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THE GODFATHER is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy , based on Mario Puzo 's best-selling novel of the same name . It stars Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
and Al Pacino as the leaders of a fictional New York crime family. The story, spanning 1945 to 1955, chronicles the family under the patriarch Vito Corleone
Corleone
, focusing on the transformation of Michael Corleone (Pacino) from reluctant family outsider to ruthless mafia boss .

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
obtained the rights to the novel for the price of $80,000, before it gained popularity. Studio executives had trouble finding a director; their first few candidates turned down the position. They and Coppola disagreed over who would play several characters, in particular, Vito and Michael. Filming was done on location and completed earlier than scheduled. The musical score was composed primarily by Nino Rota
Nino Rota
with additional pieces by Carmine Coppola .

The film was the highest-grossing film of 1972 and was for a time the highest-grossing film ever made . It won the Oscars for Best Picture , Best Actor (Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Puzo and Coppola). Its seven other Oscar nominations included Pacino, James Caan , and Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
for Best Supporting Actor and Coppola for Best Director .

The Godfather
The Godfather
is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in world cinema and one of the most influential, especially in the gangster genre. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
in 1990, being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and is ranked the second-greatest film in American cinema (behind Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
) by the American Film Institute . It was followed by sequels The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990).

CONTENTS

* 1 Plot * 2 Cast

* 3 Production

* 3.1 Development

* 3.2 Direction

* 3.2.1 Coppola and Paramount

* 3.3 Writing * 3.4 Casting * 3.5 Filming * 3.6 Music

* 4 Release

* 4.1 Box office * 4.2 Critical response

* 4.3 Accolades

* 4.3.1 American Film Institute recognition

* 5 Cinematic influence

* 5.1 Popular culture and legacy * 5.2 Television

* 6 Home media

* 6.1 The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration * 6.2 Video game

* 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 Bibliography * 11 External links

PLOT

In 1945, at his daughter Connie's wedding, Vito Corleone hears requests in his role as the Godfather, the Don of a New York crime family. Vito's youngest son, Michael , who was a Marine during World War II , introduces his girlfriend, Kay Adams , to his family at the reception. Johnny Fontane , a famous singer and Vito's godson , seeks Vito's help in securing a movie role; Vito dispatches his consigliere , Tom Hagen , to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
to persuade the obnoxious studio head Jack Woltz , into giving Johnny the part. Woltz refuses until he wakes up in bed with the severed head of his prized stallion .

Shortly before Christmas, drug baron Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo , backed by the Tattaglia crime family, asks Vito for investment in his narcotics business and protection through his political connections. Wary of involvement in a dangerous new trade that risks alienating political insiders, Vito declines. Suspicious, Vito sends his enforcer, Luca Brasi
Luca Brasi
, to spy on them. However, a Tattaglia button man garrotes Brasi during Brasi's first meeting with Bruno Tattaglia
Bruno Tattaglia
and Sollozzo. Later Sollozzo has Vito gunned down in the street, then kidnaps Hagen. With Corleone
Corleone
first-born Sonny in command, Sollozzo pressures Hagen to persuade Sonny to accept Sollozzo's deal, then releases him. The family receives fish wrapped in Brasi's bullet-proof vest, indicating that Luca "sleeps with the fishes." Vito survives, and at the hospital Michael thwarts another attempt on his father; Michael's jaw is broken by NYPD
NYPD
Captain Marc McCluskey, Sollozzo's bodyguard. Sonny retaliates with a hit on Bruno Tattaglia. Michael plots to murder Sollozzo and McCluskey: on the pretext of settling the dispute, Michael agrees to meet them in a Bronx restaurant. There, retrieving a planted handgun, he kills both men.

Despite a clampdown by the authorities, the Five Families
Five Families
erupt in open warfare and Vito's sons fear for their safety. Michael takes refuge in Sicily
Sicily
and Fredo is sheltered by Moe Greene in Las Vegas
Las Vegas
. Sonny attacks his brother-in-law Carlo on the street for abusing his sister and threatens to kill him if it happens again. When it does, Sonny speeds to their home, but is ambushed at a highway toll booth and riddled with submachine gun fire. While in Sicily, Michael meets and marries Apollonia Vitelli, but a car bomb intended for him takes her life.

Devastated by Sonny's death, Vito moves to end the feuds. Realizing that the Tattaglias are controlled by the now-dominant Don Emilio Barzini , Vito assures the Five Families
Five Families
that he will withdraw his opposition to their heroin business and forgo avenging his son's murder. His safety guaranteed, Michael returns home to enter the family business and marry Kay, who gives birth to two children by the early 1950s.

With his father at the end of his career and his brother too weak, Michael takes the family reins, promising his wife the business will be legitimate within five years. To that end, he insists Hagen relocate to Las Vegas
Las Vegas
and relinquish his role to Vito because Tom is not a "wartime consigliere"; Vito agrees Tom should "have no part in what will happen" in the coming battles with rival families. When Michael travels to Las Vegas
Las Vegas
to buy out Greene's stake in the family's casinos, their partner derides the Corleones for being run out of New York; Michael is dismayed to see that Fredo has fallen under Greene's sway.

