering the score. It is the music that skews our emotional responses so that we see the michael, vito and sonny as romantic characters rather than psychopaths.
    3) What is it about the cinematography that makes Godfather so compelling? The framing. Scenes are framed as if by the proscenium arch of a stage (one aspect of the *operatic* quality of the all 3 films you may have heard of). Coppola stages his actors. He uses people as well as editing to create motion and tempo.
    4) The godfather pictures do not feel overly long because the story is interesting and the characters compelling. AND because the the cuts are long. The editing is downright languid, even during the climax. Rapid cutting is tiring.

    • imthemadman

      Yeah, I still need to see parts 2 and 3. I think I did mention the music somewhere in this but the reason I didn’t interpret this as being about family was mostly because, well… Personal bias, I suppose. I don’t care all to much about the morality of family ties. Family loyalty, loyalty to people simply because of a similar bloodline, seems foolish and odd in my opinion. While I appreciated it as a backdrop to the film, it’s just not as meaningful to me as it would be to some other viewers.

      • jumbledwriter

        I have to agree that the third part was just not for me. The first two parts were the strongest in all categories (acting, directing, editing, writing, historical detail, and so on).
        –JW

      • VerboCityMayor

        Godfather is not all that bad and has a lot of emotional power. What keeps G3 from rising to the level of its predecessors is the acting. sofia coppola is beyond awful, and since her character represents the last chance of redemption for the corleones, her leaden performance sinks the whole film. i’m not crazy about eli wallach either. if don altobello such an old and trusted colleague, how come we’ve never seen him before? donal donnelly is great as are joe mantegna and andy garcia. pacino is hit and miss. but talia shire is amazing in this picture. the things she does with her hands! connie’s arc over the 3 films is fascinating.
        G3 magnifies and clarifies the themes of the earlier films (pride, family, power, love, history) as well as the visual language. it is certainly the most operatic of the trilogy. Michael traded his soul to protect his family. He uses his power to protect what is his, and what he thinks he loves. Unfortunately exercising power makes him incapable of giving or receiving love. Only connie understands michael’s tragedy. they know that vincent will end up the same (it dawns on vincent too) and that is the real reason why mary is separated from him.
        Today it is possible to digitally remove sophia coppola from the movie and slip another actress giving a proper performance in her place. Let’s hope francis ford does that sometime soon.

  11. Kyle Burton

    I was in your same position. The role of morality or message in the film is a good discussion to have. A movie doesn’t have to adhere to morality/amorality, only the creative will. I’d say the film is rich thematically, but though it raises questions of morality, I don’t think it or Coppola would want anything to do with consciously rewarding or punishing the characters for the transgressions. The film aims for authenticity. We’re presented with hard criminals and their enablers, and we–like you said–root for them. We judge them, but we sympathize with them because they’re complex, with certain values we all can relate to. It’s that self-implication that makes films like The Godfather so brilliant.

  12. Sean Mosser

    Vito the Original Godfather was shot multiple times when he bought some oranges and survived… He died of a heart attack while playing with his grandchild… That is cute!

  13. lawrenceholcomb

    Dear Madman: I’m glad you finally blessed yourself with a viewing of Coppola’s masterpiece. For twenty years, I’ve had a revolving trilogy of favorite movies of all time. 1. It’s a Wonderful Life 2. Casablanca and 3. The Godfather (Parts I and II). If I am in the mood for a sentimental, good-guys don’t finish last, life-affirming film, Capra’s classic does it for me; if I want to revel in the idea of principled, super-heroic, solipsistic morality, its Bogie and Bacall. When reflecting on the triumph and tragedy that is the American immigrant experience, Coppola’s masterpiece – parts I and II – does it for me. It is the quintessential American film, one that most of the U.S.’s immigrant communities can identify with. I believe it is that, along with universal themes related to unbridled ambition, the illusory nature of material success, and inevitable downfall of the unrighteously exalted that compels our attention. The film is no joke.

