5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of atmosphere and character
From the haunting trumpet music leading into the first scene, this is one of the more atmospheric movies I've ever seen. Dark and brooding. The score is as much a part of the film as the actors and scenes. An aging Mafia Don presides over his family's transition of power. Marlon Brando is brilliant in the role of his career, Vito Corleone. Quiet, understated, and...
Published on Feb 17 2001 by J
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Get the Collection
So many reviews rate the film itself which we already know is a classic, but few give any comments on the quality of the DVD. The Paramount Widescreen Collection of this film is indeed a very bad transfer which becomes quite evident in the first scene which is almost incomprehensible because it is so dark as to render the subtle performance of Brando unviewable. On my...
Published on July 5 2004 by James N. Smith
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of atmosphere and character,
This review is from: Godfather I (VHS Tape)From the haunting trumpet music leading into the first scene, this is one of the more atmospheric movies I've ever seen. Dark and brooding. The score is as much a part of the film as the actors and scenes. An aging Mafia Don presides over his family's transition of power. Marlon Brando is brilliant in the role of his career, Vito Corleone. Quiet, understated, and controlled. The Godfather is a man to be respected and feared. Of course, we all know, deep down inside, Don Vito is little more than a gentlemanly thug. A man who made his name through viciousness. A common criminal with uncommon power.
At the beginning of the movie, it looks like power will pass to Sonny, the handsome and volatile oldest son. Fredo, the middle son, is semi-retarded and Michael, the youngest, has no interest in the family business. Tom is an adopted son who could never become Godfather. Through a series of events, Michael shows his loyalty to his family and sacrifices tremendously. Slowly, it becomes apparent that he, not his father or his brothers, is the force to be reckoned with. He will hold the strings that maunuever other men. Al Pacino plays him masterfully. As a man who doesn't overcome his demons. Rather the opposite; he embraces them. He allows his soul to die as he willingly succumbs to his fate. He chooses an insulated paradoxical power over independence. The Godfather isn't about getting what you want, it's about accepting your destiny and working within that understanding.
A film about family, loyalty, manliness, sacrifice and the violent, hypocritical, degrading aspects of a criminal empire. Fear, suspicion, revenge, threats, brutality, double-crosses and intimidation are prevailing themes as the Corleone family struggles to maintain status during the convalesence and after the death of the patriarch. A fascinating movie about men who are not heroes, not even good guys. Yet they are dedicated to each other, to family and honor. To codes of conduct, rules and limits. A strangely compelling movie. A wonderful character study. As fine a movie as I have ever seen.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Film Ever Made!,
This review is from: Godfather I (VHS Tape)Yes, this is probably the best film ever made. A lot come close ('Citizen Kane', 'Casablanca', etc.) but 'The Godfather' has been proven a perennial favorite between the audience since it's release over 25 years ago, and still stands well. It is virtuoso filmmaking at it's absolute best, everything from directing and acting to writing and score are done to perfection. Never a dull moment in the film, not a slow scene, not a bum performance and nothing seems out of place. Coppola's first major film and certainly his best, this was the offspring of his creative talent. His direction in this film is flawless, every little detail fits together, and even the casting was inspired, to create a moving and even nostalgic movie experience. The acting is unbelievable a powerhouse ensemble cast, few actors have worked so well together and in such beautifully synchronized harmony, you really believe that this people are family. Marlon Brando, in one of his definitive roles, delivers one of the best performances in his career and in movie history. His portrayal of Don Corleone is unforgettable, powerhouse method acting at the highest level. And also his physical and emotional transformation from 'aging Don' to 'old Don' is pure brilliance. Brando will be remembered as one of the greatest actors of his generation and it will be mainly because of this film, and of course because of his other great performances in films like 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'On The Waterfront'. Al Pacino also delivers what may well be his best performance ever as Michael, even though he was equally good in 'The Godfather Part II'. Some of his scenes, namely the spellbinding murder of Sollozzo and McCluskey, are so well acted it's scary. Robert Duvall is also very impressive as Tom Hagen. James Caan delivers an astounding performance as hot-headed Sonny, and John Cazale is equally compelling as dim-witted Fredo, his character plays a small part here but would be further developed in 'The Godfather Part II'. As for the female cast, Diane Keaton (in her pre-Woody Allen days) is perfect as the shut-out Kay. Talia Shire, who also happens to be Coppola's sister, was an inspired choice to play Connie, and even though she plays a small role here, she would grow as an actress and her character would also grow more important in 'The Godfather Part II'. Richard S. Castellano and Abe Vigoda are typecast as Don Corleone's Caporegime; Clemenza and Tessio respectively, they are perfect in their roles, and even though they don't get any big scenes they're still unforgettable. And then there's a whole line of memorable supporting characters of which I'll name only a few; Jack Woltz (John Marley), Barzini (Richard Conte), Sollozzo (Al