Vito suffers a fatal heart attack . At the funeral, Tessio , a Corleone
Corleone
capo , asks Michael to meet with Don Barzini, signalling the betrayal that Vito had forewarned. The meeting is set for the same day as the christening of Connie’s baby. While Michael stands at the altar as the child's godfather, Corleone
Corleone
assassins murder the other New York dons and Moe Greene. Tessio is executed for his treachery and Michael extracts Carlo’s confession to his complicity in setting up Sonny's murder for Barzini. A Corleone
Corleone
capo, Clemenza , garrotes Carlo with a wire. Connie accuses Michael of the murder, telling Kay that Michael ordered all the killings. Kay is relieved when Michael finally denies it, but, when the capos arrive, they address her husband as Don Corleone, and she watches as they close the door on her.

CAST

Al Pacino
Al Pacino
as Michael Corleone Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
as Vito Corleone

* Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
, in the title role, is Vito Corleone (born Vito Andolini), the Don of the Corleone
Corleone
crime family . A native Sicilian , he is married to Carmela Corleone and the father of Tom (adoptive), Sonny, Fredo, Michael, and Connie. * Al Pacino
Al Pacino
as Michael Corleone , the Don's third son, recently returned from World War II. The only college-educated family member, he is initially steered from the family business. His progression from the family's last-born son to its ruthless boss is the main subject matter of the film. * James Caan
James Caan
as Santino "Sonny" Corleone
Corleone
, Don Corleone's hot-headed eldest son. As underboss , he is the heir-apparent to succeed his father as head of the Corleone
Corleone
family. * Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
as Tom Hagen , Don Corleone's informally adopted son, he is the family lawyer and consigliere . Unlike the Corleones, he is of German -Irish descent, not Sicilian. * Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton
as Kay Adams-Corleone , Michael's non-Italian girlfriend and his second wife and mother of his two children. * John Cazale
John Cazale
as Frederico "Fredo" Corleone
Corleone
, the middle son of the Corleone
Corleone
family. Deeply insecure and not very bright, he is considered the weakest Corleone
Corleone
brother. * Talia Shire as Constanzia "Connie" Corleone
Corleone
, the youngest child and only daughter of the Corleone
Corleone
family. Her wedding reception begins the film. * Gianni Russo as Carlo Rizzi , Connie's abusive husband. Introduced to the Corleone family by Sonny, whom he ultimately betrays to the Barzini family. * Richard S. Castellano as Peter Clemenza
Peter Clemenza
, a caporegime for the Corleone
Corleone
family. He is an old friend of Vito Corleone and Salvatore Tessio. * Abe Vigoda
Abe Vigoda
as Salvatore Tessio
Salvatore Tessio
, a caporegime for the Corleone family. He is an old friend of Vito Corleone and Peter Clemenza. * Al Lettieri
Al Lettieri
as Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo , a heroin dealer associated with the Tattaglia family. He seeks both financial investment and the protection of the Tattaglia family's narcotics business through Don Corleone's political connections. * Sterling Hayden
Sterling Hayden
as Captain Mark McCluskey , a corrupt NYPD
NYPD
police captain on Sollozzo's payroll . * Lenny Montana as Luca Brasi
Luca Brasi
, Vito Corleone's enforcer . * Richard Conte
Richard Conte
as Emilio Barzini
Emilio Barzini
, Don of the Barzini family. * Al Martino
Al Martino
as Johnny Fontane , a world-famous singer and Vito's godson . The character is loosely based on Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
. * John Marley as Jack Woltz , a powerful Hollywood producer. * Alex Rocco
Alex Rocco
as Moe Greene , a longtime associate of the Corleone family who owns a Las Vegas
Las Vegas
hotel. The character is based on Bugsy Siegel . * Morgana King as Carmela Corleone , Vito's wife and mother of Sonny, Fredo, Michael, and Connie, and adoptive mother to Tom Hagen . * Salvatore Corsitto as Amerigo Bonasera , a mortician who, in the opening scene, asks Don Corleone
Corleone
for revenge against two boys who severely beat and attempted to rape his daughter. * Corrado Gaipa as Don Tommasino , an old friend of Vito Corleone, who shelters Michael during his exile in Sicily. * Franco Citti as Calò, Michael's bodyguard in Sicily. * Angelo Infanti as Fabrizio, Michael's bodyguard in Sicily. He helped set up the assassination attempt on Michael that kills Apollonia. * Johnny Martino as Paulie Gatto , a soldier under Peter Clemenza and Vito's driver. He is executed for his part in the assassination attempt on Vito. * Victor Rendina as Philip Tattaglia , Don of the Tattaglia family. * Tony Giorgio as Bruno Tattaglia
Bruno Tattaglia
, Philip Tattaglia's son and underboss of the Tattaglia family. Sonny Corleone has him assassinated in retaliation for the shooting of Vito Corleone. * Simonetta Stefanelli as Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone , a young woman Michael meets and marries while in Sicily. She is killed a few months later in an assassination attempt on Michael. * Rudy Bond as Don Cuneo, head of the New York-based Cuneo family . * Louis Guss as Don Zaluchi, Don of the Zaluchi family of Detroit. * Tom Rosqui as Rocco Lampone , a soldier under Clemenza who eventually becomes a caporegime in the Corleone
Corleone
family. * Joe Spinell
Joe Spinell
as Willi Cicci , a soldier in the Corleone
Corleone
family. * Richard Bright as Al Neri , Michael Corleone's personal bodyguard and hitman who eventually becomes a caporegime. * Julie Gregg as Sandra Corleone
Sandra Corleone
, Sonny's wife and later widow, and the mother of their four children. * Jeannie Linero as Lucy Mancini , Sonny's mistress. * Sofia Coppola (uncredited) as infant Michael Francis Rizzi, the nephew and godson of Michael Corleone.

