Second greatest film of all time – The Godfather

#2 – The Godfather

What you need to understand when you dedicate three hours of your life to The Godfather is, The Godfather did it first. McCluskey sits down at his table and asks: “How is the Italian food in this restaurant?” Sollozzo retorts with: “Good. Try the veal; it’s the best in the city.”  Four decades have now passed where stand up comedians have parodied that quote to hell and back. It has now engrained itself so far into popular culture that it’s almost forgotten that it was once written by Francis Ford Coppola himself.

We follow the story of the once biggest crime family and his process of devolution of power from the head of the family to his increasingly reluctant son. The messy, gritty and horrid world of the American Mafia is represented through the Corleone family headed by Don Vito played by Marlon Brando. Al Pacino stars as the reluctant son who has just returned from World War 2 and is thrown straight into his father’s twisted crime life. Events take place between the infamous wedding of Don Vito’s daughter in 1945 until the final riveting events in 1955. Praise for The Godfather is found in tributes throughout cinema, two successful sequels and 3 Oscars, but there is still one big problem. The Godfather will always feel long to most not fluent in Francis Ford Coppola from an early age. Coppola specialises in slow burn character development cinema which The Godfather achieves over its three hour running time. Events take place thick and fast yet there are long breaks between action set pieces which drag the film with what feels like unnecessary side characters and plot lines.

If you’ve never watched The Godfather of course you need to see it, but you will sit there feeling an enormous sense of Déjà Vu. The Godfather trilogy has been parodied by so many episodes of The Simpsons whilst watching you can almost imagine Mo Syzlaks face a top Don Corleones body. Although at least three major moments of the film will be familiar, it is worth sitting back with a copy of The Godfather for an evening. Even if it is just to avoid that horrible “YOU CALL YOURSELF A FILM FAN BUT YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE BEST FILM EVER?!?!” argument.

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