Lettieri), Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo), etc. And then there's Al Martino as Johnny Fontaine who is more than quietly made to resemble Frank Sinatra, who was also rumored to be the Godson of an Italian family that may or may not be mixed up in dirty business. Many say that this is the way he got the part in 'From Here To Eternity' that won him an Oscar. Then there are the technical aspects of the film, which are dazzling. The Coppola-Puzo script is perfection, memorable dialogue throughout and not one line of dialogue seems out of place. The script follows no formulas or cliches it instead created them. Easily among the best screenplays ever written. Gordon Willis' dark cinematography is atmospheric, deeply evocative and captures the film's essence perfectly. Coppola flew to Italy specifically to find Nino Rota, who scored some of Fellini's films, to make the famous musical score for 'The Godfather'. He created one of the most famous scores of all time, a haunting score that at the same time exudes nostalgia. To finish, I want to say that this is not a crime film or an action film, it has those elements in the plot, but it's basically a movie about family and the succession of power through the generations. 'The Godfather' remains one of the most moving, expertly crafted films of all time and will always remain as my all-time favorite. Extras: the infant that is being baptized is actually Coppola's daughter Sofia. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 10! Masterpiece
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "leave the gun,take the cannoli",
This review is from: The Godfather (DVD)much has been said about how great this film is,and i hesitated for the longest time before breaking down,but finally i bought the Restoration Box set which contains the three films and two bonus discs.so,after watching this first film,i must say i was pretty impressed.it's a well crafted film.at a running time of just over one hundred and seventy three minutes,you'd never know it.there never a dull moment.it's exceptionally engrossing from the opening frame to the closing credits.the acting is superb.Marlon Brandon is excellent,but i would say that a young Al Pacino matches him.the dialogue is also well written.for me,The Godfather is a 5/5
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look For the Little Things,
A few little things in the film are notable for me in
clarifying the contradictory personalities of the characters.
(1) In the scene where Sonny smashes the camera of the
man photographing the vehicles parked at his sister's
wedding, he throws down a couple of bills to the photographer
as he is walking away. Sonny may be violent, but he
isn't a thief!
(2) In the scene at the beginning where singer Johnny
Fontaine is complaining about his problems to Vito
Corleone, Corleone tells Johnny that he is too thin
and should eat more. It is touching how this mafia
don who has people "rubbed out" is concerned about
the health of his friend like a Jewish mother.
(3) When Clemenza kills his co-worker Pauley, he
tells the fellow who actually did the shooting
to "leave the gun and take the cannoli" which he
promised to bring to his wife as he was leaving
for "work" that day. A concientious husband! (and
(4) Michael, at the end of the film, chews his wife
out for asking about his "personal business". Finally,
he gives in and tells her....a lie, that he didn't
rub out Carlo, his brother-in-law. Didn't he think
she knew what was really going on? And why does
she keep playing along with the lie? Everyone is
really lying to themselves and continuing with the
(5) When the heads of the "five families" get together
to regulate the narcotics trade, they agree that it
shouldn't be sold near schools. That, presumably,
wouldn't be moral or ethical, but selling it elsewhere
would be ? (or is it they are being pragmatic and think
that the authorities won't
crack down on them if they sell somewhere else).
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A definite classic, but overrated?,
The extended opening scene of the wedding sets the tone for the entire movie, showing Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, the all powerful Godfather who grants priveledges and life and death to all that come before him. We also meet the advisor Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), Sonny Coreone (James Caan) and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino.)
Michael utters the line, "I'm not like my father." Then the rest of the movie shows Michael's slow transformation into a man exactly like his father. The movie shows the reasons why Michael would change, but don't actually show him changing. Michael just gradually takes control of the business. The scenes in Italy with his wife were especially touching. Her death probably shaped him more than anything, and made him realize he would never be safe unless he went on the offensive.
My problem with the movie is how it sped through time, covering years at a time. In one scene, Michael asks Diane Keaton to marry him. The next scene they are both in, Michael has couple of kids.
The Godfather is the father of all modern day gangster movies and this is a definite classic, with star power and intense drama.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Family,
This review is from: NEW Godfather (DVD) (DVD)There is simply no other way to make 3 hours go by this quickly. Unless you're watching The Godfather Part II of course.
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Magnificent,
3.0 out of 5 stars Better Get the Collection,
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the all time great movies!!,
5.0 out of 5 stars The Godfather is Dead,
From now on the scene in "The Godfather" when Vito Corleone dies in the garden will have added significance and meaning to all of us who admired "The Godfather," next to "Citizen Kane," surely the greatest movie ever made.
In Memoriam. Marlon Brando (April 3, 1924 - July 1, 2004)
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The Godfather (Blu-ray)