PRODUCTION

DEVELOPMENT

The film is based on Mario Puzo 's The Godfather
The Godfather
; a novel that remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 67 weeks and sold over nine million copies in two years. Published in 1969, it became the best selling published work in history for several years. Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
originally found out about Puzo's novel in 1967 when a literary scout for the company contacted then Paramount Vice President of Production Peter Bart about Puzo's sixty-page unfinished manuscript. Bart believed the work was "much beyond a Mafia story" and offered Puzo a $12,500 option for the work, with an option for $80,000 if the finished work were made into a film. Despite Puzo's agent telling him to turn down the offer, Puzo was desperate for money and accepted the deal. Paramount's Robert Evans relates that, when they met in early 1968, it was he who offered Puzo the $12,500 deal for the 60-page manuscript titled Mafia after the author confided in him that he urgently needed $10,000 to pay off gambling debts.

In March 1967, Paramount announced that they backed Puzo's upcoming work in the hopes of making a film. In 1969, Paramount confirmed their intentions to make a film out of the novel for the price of $80,000, with aims to have the film released on Christmas Day in 1971. On March 23, 1970, Albert S. Ruddy was officially announced as the film's producer, in part because studio executives were impressed with his interview and because he was known for bringing his films in under budget.

DIRECTION

Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
was selected as director, as Paramount wanted the picture to be directed by an Italian American
Italian American
to make the film "ethnic to the core".

Evans wanted the picture to be directed by an Italian American
Italian American
to make the film "ethnic to the core". Paramount's latest mafia based movie, The Brotherhood , had been a box office bomb; Evans believed that the reason for its failure was its almost complete lack of cast members or creative personnel of Italian descent (the director Martin Ritt and star Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
were both Jewish). Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone
was Paramount's first choice to direct the film. Leone turned down the option to work on his own gangster film Once Upon a Time in America
Once Upon a Time in America
. Peter Bogdanovich
Peter Bogdanovich
was then approached but he also declined the offer because he was not interested in the mafia. In addition, Peter Yates , Richard Brooks
Richard Brooks
, Arthur Penn
Arthur Penn
, Costa-Gavras , and Otto Preminger were all offered the position and declined. Evans' chief assistant Peter Bart suggested Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
, as a director of Italian ancestry who would work for a low sum and budget after the poor reception of his latest film The Rain People . Coppola initially turned down the job because he found Puzo's novel sleazy and sensationalist, describing it as "pretty cheap stuff". At the time Coppola's studio, American Zoetrope
American Zoetrope
, owed over $400,000 to Warner Bros. for budget overruns with the film THX 1138
THX 1138
and when coupled with his poor financial standing, along with advice from friends and family, Coppola reversed his initial decision and took the job. Coppola was officially announced as director of the film on September 28, 1970. Paramount had offered twelve other directors the job with The Godfather
The Godfather
before Coppola agreed. Coppola agreed to receive $125,000 and six percent of the gross rentals.

Coppola And Paramount

Before The Godfather
The Godfather
was in production, Paramount had been going through an unsuccessful period. In addition to the failure of The Brotherhood, the studio had usurped their budget for their recent films: Darling Lili
Darling Lili
, Paint Your Wagon , and Waterloo . The budget for the film was originally $2.5 million but as the book grew in popularity Coppola argued for and ultimately received a larger budget. Paramount executives wanted the movie to be set in then modern-day Kansas City
Kansas City
and shot in the studio backlot in order to cut down on costs. Coppola objected and wanted to set the movie in the same time period as its eponymous novel, the 1940s and 1950s; Coppola's reasons included: Michael Corleone's Marine Corps stint, the emergence of corporate America, and America in the years after World War II. The executives eventually agreed to Coppola's wish as the novel became increasingly successful. The studio heads subsequently let Coppola film on location in New York City and Sicily.

