The Godfather, a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, released in 1972 is a story of an Italian American family, who has immigrated to America. It depicts the struggles in their family relationships as well as the brutality of organized crime.
This article seeks to describe a new breed of films that emerged in the 1970’s. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather was one of the films that epitomized and exemplified this type of film, which was the epic melodrama. The article describes this type of film as pessimistic and theatrical, with heavy political and social influences such as Vietnam and Watergate, as well as formal European influences, which fit well with the heavy emphasis in this film on Italian-Americans.
The films that fall into this category are characterized by the larger than life characters, the intense emotions, and most importantly the great battle between good and evil. In the case of The Godfather, this battle became an inner moral one, but nonetheless capable of creating just as much drama. As the article continues, this film, as a direct result of the melodrama, strikes a chord within audiences. It is suggested that perhaps this is simply because of the time during which it was released, and the political and social emotions that were still in the air as a result of Vietnam. Thus, ultimately the historical and political events of the time become “a springboard” through which these movies become about much larger issues. The Godfather, as claimed in the article is not simply about an Italian family linked to the mob, but also one of “greed, vengeance, and power.”
One of the symbolic manifestations in these films are the ways in which theater itself is brought into the script. In The Godfather, specifically, there are various instances before turning points in the film, or bits that are used to foreshadow, where Italian melodrama is viewed. Another important aspect to these films are the manner in which they are rooted in particular genres already, gangster films in the case of The Godfather, and thus particular scenes, such as the wedding, further place the film in this context as well as providing another layer, emphasizing the family and Italian heritage of the Corleones.
Chapter three in the book Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Trilogy, is entitled, “The Representation of Ethnicity in The Godfather.” The chapter focuses on the Italian-American heritage of the Corleone family, as well as that of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, in the analysis of how this factored into the film as well as the novel to create a very different tale.
The chapter opens with a quotation that claims this film has changed the term “godfather” from a parental, guiding figure, to that of a ruthless Italian killer. Of course, when one actually considers the representation of Don Corleone, while he may in fact be a ruthless Italian killer, he still possess family values, and a deep sense of thoughtfulness. In many ways he still is a wise and guiding figure. Of course, the film does nothing to take away from the stereotypical image of all Italians being in the mafia.
What the chapter then seeks to discover is why, specifically, Italian criminals seem to be more attractive a topic than crime in general, although the author does not deny that violence certainly is intriguing to most people regardless of the ethnicity that is involved in a particular situation.
There is then a continued discussion about the representation of Italians in The Godfather as a specific type of Italian, and not simply Italians in general. These are specifically those, as depicted, that have strong and firm attachments to their Italian roots, heritage, culture, and traditions, but have had all of these values “corroded” by American values. It is then ultimately the fact that the characters are Italian-American wherein the trouble really begins.The chapter suggests that the image of Italians put forth here are simply what society chose to view or cared to see at the time, but there are within the story underlying, unread aspects of being Italian-American.
This article discusses the way in which Italian-Americans have been portrayed in film within the larger context of minority representation in media. It begins with a statement regarding the announcement made prior to the first showing on television of the first two Godfather films. The announcement essentially claimed that no particular ethnicity was being depicted despite the fact that the film was taking place (initially) in Sicily, the family is Sicilian, they all have Italian names, and they were speaking in Italian.
The general representation of Italians was simply that of criminals involved in organized crime through their families. The disclaimer could have been seen as trying to avoid the kind of media influence the film might have, or simply called attention to it. In either case, it becomes very clear how extensive the effects media can have on the mind and on the belief systems of people, especially regarding minorities.
Immigrant films began in the early 1900’s often focused around the symbolic Italian as the minority. “Colored” minorities were met with a very different representation than the mildly funny representations of white minorities, but eventually this changed, and the representations were not nearly as harmless as they had once been.
The crime genre started to get big around the Great Depression. Essentially, in their pursuit of the American Dream, Italian-Americans and Chinese Americans came to be the front runners in media representations.The American Dream then quickly became twisted into a search for power and money. Greed and deception, combined with crime and violence became a center for the stereotypes, particularly of Italian-Americans. It seemed as though everyone Italian had a tie to organized crime. Ultimately, who became known as victims, and who were the victimizers depended on the time during which they were being depicted.
Bjorn Rombach and Rolf Solli, from the Goteborg University of Sweden, present, in this paper, an essential argument that, using The Godfather as a tool for reflection, is quite useful to be able to see how exactly leaders react in films. They begin with defining the three basic concepts of this mafia movie, which include “family, business, and violent crime,” while specifying that these should not be mixed.
