Meeting the Don: Returning to The Godfather

The movie “The Godfather” has some of the most memorable lines of all time.

  • “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” 
  • “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
  • “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”

The quotes seem to be endless. 

  • “Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this justice a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.”
  • “Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again. Ever.”
  • “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

The movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family and celebrates its 50th anniversary next month. Paramount Pictures bought the rights to Mario Puzo’s novel published in 1969 and released the movie on March 24, 1972. The movie was the highest-grossing film of 1972 and was for a time the highest-grossing ever made.

The film won Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Puzo and Coppola). The movie kick-started the careers of Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and cemented the reputations of Marlon Brando and Coppola. Since its release, The Godfather has been widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

The best of the best

I’m not sure the first time I saw The Godfather. I think it was in the early ‘80s in middle school, but I can’t be certain. It could have been a few years earlier or later, who knows. I suspect it was some late late-night movie while the rest of my family slept. I just remember the dialogue and the content was nothing like I had ever seen. The movie kept you on your toes. 

I picked up the book soon after and was amazed at how both were equally good. I still have never had that experience where the book and movie are equally alike and different at the same time. I came away mesmerized.

The Corleone’s were like no family I knew, at least one that I saw up close. I was a rule-follower, but I couldn’t help but side with the Don. I liked the movie’s universal themes including loyalty and betrayal; rising up to the occasion; crime and justice; and never losing sight of your goals. I wanted my own Godfather to help me stand up to the bully who liked to trip me in the hallway or the equipment manager who hid my football gear before the start of practice.

The story fascinated me too. It was different than the John Wayne Westerns and World War II action movies that I tended to favor. There was action scenes, but it had smartly written conversations that naturally pulled me in. I wanted every movie to be that smart and thrilling. Boy, was I in for a surprise. 

Growing better with age

We’re going to be seeing lots of The Godfather over the next few months. The movie, along with the rest of the trilogy, has been restored and the first film will be returning to theaters for a limited engagement later this month. In addition, Paramount will be running a 10-part miniseries on how the movie got made starting in April. 

Hollywood remakes and reboots can be hit or miss. Some things though do grow well with age. I will always look back fondly on The Godfather

2 thoughts on “Meeting the Don: Returning to The Godfather

Add yours

    1. I agree with you Sheila. I’ll go one step further. I’m being a book snob, but I usually think the book is better too. There have only been a few instances where I thought the movie was better than what the author created and I conjured up in my brain. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

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