Gulf "> Al Pacino
Al Pacino
(pictured above in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel ) was chosen to portray Michael Corleone

Puzo was first to show interest in having Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
portray Don Vito Corleone by sending a letter to Brando in which he stated Brando was the "only actor who can play the Godfather." Despite Puzo's wishes, the executives at Paramount were against having Brando play the part due to the poor success of his recent films and his short temper. Coppola favored Brando or Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
for the role, but Olivier's agent refused the role claiming Olivier was sick; however, Olivier went on to star in Sleuth later that year. The studio mainly pushed for Ernest Borgnine
Ernest Borgnine
to receive the part. Other considerations were George C. Scott
George C. Scott
, Richard Conte
Richard Conte
, Anthony Quinn
Anthony Quinn
, and Orson Welles
Orson Welles
.

After months of debate between Coppola and Paramount over Brando, the two finalists for the role were Borgnine and Brando, the latter of which Paramount president Stanley Jaffe required to perform a screen test. Coppola did not want to offend Brando and stated that he needed to test equipment in order to set up the screen test at Brando's California
California
residence. For make-up, Brando stuck cotton balls in his cheeks, put shoe polish in his hair to darken it, and rolled his collar. Coppola placed Brando's audition tape in the middle of the videos of the audition tapes as the Paramount executives watched them. The executives were impressed with Brando's efforts and allowed Coppola to cast Brando for the role if Brando accepted a lower salary and put up a bond to ensure he would not cause any delays in production.

From the start of production, Coppola wanted Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
to play the part of Tom Hagen. After screen testing several other actors, Coppola eventually got his wish and Duvall was awarded the part of Tom Hagen. Al Martino
Al Martino
, a then famed singer in nightclubs, was notified of the character Johnny Fontane by a friend who read the eponymous novel and felt Martino represented the character of Johnny Fontane. Martino then contacted producer Al Ruddy , who gave him the part. However, Martino was stripped of the part after Coppola became director and then awarded the role to Italian singer Vic Damone . Damone eventually dropped the role because he did not want to play an anti- Italian American
Italian American
character, in addition to being paid too little. According to Martino, after being stripped of the role, he went to his godfather and crime boss Russ Bufalino who then orchestrated the publication of various news articles that talked of how Coppola was unaware of Ruddy giving Martino the part; that, when coupled with pressure from the mafia who felt Martino deserved the role, led Damone to quit as Fontane. Either way, the part of Johnny Fontane ended up with Martino. James Caan
James Caan
(pictured in 1976) was chosen to play Sonny Corleone

Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro
originally was given the part of Paulie Gatto. A spot in The Gang That Couldn\'t Shoot Straight opened up after Al Pacino quit the project in favor of The Godfather, which led De Niro to audition for the role and leave The Godfather
The Godfather
after receiving the part. After De Niro quit, Johnny Martino was given the role of Gatto. Coppola cast Diane Keaton
Diane Keaton
for the role of Kay Adams due to her reputation for being eccentric . John Cazale
John Cazale
was given the part of Fredo Corleone after Coppola saw him perform in an Off Broadway production. Gianni Russo was given the role of Carlo Rizzi after he was asked to perform a screen test in which he acted out the fight between Rizzi and Connie.

Nearing the start of filming on March 29, Michael Corleone had yet to be cast. Paramount executives wanted a popular actor, either Warren Beatty or Robert Redford
Robert Redford
. Producer Robert Evans wanted Ryan O\'Neal to receive the role in part due to his recent success in Love Story . Pacino was Coppola's favorite for the role as he could picture him roaming the Sicilian countryside, and wanted an unknown actor who looked like an Italian-American. However, Paramount executives found Pacino to be too short to play Michael. Dustin Hoffman , Martin Sheen
Martin Sheen
, and James Caan
James Caan
also auditioned. Caan was well received by the Paramount executives and was given the part of Michael initially, while the role of Sonny Corleone was awarded to Carmine Caridi . Coppola still pushed for Pacino to play Michael after the fact and Evans eventually conceded, allowing Pacino to have the role of Michael as long as Caan played Sonny. Evans preferred Caan over Caridi because Caan was seven inches shorter than Caridi, which was much closer to Pacino's height. Despite agreeing to play Michael Corleone, Pacino was contracted to star in MGM's The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, but the two studios agreed on a settlement and Pacino was signed by Paramount three weeks before shooting began.

Coppola gave several roles in the film to family members. He gave his sister, Talia Shire , the role of Connie Corleone. His daughter Sofia played Michael Francis Rizzi, Connie's and Carlo's newborn son. Carmine Coppola , his father, appeared in the film as an extra playing a piano during a scene. Coppola's wife, mother, and two sons all appeared as extras in the picture. Several smaller roles, like Luca Brasi
Luca Brasi
, were cast after the filming had started.

