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The Godfather (1972)

Posted on the 24 June 2012 by Rajtilak @rajtilak
The Godfather (1972)
"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." These words are so powerful that they alone sums up the character of Don Corleone.
With screenplay written by Mario Puzo himself and Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather is the movie adaptation of the novel by the same name written by Mario Puzo. The story of The Godfather revolves around the life of Don Vito Corleone, the aging patriarch of New York's most powerful "mafia" family who transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. The character of Don Vito Corleone/the Godfather is played by the legendary Marlon Brando and his son, Mike Corleone's role is played by Al Pacino.
The Godfather is one of the most influential movies of our times. Although its not revolutionary like Citizen Kane, but definitely influential. But to say that The Godfather is simply "influential" is to diminish its true qualities,as it is to describe it simply as "a movie about gangsters". It is a timeless masterpiece. And although in most cases where novels are turned into celluloid, we find a loss of continuity which is an outcome for maintaining the brevity, The Godfather makes up for whatever little loss of continuity in the storyline with the famous acting of Brando. The transformation of the powerful Don Corleone into family life and the rising of Mike Corleone to power makes this movie an epic. Although I personally feel that the characters of Tom Hagen and Luca Brasi were not depicted in their full glory unlike in the novel, but everything else, the direction, music, screenplay, they make up for whatever little loss was incurred in limiting the character portrayal. A special mention is required for the consistently intriguing cinematography by Gordon Willis. Although his unorthodox are so conspicuous that you would have to look very hard to find them. For example, the opening scene consisting of Amerigo Bonasera is brilliantly shot since most of the frame is in darkness thus giving Bonasera a chiaroscuro effect.
And then the scene where the Godfather's eldest son, Sonny, was assassinated by a rival "family" needs a special mention. Because here the character of the Don is in direct contrast with his character in the scene where he held a meeting with all the "mafia" families to declare a ceasefire and to ensure the safe passage of Mike Corleone from Italy to New York and his safety in New York. In the first scene mentioned, the Godfather is seen as a father in grief, trying to maintain his composure in the face of death of his beloved son, in the second scene he is seen as composed, yet powerful and authoritative.
I would say that the grandiosity of the movie is such, that even the biggest complement may sound like a picayune remark. The Godfather is better described as an obituary of humanity, a requiem of mankind, owing to the pervasive violence and the brutality that it portrays in an utmost sanguinary fashion. In a nutshell, The Godfather has transcended all the limits of mortality only to achieve apotheosis.
[Image courtesy: Mafia Wiki]

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