The Godfather (1972)
IMDB Rating 9.2/10 175 min - Rated 18 Crime | Drama
Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan Director: Francis Ford Coppola
At its simplest, The Godfather is a film about a conflict within the Mafia, in fact, though, that conflict is simply the stage that Coppola uses to set out what he is really interested in; loyalty, family and, most importantly, power. Don Corleone (Brando) is the leader of a Mafia family, in dispute with the rest of the Mafia over a proposal to sell drugs. When he survives an assassination attempt it sparks a gang war and brings his eldest son Michael (Pacino) back into the family business. One of Coppola's neatest tricks is how he creates sympathy for the heroes and makes us care about them. No mean feat given the nature of their business, but this is achieved through limiting the scope of the film, most of which takes place in a family setting; wedding, baptism, home and business. The only crime is to take sides against the family. The Mafia, which runs protection and gambling rackets, is replaced with a more benevolent, paternal organization worthy of respect. The violence which touches the family is real but their own victims are never the blameless or innocent, but rather the treacherous and unworthy. The whole cast is wonderful but Brando, in particular, is faultless — powerful and utterly compelling. Pacino is also at the top of his game here; Michael is his father's son, quietly assured and confident of what he has to do, not necessarily liking it, but never hesitating. Add in to the mix a fine supporting cast and dark, rich cinematography and you have a film worthy of all the popular and critical acclaim.