FILMING

Before the filming began, the cast received a two-week period for rehearsal, which included a dinner where each actor and actress had to assume character for its duration. Filming was scheduled to begin on March 29, 1971, with the scene between Michael Corleone and Kay Adams as they leave Best however snow never materialized and a snow machine was used. Principal filming in New York continued until July 2, 1971. Coppola asked for a three-week break before heading overseas to film in Sicily. Following the crew's departure for Sicily, Paramount announced that the release date would be moved from December to spring 1972. The Don Barzini assassination scene was filmed on the steps of the New York Supreme Court building on Foley Square
Foley Square
in Manhattan
Manhattan

Cinematographer Gordon Willis initially turned down the opportunity to film The Godfather
The Godfather
because the production seemed "chaotic" to him. After Willis later accepted the offer, he and Coppola agreed to not use any modern filming devices, helicopters, or zoom lenses. Willis and Coppola chose to use a "tableau format" of filming to make it seem if it was viewed like a painting. He made use of shadows and low light levels throughout the film to showcase psychological developments. Willis and Coppola agreed to interplay light and dark scenes throughout the film. Willis underexposed the film in order to create a "yellow tone." The scenes in Sicily
Sicily
were shot to display the countryside and "display a more romantic land," giving these scenes a "softer, more romantic" feel than the New York scenes. 1941 Packard Super Eight
Packard Super Eight
featured in The Godfather
The Godfather

One of the film's most shocking moments involved an actual, severed, horse's head. Coppola received some criticism for the scene, although the head was obtained from a dog-food company from a horse that was to be killed regardless of the film. On June 22, the scene where Sonny is killed was shot on a runway at Mitchel Field in Mineola, where three tollbooths were built, along with guard rails, and billboards to set the scene. Sonny's car was a 1941 Lincoln Continental with holes drilled in it to resemble bullet holes. The scene took three days to film and cost over $100,000.

Coppola's request to film on location was observed; approximately 90 percent was shot in New York City and its surrounding suburbs, using over 120 unique locations. Several scenes were filmed at the Filmways Studio in East Harlem
East Harlem
. The remaining portions were filmed in California, or on-site in Sicily, except for the scenes set in Las Vegas because there were insufficient funds to travel there. Savoca and Forza d\'Agrò were the Sicilian towns featured in the film. The opening wedding scene was shot in a Staten Island
Staten Island
neighborhood using almost 750 locals as extras. The house used as the Corleone household and the wedding location was at 110 Longfellow Road in the Todt Hill
Todt Hill
neighborhood of Staten Island. The wall around the Corleone
Corleone
compound was made from styrofoam . Scenes set in and around the Corleone
Corleone
olive oil business were filmed on Mott Street
Mott Street
.

After filming had ended on August 7, post-production efforts were focused on trimming the film to a manageable length. In addition, producers and director were still including and removing different scenes from the end product, along with trimming certain sequences. In September, the first rough cut of the film was viewed. Of the scenes removed from the film, many were centered around Sonny because they did not advance the plot. By November, Coppola and Ruddy finished the semifinal cut. Debates over personnel involved with the final editing remained even 25 years after the release of the film. The film began to be shown to Paramount staff and exhibitors in late December and going into the new year.

MUSIC

See also: The Godfather (soundtrack)

Love theme from The Godfather
The Godfather
The famous theme, composed by Larry Kusic and Nino Rota
Nino Rota
. -------------------------

Problems playing this file? See media help .

Coppola hired Italian composer Nino Rota
Nino Rota
to create the underscore for the film, including the main theme, " Speak Softly Love ". For the score, Rota was to relate to the situations and characters in the film. Rota synthesized new music for the film and took some parts from his Fortunella score, in order to create an Italian feel and evoke the tragic film's themes. Paramount executive Evans found the score to be too "highbrow" and did not want to use it; however, it was used after Coppola managed to get Evans to agree. Coppola believed that Rota's musical piece gave the film even more of an Italian feel. Coppola's father, Carmine , created some additional music for the film, particularly the music played by the band during the opening wedding scene. There are a total of nine instances within the film where incidental music can be heard.

There was a soundtrack released for the film in 1972 in vinyl form by Paramount Records , on CD in 1991 by Geffen Records , and digitally by Geffen on August 18, 2005. The album contains over 31 minutes of music coming from the movie, with most being composed by Rota, along with a song from Coppola and one by Johnny Farrow and Marty Symes . Allmusic gave the album five out of five stars, with editor Zach Curd saying it is a "dark, looming, and elegant soundtrack." An editor for Filmtracks believed that Rota did a great job of relating the music to the core aspects of the film, which the editor believed to be "tradition, love, and fear."

RELEASE

The world premiere for The Godfather
The Godfather
took place in New York City on March 14, 1972, almost three months after the planned release date of Christmas Day in 1971, with profits from the premiere donated to The Boys Club of New York. Before the film premiered, the film had already made $15 million from rentals from over 400 theaters. The following day, the film opened in New York at five theaters. Next was Los Angeles
Los Angeles
at two theaters on March 22. The Godfather
The Godfather
was commercially released on March 24, 1972, throughout the rest of the United States
United States
. The film reached 316 theaters around the country five days later.

