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Don Corleone
Marlon Brando
Don Corleone

Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather was a best-seller many times over when filming began in 1971. Controversy and turmoil surrounded the announcement of the project; protests were lodged by the Italian-American Civil Rights League and by Senators, Congressmen and New York State legislators. Bomb threats and actual intimidation took place. But meetings were held to reassure many of the discontented parties. Former foes became allies who agreed to participate in the making of the movie.

It was the task of producer Albert S. Ruddy and director Francis Ford Coppola to assemble the brilliant cast. Marlon Brando was one of the many distinguished actors being considered for the role of Don Vito Corleone, but the feeling for him was not uniformly positive. So eager was Brando for the part that he improvised props and makeup, darkening the shadows under his eyes with shoe polish and stuffing his cheeks with tissue for a privately filmed screen test. His classic characterization is one of moviedom's most memorable.

Glamorous and renowned contenders for the crucial supporting roles of the sons were ruled out in favor of lesser-known, more authentic-looking actors: James Caan, John Cazale and young Al Pacino, who skyrocketed to fame with his portrayal of Michael Corleone. Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, and many others etched their portraits with great skill to contribute to the epic film.

This care in casting extended to the smaller roles and even the extras, all of whom were coached in the atmosphere, mannerisms and attitudes of the times being filmed. In addition, meticulous attention to details of setting, place and time made the films models of depth and subtlety. Great care was taken to obtain correct costumes, props, cars and even properly-dated posters and handbills.

"It was my intention," says director-producer-screenwriter Coppola, "to make this an authentic piece of film about gangsters who were Italian, how they lived, how they behaved, the way they treated their families, celebrated their rituals." Coppola and Puzo collaborated on the three films' scripts, faithfully maintaining the spirit and complexity of THE GODFATHER.

The rhythm of the film is called by Coppola "legato, rather than staccato," easily flowing and building as the stories are developed. This cohesiveness is no small accomplishment, as the chronicle deals with three generations, encompassing literally hundreds of characters and complicated story lines.

THE GODFATHER was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won three for "Best Picture of 1972," "Best Actor" (Brando) and "Best Screenplay"

Directed by: Francis Coppola
Produced by: Albert S. Ruddy
Screenplay by: Francis Coppola
Mario Puzo
Cast: Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
James Caan as Sonny Corleone
Richard S. Castellano as Clemenza
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Sterling Hayden as Captain McCluskey
John Marley as Jack Woltz
Richard Conte as Barzini
Al Lettieri as Sollozzo
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams
Abe Vigoda as Tessio
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone

The Godfather is re-released on March 21, 1997 in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Portland, Phoenix, San Diego, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Miami, Detroit

This movie is rated for violence, mature themes and language, and brief nudity.
The Godfather has a running time of 2 hours and 51 minutes.

Soon To Come......!