Don Vito Corleone is the most significant character to be analyzed in the paper, and his actions are considered extensively with regards to the manner in which he leads. He is thoughtful, reprimanding, accusing, and forgiving. These are the qualities attributed to Don Vito that make him successful. His strength and ability to be stern make him a formidable opponent, all the while, a well-liked and well respected character because of his consideration for others and great emphasis on family values, old-fashioned and sexist though they may be. One of his greatest strengths is how well he knows people, which allows Don Vito to be more than a common gangster and a far better businessman, able to manipulate his opponents.
The article places great emphasis on decision-making with regards to the success of a leader. In Don Vito’s case, they use a model of rational decision making, as well as some specific examples, that depict Don Vito and very rational in his thought process, weighing the potential positive and negative outcomes of a given situation.
One of the more notable aspects of The Godfather is its rather slow pace in development. As this paper expresses, generally people appreciate quick paced films, but in this case it is the very slow movement that characterizes the film. This pace is underscored by the slow decision-making by Don Vito. The fact that he thinks things through, ultimately, makes him a better leader, and incredibly successful in the end as a result. By this film, slow pace and slow decisions are revered and rewarded as characteristics in a leader.
This article, focused specifically on Mario Puzo’s book, The Godfather, on which the film is based, and Puzo, who also did the screenplay for the film version, addresses the concerns and criticisms of the book. Firstly, the article states that the greatest criticism of the book is that it is too realistic, but it is argued in the article that this is in fact its best quality. Puzo should be praised for “making the outrageous plausible.” The trick, as described, in making Don Vito a likeable character is a strength, for example, because it creates a depth and complexity to the character.
The article continues with an extensive discussion as to whether or not Don Corleone is a barbarian where barbarian is a place between nature and civilization. He is not completely wild, and yet he is closer to his emotions and basic instincts than others. Yet he is still capable of complete reason, particularly when he is in the process of making a decision, as this stands out as a time when he clearly thinks things through.
Further, there follows a discussion as to whether the American dream, and American justice are dead within the movie. The article questions if this is one of the very bases of the movie considering certain symbols. They use the example of a character’s name to suggest it as a symbol that these are dying and something or someone will eventually have to come and fill their place.Don Corleone is then depicted as a god-like character, as it is stated, “ ‘Don Corleone had no desire, no intention, of letting his youngest son be killed in the service of a power foreign to himself.’ These words suggest not only the loyalty which a baron expects of his vassal, but the submission a god demands of his creation.” This very depiction of Don Corleone puts a very different emphasis on family than the remainder of the film. Because although Corleone loves his sone, his greater concern is with power and control.
This article is an interview with Francis Ford Coppola about his career as a film Director, specifically regarding the making of The Godfather. It begins with some general background about Coppola, and how he wanted to get away from big time Hollywood. He struggled greatly, and despite not particularly wanting to take on Mario Puzo’s adaptation of his successful novel, he ended up doing so because his own film company was in great financial distress.At the time Coppola was a film student who had been approached to do a feature film, which was impressive in itself. However, most people in Hollywood did not believe the film would be successful, so they wanted it done cheaply. Coppola wanted to turn down the film especially having read Puzo’s book which he found to be rather sleazy, but George Lucas convinced him that they needed the money if he ever hoped to direct The Conversation.
Admittedly, Coppola knew nothing about the mafia save the few films and books he has once viewed and read. He did however, tear up the book and annotate it like crazy once he had accepted the job so as to familiarize himself with all of the relevant information he would need to successfully create this film.
Coppola then discusses how he was highly opposed to have Robert Redford play the part of Michael because he very clearly did not have the coloring to play a Sicilian which, for this mafia based movie, was very important. The entire Italian-American immigrant aspect of the film was in many ways central to understanding the family, which is why Coppola pushed for Al Pacino, who was the young actor, at the time, who he had pictured playing the part. Part of the opposition there, however, was that Pacino was short and Michael was supposed to be a tough guy, but Coppola supported Pacino’s acting skills.
Then Coppola tells the story of how he managed to get Marlon Brando to do the part of Don Corleone, after Brando had already turned down a previous script of his.
This film review of The Godfather, discusses its merits within its own time. Specifically the film was one of the highest grossing of its time which led to a resurgence of Hollywood film as there had been a great deal of foreign competition at the time. Francis Ford Coppola solidified himself as a Director despite only being a film student.
As a nearly three hour gangster film, Coppola’s reluctant project was not expected to be such a success, especially given its small budget, despite what we now know is a star packed cast, including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall amongst others. In addition to grossing a great deal of money, the film won many Oscars, and was highly critically acclaimed.
Despite the gangster genre having been around for quite a while, The Godfather, as a film, and Coppola as a Director reinvented it. Though the film and characters are somewhat dark, the main characters are very well liked and become tragic heros. The crimes the commit are justified in some respect and the violence in this film, and many that would follow, was romanticized.