BOX OFFICE

The Godfather
The Godfather
was a blockbuster , breaking many box office records to become the highest grossing film of 1972 . It earned $81.5 million in theatrical rentals in the USA & Canada during its initial release, increasing its earnings to $85.7 million through a reissue in 1973, and including a limited re-release in 1997 it ultimately earned an equivalent exhibition gross of $135 million. It displaced Gone with the Wind to claim the record as the top rentals earner, a position it would retain until the release of Jaws in 1975. News articles at the time proclaimed it was the first film to gross $100 million in North America, but such accounts are erroneous since this record in fact belongs to The Sound of Music , released in 1965. The film repeated its native success overseas, earning in total an unprecedented $142 million in worldwide theatrical rentals, to become the highest net earner . Profits were so high for The Godfather
The Godfather
that earnings for Gulf ">'s Andrew Sarris believed Brando portrayed Vito Corleone well and that his character dominated each scene it appeared in, but felt Puzo and Coppola had the character of Michael Corleone too focused on revenge. In addition, Sarris stated that Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, and James Caan
James Caan
were good in their respective roles.

Desson Howe of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
called the film a "jewel" and wrote that Coppola deserves most of the credit for the film. Writing for The New York Times
The New York Times
, Vincent Canby felt that Coppola had created one of the "most brutal and moving chronicles of American life" and went on to say that it "transcends its immediate milieu and genre." Director Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
thought the film had the best cast ever and could be the best movie ever made. Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic wrote negatively of the film in a contemporary review, claiming that Pacino "rattles around in a part too demanding for him," while also criticizing Brando's make-up and Rota's score.

Previous mafia films had looked at the gangs from the perspective of an outraged outsider. In contrast, The Godfather
The Godfather
presents the gangster's perspective of the Mafia as a response to corrupt society. Although the Corleone family is presented as immensely rich and powerful, no scenes depict prostitution, gambling, loan sharking or other forms of racketeering. Some critics argue that the setting of a criminal counterculture allows for unapologetic gender stereotyping, and is an important part of the film's appeal ("You can act like a man!", Don Vito tells a weepy Johnny Fontane).

Remarking on the fortieth anniversary of the film's release, film critic John Podhoretz praised The Godfather
The Godfather
as "arguably the great American work of popular art" and "the summa of all great moviemaking before it". Two years before, Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
wrote in his journal that it "comes closest to being a film everyone agrees... is unquestionably great."

ACCOLADES

The Godfather
The Godfather
was nominated for seven awards at the 30th Golden Globe Awards : Best Picture – Drama , James Caan
James Caan
for Best Supporting Actor , Al Pacino
Al Pacino
and Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
for Best Actor – Drama , Best Score , Best Director , and Best Screenplay . When the winners were announced on January 28, 1973, the film had won the categories for: Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor - Drama, Best Original Score, and Best Picture – Drama. The Godfather
The Godfather
won a record five Golden Globes, which was not surpassed until 2017.

Rota's score was also nominated for Grammy Award for Best Original Score for a Motion Picture or TV Special
Special
at the 15th Grammy Awards . Rota was announced the winner of the category on March 3 at the Grammys' ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
.

When the nominations for the 45th Academy Awards
Academy Awards
were revealed on February 12, 1973, The Godfather
The Godfather
was nominated for eleven awards. The nominations were for: Best Picture , Best Costume Design , Marlon Brando for Best Actor , Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
for Best Adapted Screenplay , Pacino, Caan, and Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
for Best Supporting Actor , Best Film Editing , Nino Rota
Nino Rota
for Best Original Score , Coppola for Best Director , and Best Sound . Upon further review of Rota's love theme from The Godfather
The Godfather
, the Academy found that Rota had used a similar score in Eduardo De Filippo
Eduardo De Filippo
's 1958 comedy Fortunella . This led to re-balloting, where members of the music branch chose from six films: The Godfather
The Godfather
and the five films that had been on the shortlist for best original dramatic score but did not get nominated. John Addison 's score for Sleuth won this new vote, and thus replaced Rota's score on the official list of nominees. Going into the awards ceremony, The Godfather
The Godfather
was seen as the favorite to take home the most awards. From the nominations that The Godfather had remaining, it only won three of the Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

Brando, who had also not attended the Golden Globes ceremony two months earlier, boycotted the Academy Awards
Academy Awards
ceremony and refused to accept the Oscar, becoming the second actor to refuse a Best Actor award after George C. Scott
George C. Scott
in 1970 . Brando sent American Indian Rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather in his place, to announce at the awards podium Brando's reasons for declining the award which were based on his objection to the depiction of American Indians by Hollywood and television. In addition, Pacino boycotted the ceremony. He was insulted at being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor award, noting that he had more screen time than his co-star and Best Actor winner Brando and thus he should have received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

The Godfather
The Godfather
had five nominations for awards at the 26th British Academy Film Awards . The nominees were: Pacino for Most Promising Newcomer , Rota for the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music , Duvall for Best Supporting Actor , and Brando for Best Actor , the film's costume designer Anna Hill Johnstone for Best Costume Design . All of The Godfather's nominations failed to win except for Rota.