    A couple of observations…

    First, I wish The Godfather was aberrant in terms of length. Feature films nowadays are entirely too long. This years offerings had several that approached 3 hrs. The Hobbit was so long, and bad, it put me to sleep. I had to leave Les Mis to go to the car and grab another beer. Listening to Wolverine murder another solo was too much for one man to bear. If it were not for the stellar performances in Lincoln, Django Unchained, and Skyfall, they would have been too long as well. However, those three, like the Godfather, kept me glued to my seat. My second favorite film of last year, Beasts of the Southern Wild, was the perfect length 91 minutes. When movies are as good as the first two installments of The Godfather, they deserve our attention for 180 minutes. However, most movies aren’t that good. As a result, they turn into exercises in pain.

    Next, this years films were so good, I’ve actually had to amend my top films of all time to include two more. Lincoln and Beasts of the Southern Wild, will now be mentioned in my top 5 of all time. If you’re interested in the reasons why, check out my blog… theamericansnc.com– Perhaps we can share each others essays on our respective blogs…

    blessings brother,

    keep up the fine work…

    -L

    • imthemadman

      Lawrence Holcomb

      This is a really late reply, but thanks for the comment! I would certainly agree with you on the subject of film length. It’s got to be really, really good to go over 90-100 minutes in my opinion. That was one of the things that really impressed me about The Godfather was just how entertaining it was despite the length. I was never itching for it to be over.

      Also, I really liked Lincoln, but Beasts of the Southern Wild didn’t entertain me as much for some reason. It’s gotten such amazing praise that I feel like I must have missed something, but I watched it twice and it just… Didn’t connect for whatever reason. Everything looked and sounded good. Solid acting, especially from non-professionals. Amazing soundtrack. Killer cinematography. The narrative felt very fragmented and stale to me, however. That’s just my opinion though. And again, considering how much people like it I’m perfectly willing to consider the fact that I didn’t like it just because I’m an asshole. Who knows.

      And yeah, I’d be happy to share some of your work on my blog. Sounds good.

      - The Madman

  14. julesagray

    One of my fave films of all time. It’s a great character study–an innocent turned evil, right before our eyes. It’s subtle. I can watch this film over and over again.

  15. jimceastman

    This is one of my favorite films. This movie is quite fascinating, outstanding and garnered as the greatest American movie of all times. It has a powerful story and great lessons that we can learn from it about leadership, loyalty and happiness which we can apply in our own lives. Great review, well written and worth the read! I congratulate you for being on FP!

  16. maybrick2001

    The Godfather is probably (IMO) the best film ever, and it is certainly the most beautiful.
    I have a theory that you could take any frame from the film, totally at random, and be guaranteed of a stunning picture.
    What other film could that be said of?
    Great review…not just watch part two and witness perfection improved upon.

  17. jimmydevious

    The Godfather is the closest thing modern man has to Shakespeare. It has everything a man could want in a film…and a fat slob (Clemenza) loafing around in his undershirt. What’s not to love??

  18. Dr Strangelove

    ‘I’ve only made one other mistake that bad, and it involved five lines of coke and a banana.’ (LOL)

    Godfather is truely one of the greatest of all movies and I really enjoyed revisting it via your Retro Review. :)

  19. Billy Heywood

    Godfather is great, but Godfather: Part II is the real masterpiece. Godfather 3 was a mockery of the trilogy. Pure shit.

    However, If it were up to me. I would take the flashbacks in Part II and make that Part 1, Take Part 1 and make it Part 2, and take the real time in Part 2 and make that 3. Perfect Ending, perfect beginning, perfect middle. Theeeeeee PERFECT trilogy

    • VerboCityMayor

      Coppola did create 2 chronological versions of Godfather I+2 for television:
      The Godfather Saga, shown as a TV miniseries in 1977 (7 hours)
      The Godfather: 1902-1949, The Complete Epic. released on VHS in 1981 (10 hours)

  20. Madge Madigan

    Fantastic review! This my favorite movie of all time. I have probably seen it close to 100 times. I too have tried to figure out the appeal. I do think it’s the complexity between corruption, loyalty, family, and God. I still find little bits of foreshadowing and parts of the plot I missed the first 90 times I’ve seen it. Great write.

  21. erepubliktutorial

    I’ve seen all three movies. 5 or 6 times each :) except for the part III… I’ve only seen that one once… it is really mediocre movie. If you liked The Godfather, you must see The Godfather II, you will be thrilled. See the third one too, it is not a bad movie, and it completes the story, but the first two parts are absolutely amazing!

