The Godfather  

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The Godfather is a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, who co-wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, based on Puzo's best-selling 1969 novel of the same name. The film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, and Diane Keaton. It is the first installment in The Godfather trilogy. The story, spanning from 1945 to 1955, chronicles the Corleone family under patriarch Vito Corleone (Brando), focusing on the transformation of his youngest son, Michael Corleone (Pacino), from reluctant family outsider to ruthless mafia boss.

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; the first few candidates turned down the position before Coppola signed on to direct the film but disagreement followed over casting several characters, in particular, Vito and Michael. Filming took place primarily on location around New York City and in Sicily, and was completed ahead of schedule. The musical score was composed principally by Nino Rota, with additional pieces by Carmine Coppola.

The Godfather premiered at the Loew's State Theatre on March 14, 1972, and was widely released in the United States on March 24, 1972. It was the highest-grossing film of 1972, and was for a time the highest-grossing film ever made, earning between $246 and $287 million at the box office. The film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences, with praise for the performances, particularly those of Brando and Pacino, the directing, screenplay, cinematography, editing, score, and portrayal of the mafia. The Godfather acted as a catalyst for the successful careers of Coppola, Pacino, and other relative newcomers in the cast and crew. Additionally the film revitalized Brando's career, which had declined in the 1960s, and he went on to star in films such as Last Tango in Paris, Superman, and Apocalypse Now.

At the 45th Academy Awards, the film won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Puzo and Coppola). In addition, the seven other Oscar nominations included Pacino, Caan, and Duvall for Best Supporting Actor, and Coppola for Best Director. Since its release, The Godfather has been widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, especially in the gangster genre. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the 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) by the American Film Institute. It was followed by sequels The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990). Template:TOC limit

Plot

In 1945 New York City, at his daughter Connie's wedding to Carlo, Vito Corleone, the don of the Corleone crime family listens to requests. His 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 popular singer and Vito's godson, seeks Vito's help in securing a movie role; Vito dispatches his consigliere, Tom Hagen, to Los Angeles to persuade studio head Jack Woltz to give Johnny the part. Woltz refuses until he wakes up in bed with the severed head of his prized stallion.

Shortly before Christmas, drug baron 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, to spy on them. Brasi is garroted to death during his first meeting with Bruno Tattaglia and Sollozzo. Later, Sollozzo kidnaps Hagen, then has Vito gunned down in the street. Vito's eldest son Sonny takes 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 Capt. McCluskey, Sollozzo's unofficial bodyguard. Sonny retaliates with a hit on Tattaglia's son. The Corleones plot to murder Sollozzo and McCluskey; feigning a desire to settle the dispute, Michael meets them in a Bronx restaurant in which, after retrieving a handgun planted by Peter Clemenza, a Corleone capo, he kills both men.

Despite a clampdown by the authorities, war breaks out between the Five Families and Vito fears for his family. Michael takes refuge in Sicily and his elder brother Fredo is sheltered by Moe Greene in Las Vegas. Sonny attacks Carlo on the street for abusing Connie 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 violently murdered by rival gangsters wielding submachine guns. While in Sicily, Michael meets and marries Apollonia, but a car bomb intended for him takes her life.

Devastated by Sonny's death and realizing that the Tattaglias are controlled by the now-dominant don, Barzini, Vito attempts to end the feud. He assures the Five Families that he will withdraw his opposition to their heroin business and forgo avenging Sonny's murder. His safety guaranteed, Michael returns home to enter the family business and marry Kay, promising her that the business will be legitimate within five years. Kay gives birth to two children by the early 1950s. With his father nearing the end of his life and Fredo too weak, Michael takes the family reins, starting to move the family's business to Las Vegas. Expecting trouble due to this move, he insists Hagen also relocate to Las Vegas but relinquish his role to Vito because Hagen is not a "wartime consigliere". Vito agrees Hagen should "have no part in what will happen" in the coming battles with the rival families. When Michael travels to Las Vegas to buy out Greene's stake in the family's casinos, he is dismayed to see that Fredo is more loyal to Greene than to his own family.

In 1955, after warning Michael that whoever agrees to arrange a meeting between him and Barzini is a traitor, Vito suffers a fatal heart attack. At the funeral, Tessio, a Corleone capo, asks Michael to meet with Barzini, with the meeting set for the same day as the baptism of Connie's baby. While Michael stands at the altar as the child's godfather, Corleone hitmen murder the other New York City dons and Greene. Tessio's treachery leads to his execution. Michael extracts Carlo's confession to his complicity in setting up Sonny's murder for Barzini; Clemenza garrotes Carlo to death. Later, an enraged Connie accuses Michael of murdering her husband and tells Kay that Michael ordered all of the killings. Kay is at first relieved when Michael assents to discuss his business "this one time" and denies the accusation, but is dismayed when the capos arrive to pay reverence to her husband as Don Corleone and close his office door on her.

Cast

thumb|upright|Marlon Brando (standing) as Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as Michael Corleone|alt=A screenshot of Michael and Vito Corleone in The Godfather Template:Castlist



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