Awards and nominations received by The Godfather
The Godfather
AWARD CATEGORY NOMINEE RESULT

45th Academy Awards
Academy Awards
Best Picture Albert S. Ruddy Won

Best Director Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Nominated

Best Actor (refused) Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Won

Best Supporting Actor James Caan
James Caan
Nominated

Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Nominated

Al Pacino
Al Pacino
Nominated

Best Adapted Screenplay Mario Puzo , Francis Ford Coppola Won

Best Costume Design Anna Hill Johnstone Nominated

Best Film Editing William Reynolds , Peter Zinner Nominated

Best Sound Bud Grenzbach , Richard Portman , Christopher Newman Nominated

Best Original Dramatic Score Nino Rota
Nino Rota
Revoked

26th British Academy Film Awards Best Actor Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
(Also for The Nightcomers ) Nominated

Best Supporting Actor Robert Duvall Nominated

Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Al Pacino Nominated

Best Film Music Nino Rota Won

Best Costume Design Anna Hill Johnstone Nominated

25th Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Francis Ford Coppola Won

30th Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture - Drama

Won

Best Director - Motion Picture Francis Ford Coppola Won

Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama Marlon Brando Won

Al Pacino Nominated

Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture James Caan Nominated

Best Screenplay Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola Won

Best Original Score Nino Rota Won

15th Grammy Awards Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special
Special
Nino Rota Won

25th Writers Guild of America Awards Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola Won

* 1990 Selected for preservation in the United States
United States
National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". * 1998 Time Out conducted a poll and The Godfather
The Godfather
was voted the best film of all time. * 1999 Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
named it the greatest film ever made. * 2002 Sight the critics poll separately voted it fourth. * 2002 The Godfather
The Godfather
was ranked the second best film of all time by Film4
Film4
, after Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back
. * 2005 Named one of the 100 greatest films of the last 80 years by Time magazine (the selected films were not ranked). * 2006 The Writers Guild of America, West
Writers Guild of America, West
agreed, voting it the number two in its list of the 101 greatest screenplays, after Casablanca . * 2008 Voted in at No. 1 on Empire magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. * 2012 The Motion Picture Editors Guild listed The Godfather
The Godfather
as the sixth best-edited film of all time based on a survey of its membership.

American Film Institute Recognition

* 1998 AFI\'s 100 Years...100 Movies – #3 * 2001 AFI\'s 100 Years...100 Thrills – #11

* 2005 AFI\'s 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes :

* "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse." – #2

* 2006 AFI\'s 100 Years of Film Scores – #5 * 2007 AFI\'s 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – #2 * 2008 AFI\'s 10 Top 10 – #1 Gangster Film

CINEMATIC INFLUENCE

Although many films about gangsters preceded The Godfather, Coppola's heavy infusion of Italian culture and stereotypes, and his portrayal of mobsters as characters of considerable psychological depth and complexity was unprecedented. Coppola took it further with The Godfather Part II, and the success of those two films, critically, artistically and financially, opened the doors for numerous other depictions of Italian Americans as mobsters, including films such as Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
's Goodfellas and TV series such as David Chase
David Chase
's The Sopranos . A comprehensive study of Italian American
Italian American
culture on film, conducted from 1996 to 2001 by the Italic Institute of America, showed that close to 300 movies featuring Italian Americans as mobsters (mostly fictitious) have been produced since The Godfather, an average of nine per year.

POPULAR CULTURE AND LEGACY

The Godfather
The Godfather
epic, encompassing the original trilogy and the additional footage Coppola incorporated later, is by now thoroughly integrated into American life and, together with a succession of mob-theme imitators, has led to a highly stereotyped concept of Italian American
Italian American
culture. The first film had the largest impact and, unlike any film before it, its depiction of Italians who immigrated to the United States
United States
in the early decades of the 20th century is perhaps attributable to the Italian American
Italian American
director, presenting his own understanding of their experience. The films explain through their action the integration of fictional Italian American
Italian American
criminals into American society. Though the story is set in the period of mass immigration to the U.S., it is rooted in the specific circumstances of the Corleones, a family that lives outside of the law. Although some critics have refashioned the Corleone
Corleone
story into one of universality of immigration, other critics have posited that it leads the viewer to identify organized crime with Italian American
Italian American
culture. Released in a period of intense national cynicism and self-criticism, the American film struck a chord about the dual identities inherent in a nation of immigrants. The Godfather
The Godfather
increased Hollywood's negative portrayals of immigrant Italians in the aftermath of the film and was a recruiting tool for organized crime.

The concept of a mafia "Godfather" was an invention of Mario Puzo's and the film's effect was to add the fictional nomenclature to the language. Similarly, Don Vito Corleone's unforgettable "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse"—voted the second-most memorable line in cinema history in AFI\'s 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes by the American Film Institute —was adopted by actual gangsters. In the French novel Le Père Goriot , Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac
wrote of Vautrin telling Eugene: "In that case I will make you an offer that no one would decline."