  22. luketugwell

    Nice review. Though Michael’s ‘decent into evil’ is nothing of the sort- everyone killed had it coming to them as they were simply in the game; dons, crooked cops, traitors and the like. Michael’s corruption is only realised by during of Godfather II in my opinion, when greed, parania and ambition run away with him.
    A different moral code is adhered to in the characters world which is no better or worse than the society they live.

  23. theeagertraveller

    Definitely love the review! I’ve heard a lot of praises for The Godfather Trilogy. And when I finally got hold of a copy last year, I couldn’t agree more with your statement “makes love to my expectations, cuddles them warmly in the afterglow, and makes eggs in the morning.”. I think I know what I’ll be watching this Sunday morning.

  24. philosophirish

    This is a pleasing paean to a compelling movie. However, I think that you are underplaying some of the directorial decisions made in its construction. It’s far less neutral than you make out. For instance, you argue that “There isn’t really a lesson to be learned here”, but you follow that up with the observation that the film ‘merely’ shows that untold material wealth awaits the man who is prepared to be ruthless enough in securing it. That sounds like a lesson to me!

    You are also right to say that “morality itself is a moot point in comparison with the story” — if by ‘moot’ you mean ‘debatable’. There is certainly a moral order deployed in the film — one that counts strength, vengeance, family loyalty and material acquisition among its virtues. We as viewers are kept predominantly on the side of the victors here; the moral worth of the victims is minimal at best.

    In short, the camera is anything but ‘objective’ in the movie. It controls and filters actions to the extent that, as you say, we root for the protagonists no matter how much blood they spill. That’s not an accidental tendency brought to the movie by the viewer, but is rather intrinsic to the the way in which the movie as a whole is articulated and presented to us. Little wonder then that it has us ‘willingly’ place ourselves on one side of the dividing (moral) line…

    • imthemadman

      These are good points. When I wrote the article I sort of unconsciously defined ‘morality’ as being a kind, forgiving, honest person. Sort of an overarching human decency. But yes, if you look at morality as simply one’s own morals, then the movie ends up rewarding power and violence and portraying these elements as morally good. However, I would also argue that the film counters this with the death and turmoil within the family, and the ultimate emotional distancing between Kay and Michael, such that in the end the sacrifices the characters must go through and the rewards of these sacrifices cancel each other out, and the film remains somewhat neutral in the end. That’s just personal opinion.

  25. northerndesert

    Excellent review of this Masterpiece. I get so upset with people who have not seen this film. You did a great job of summing up why it is and always will be one of, if not the greatest of Americas films. You must see all three and review them all! :-)

  26. apatheticpoet

    i was the same, felt like i’d seen it through everyone else’s eyes before i’d watched it. Godfather ii is a much more emotional piece.
    A True landmark in the world of trilogies.

  27. Amanda

    I watched this film for the first time myself last night and I thoroughly agree with your statement that “morality itself is a moot point”. I can think of few other movies where you so seamlessly find yourself rooting for the bad guy. Amazing.

  28. thetimelady

    Thank you for posting! I’m in an Introduction to Film studies class and been inspired to get into the classics. The Godfather is one I would like to watch very soon and I’m now especially especially excited to watch it with your review of it!

  29. Gus Sanchez

    First off, shame on you for having waited so long to see this masterpiece. But now that you’ve made up for it, I’m sure you’ll no doubt be just like me and the millions of other fans of this great film who will watch this when it comes on television, no matter what moment it comes on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it late at night, when a third of it had already passed. No matter, you still watch it anyway.

  30. imthemadman

    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who’s commented! I’m tremendously grateful for all the praise. And for the few of you who have asked, yes I have seen the ‘Modern Family’ spoof. Very, very funny. It’s also easily one of the most well written shows on TV right now.

  31. nikki

    ah thanks. i got the trilogy waiting here, but am saving it for a night where I am really ‘off’ and had too much stuff going on lately. Great review not giving away too much of the plot.

