The Godfather : America’s Best Movies –The Godfather is a 1972 crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo. The film tells the story of the Corleone family, a powerful Italian-American mafia clan, as they navigate the criminal underworld of New York City in the 1940s and 1950s.
The film begins with the patriarch of the family, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), being approached by a rival gangster, Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo (Al Lettieri), with a business proposal. Sollozzo wants Vito’s support in a drug trafficking operation, but Vito refuses, citing his desire to keep his family out of the criminal world.
Sollozzo, however, will not take no for an answer, and soon after, Vito is shot and nearly killed in a hit orchestrated by Sollozzo. With Vito out of commission, his eldest son, Michael (Al Pacino), takes over the family business, and sets out to avenge his father’s attack by ordering the execution of Sollozzo and police captain Mark McCluskey.
With Sollozzo and McCluskey dead, Michael becomes the de facto head of the Corleone family, and the film follows his rise to power as he consolidates control over the other New York City gangs and expands the Corleone’s criminal empire. Along the way, Michael also struggles with his own conscience, as he realizes that the life of a mafia boss comes with a heavy toll on both himself and his loved ones.
Throughout the film, we also see the other members of the Corleone family, including Vito’s wife, Carmela (Diane Keaton); his other sons, Fredo (John Cazale) and Sonny (James Caan); and his daughter, Connie (Talia Shire). Each of them, in their own way, is affected by the family’s criminal activities, and the film explores the complex relationships between them all.
One of the most iconic scenes in the film is the “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” scene, where Vito is being threatened by a rival Gangster, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) who is Vito’s adopted son and consigliere, goes to the rival’s home, and makes the rival an offer he cannot refuse, in which he gets him to back off from his threats to Vito.
The Godfather is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, and it won multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Marlon Brando. The film’s portrayal of the criminal underworld and the Corleone family’s rise to power has become iconic, and it has had a significant impact on popular culture. The film’s sequel, The Godfather: Part II, was also critically acclaimed, and the two films together are often considered one of the greatest film trilogies of all time.