A mafia family story set in the 1940’s and 50’s, “The Godfather is an insightful sociological study of violence, power, honor and obligation, corruption, justice and crime in America.” The honorable Corleone family is an Italian-American immigrant family that is very tight knit. Don Corleone, for instance, believes strongly in family values despite what one would imagine a crime lord to value.There is a ten year span over which the film takes place and each of these is characterized by some form of family event or loss be it a death or a wedding. The Godfather, as a film, tracks the Corleone family through the death of the Don and the beginning of a new generation running the family “business.”
In this original New York Times review of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, published on March 16, 1972, columnist Vincent Canby describes specifically the plot and themes of the film. He then proceeds to sing the praises of Coppola’s efforts. Ultimately, we can see how this popular film was well-received even upon its initial release, given that Canby’s article was nothing short of glowing.
Canby begins the article by introducing Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel The Godfather first. More often than not adapted screenplays from novels aren’t well liked, partly because there is a great deal of expectation surrounding them, but also because creating what many people have envisioned differently is a daunting task. Still, Canby begins his series of compliments by praising Coppola for being able to stand up to the task and really make the film as good as if not better than the novel, while still remaining true to the characters and plotline.
He continues by turning to the complexities of both the characters as well as story difficulties, describing how characters that are very well liked may very well act out in later scenes, making it difficult to establish whom to vote for. For instance, the typical mafia wars here are not particularly glorified, nor does Coppola hide the brutality of the family business. Instead, despite the rather small portion of a community that has actually experienced it, he gives us a full and true sense of both the violence as well as the love and respect present within the Corleone family.
Finally, Canby attempts to make a brief mention of the superb acting in the film, but with so many incredible people, most of whom would go on to lead very successful careers if they weren’t already, he struggles and only specifically calls out Marlon Brando for his incredible return to film, and Al Pacino, who starred. Coppola receives many compliments for his rather lengthy feature film, 175 minutes in fact, all of which are of course well deserved.
This encyclopedia entry on The Godfather first goes to show its universality amongst the film and popular culture worlds. It is simply defined first as a film adaptation about a mafia family which spans from 1945 to 1955, but was filmed in 1972. The entry then proceeds to be organized first by main characters and plotline, production, casting, critical acclaim, sequels, trivia, impact, quotes, games, and related works.
An extensive plot summary is provided, specifying all of the major characters, including Don Corleone and Michael, after the movie is described as one of the best ever filmed. The specifics regarding production reveal that due to speculation about the potential success of Francis Ford Coppola’s film, the small budget did not allow for production lighting, but this was ultimately a good thing as the lighting that was utilized gave the film a more realistic appearance.
There is a very short cast list, but it emphasizes how strongly Coppola felt about having Al Pacino play the part of Michael, given that he nearly quit in order to make it happen. Many other stars shot to fame as a result of this film as well. There is also a listing of awards that the film won, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a leading role, and Best Writing. The Godfather made record breaking revenues at the box office, and continues to earn through DVD sales, video game sales, and other such merchandizing tactics.
The remainder of the entry discusses the controversial video game, various quotes that became famous from the film, most specifically Don Vito’s line, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” There are also various tidbits of trivia information, regarding animal rights group protests concerning the horse head scene. But perhaps the most interesting of this trivia is how life began to imitate art in that actual mafia families began to imitate the forms of respect depicted in the movie, such as kissing the ring of the Godfather.
In defining crime, this article sites The Godfather as a film that not only was wildly successful in its own right, but one that also sparked a crime craze in terms of the manner in which violence was portrayed and consumed by the public. While it does not attempt to claim that this movie somehow created interest in crime, because this is something the article suggests if very innate to human beings, but rather questions how human beings justify their interest in violence and how definitions of crime vary between cultures. Finally, the article seeks to answer the question as to whether or not this film somehow changed beliefs about crime and violence.
In order to consider these questions, and prove The Godfather, both as a film and a novel, is representative of a new morality regarding crime, the authors proceed by comparing the structures of this film to the structures of novels and films in the past. The first aspect of the movie that is considered is the usage of the word “family,” specifically given its historical usage in Italian, which is symbolically used as a replacement for the mafia, or organized crime. The use of the word family as well as the parallel structures drawn from the Corleone family itself to that of the organized crime unit changes how one views the crime family, making it more complex that simply a group of gangsters out to commit crimes.
A second important factor in the view of crime put forth by The Godfather, is the way in which violence is romanticized and justified in the film. As the article suggests, we then understand Don Vito’s choices and become sympathetic to him as a character. As Michael understands him, we too accept his violence.
The article also discusses how a scientific and social approach to crimes had arisen, and places this as a third way in which beliefs about violence were changing. There was a movement, as depicted in this film, away from morals and religion, which were traditionally associated with crimes. Therefore, a new belief system had arisen along with new entertainment.