  32. Pingback: The Godfather: Retro Reviews « dragonladyq4
  33. Corinne Lee

    Glad you finally watched the greatest movie of all time, If I watched it once I’ve watched it 1000 times, but back in early 70s I read the book and finished it in 2 1/2 days and for a working single Mom that was quick!! The GodFather is kinda like the Album Rumors by Fleetwood Mac, if you haven’t heard it, you never appreciated or heard good music! Your article was great.
    Corinne Lee

  34. villagerambler

    Great review – makes me want to watch it all over again. I think you take some films for granted, especially if you haven’t seen them for some time. Time to view them again with a fresh perspective. Maybe not Godfather III…like a disappointing finish to a great meal.

  35. fromevansridge

    My children live on the West coast and Gulf region. I live in North Carolina. When we get together, we play the Godfather trilogy and/or Gotti with subtitles, because at any given moment we can quote the movies verbatim. I read the book in ninth grade and decided it I ever had a son, his name would be Santino. I saw the movie a couple of years later at a theater in Mission Valley after standing in line for an hour. I will never forget how everyone in that theater jumped when the nurse came in on Michael Corleone visiting the Don in his hospital room. Ten years later, I had my second child…a son and we named him Santino.

  36. couldnotfindone

    I would suggest you to watch the complete series. That would surely amplify your view about it and would make a clear picture of what is depicted in the whole story(that includes GODFATHER I,II,III). Every character(like the whole Corleone family and others associated) has been concluded in a defined way. The way you reviewed the Part-I, i bet you will love more of them in Part-II,III. And yeah, hats off to ‘Mario Puzo’ for the epic story and ‘Francis Ford Coppola’ for that classic direction of the movie.

    and a good piece of review. You really did justice with ‘The Godfather’! :)

  37. crispyindeed

    I think I’ve watched this movie at least a handful of times. It’s definitely long, no doubt, but that obviously wasn’t an issue when I watched it more than once. If you like Modern Family, you should watch their most recent episode where they re-enact a couple of scenes from the movie. It’s hilarious.

  38. dramafiatot

    Yay! Another Fan. I love your review (and the cursing!haha) ! Exactly how I feel everytime I watch this. If you love reading, the book is as riveting!! I always dreamed of being part of the Corleone family after having read it.

  39. perniche

    In my movie watching career I have seen the same movie made and remade three times. 1941′s “Here Comes Mister Jordan” later remade as “Heaven Can Wait” in 1978 and remade again in 2001 as “Down To Earth”. Each rendition was a light take on light material though each had a modicum of entertainment value. I think of these three whenever I read a review such as yours that praise a movie and place it in a category such as “one of” or “the best of” all time. Your review matches the sentiment that has grown with the film and the passage of time. I too saw not a moment of film wasted nor lacking in this production. I doubt that we could ever see a remake of this film because someone has figured out a way to make it better. Could we find a better “David” or a better “Mona Lisa”? Good work.

  40. The Life Mosaic

    Nice write up. Helps me kick myself a little more for not taking Amazon up on its DOTD for the trilogy on blu-ray for $18 last Saturday. I don’t know if you’re a fan of the show Modern Family, but you must see the episode that aired this week.

  41. KOKAY

    I’ve been meaning to write a review of The Godfather trilogy myself, but just thought my words won’t be enough to express the awesomeness of it all, but thank God for your review, you did what I could not do. :) Anyway, does your copy have commentaries by Coppola? Well, after you’ve seen the whole trilogy, try rewatching it again with commentaries on! :D

  42. bikebanjoandbabyblog

    I remember seeing a copy of The Godfather at my parents’ house, when I was about 20, and home from university. I told my mom that I had never seen it before and she said, aghast, “you haven’t?” and then stopped everything and made me watch it with her right then and there. It’s been my favourite movie ever since. It’s perfection.

  43. whatwereyathinkin

    It is one of the best films ever made. Of course if you haven’t watched Godfather II you are in for a surprise! My brother can quote the entire movies dialogue. He is a little strange though. Just for conversation some of what I consider to be masterpieces are Outlaw Josey Wales (I love the dialogue) and Goodfellows (Joe Pesci is off the chain).

  44. Do I Have My Keys?

    I definitely need to watch this. I’ve just heard so much about its quality and length that I psych myself out every time with the, “I need to be able to focus entirely on the movie when I see it” excuse. Maybe your post was enough to get me to sit down with the popcorn and devote those three hours to adding to my knowledge of cinema.

    Great post. Keep it up!

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