Real-life gangsters responded enthusiastically to the film, with many of them feeling it was a portrayal of how they were supposed to act. Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano , the former underboss in the Gambino crime family , stated: "I left the movie stunned ... I mean I floated out of the theater. Maybe it was fiction, but for me, then, that was our life. It was incredible. I remember talking to a multitude of guys, made guys , who felt exactly the same way." According to Anthony Fiato after seeing the film, Patriarca crime family members Paulie Intiso and Nicky Giso altered their speech patterns closer to that of Vito Corleone's. Intiso would frequently swear and use poor grammar; but after the movie came out, he started to articulate and philosophize more.

TELEVISION

John Belushi
John Belushi
appeared in a Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
sketch as Vito Corleone
Corleone
in a therapy session trying to express his inner feelings towards the Tattaglia Family , who, in addition to muscling in on his territory, "also, they shot my son Santino 56 times".

In the television show The Sopranos
The Sopranos
, Tony Soprano
Tony Soprano
's topless bar is named Bada Bing, echoing the line in The Godfather
The Godfather
when Sonny Corleone says, "You've gotta get up close like this and bada-bing! You blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit."

The film has been parodied several times on the animated television series The Simpsons
The Simpsons
. In the season three episode "Lisa\'s Pony " Lisa wakes up to find a horse in her bed and starts screaming. The music and the scene itself resemble the famous "horse's head" scene in The Godfather. In the season four episode " Mr. Plow ", the scene in which Sonny Corleone is shot at the tollbooth is mimicked when Bart Simpson is pelted with snowballs. The scene is again parodied in the season sixteen episode "All\'s Fair in Oven War ", which includes James Caan as himself in a guest voice role. In the season eighteen episode "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer ", the film's final scene is mimicked with a door being closed on Lisa Simpson
Lisa Simpson
.

HOME MEDIA

The theatrical version of The Godfather
The Godfather
debuted on American network television on November 16, 1974, on NBC
NBC
, and again two days later, with only minor edits. The airing on television attracted a large audience and helped generate anticipation for the upcoming sequel. The next year, Coppola created The Godfather Saga expressly for American television in a release that combined The Godfather
The Godfather
and The Godfather Part II with unused footage from those two films in a chronological telling that toned down the violent, sexual, and profane material for its NBC
NBC
debut on November 18, 1977. In 1981, Paramount released the Godfather Epic boxed set, which also told the story of the first two films in chronological order, again with additional scenes, but not redacted for broadcast sensibilities. The Godfather Trilogy was released in 1992, in which the films are fundamentally in a chronological order.

The Godfather
The Godfather
Family: A Look Inside was a 73-minute documentary released in 1991. Directed by Jeff Warner, the film featured some behind the scenes content from all three films, interviews with the actors, and screen tests. The Godfather
The Godfather
DVD Collection was released on October 9, 2001, in a package that contained all three films—each with a commentary track by Coppola—and a bonus disc containing The Godfather Family: A Look Inside. The DVD also held a Corleone
Corleone
family tree, a "Godfather" timeline, and footage of the Academy Award acceptance speeches.

THE GODFATHER: THE COPPOLA RESTORATION

During the film's original theatrical release, the original negatives were worn down due to the reel being printed so much to meet demand. In addition, the duplicate negative was lost in Paramount archives. In 2006 Coppola contacted Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
—whose studio DreamWorks had recently been bought out by Paramount—about restoring The Godfather. Robert A. Harris was hired to oversee the restoration of The Godfather
The Godfather
and its two sequels, with the film's cinematographer Willis participating in the restoration. Work began in November 2008 by repairing the negatives so they could go through a digital scanner to produce high resolution 4K files. If a negative were damaged and discolored, work was done digitally to restore it to its original look. After a year and a half of working on the restoration, the project was complete. Paramount called the finished product The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration and released it to the public on September 23, 2008, on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc
Blu-ray Disc
. Dave Kehr of The New York Times believed the restoration brought back the "golden glow of their original theatrical screenings". As a whole, the restoration of the film was well received by critics and Coppola. The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration contains several new special features that play in high definition, along with additional scenes.

VIDEO GAME

Main article: The Godfather (2006 video game)
The Godfather (2006 video game)

A video game based on the film was developed by Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts
and first released in 2006. Duvall, Caan, and Brando supplied voiceovers and their likenesses, but Pacino did not. Francis Ford Coppola openly voiced his disapproval of the game.

SEE ALSO

* List of American films of 1972 * The Godfather (film series)
The Godfather (film series)

NOTES

* ^ Sources disagree on the date where Paramount confirmed their intentions to make Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather
The Godfather
into a feature-length film. Harlan Lebo's work states that the announcement came in January 1969, while Jenny Jones' book puts the date of the announcement three months after the novel's publication, in June 1969.

* ^ Sources disagree on both the amount of the original budget and the final budget. The starting budget has been recorded as $1 million, $2 million, and $2.5 million, while the final budget has been named at $5 million, $6 million, and $6.5 million.

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The Godfather
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Academy Awards
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* ^ Box office

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The Godfather
(Re-issue) (1997)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved November 20, 2012. North America:$1,267,490 * Total: "The Godfather". Boxoffice . Retrieved June 23, 2013. Worldwide Gross: $245,066,411

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