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Movie Review: “The Godfather 1972” by Albert S. Ruddy

Updated on August 15, 2017

The story of ‘The Godfather’ is told with a closed world. This gives the audience a chance to review the Mafia in a new perspective. The character Don Vito Corleone played by Marlon Brando, is seen as a sympathetic and admirable. As all through the film, he does everything that is expected from a mafia, which receives approval from the audience. In the film, there is no civilian causality of an organized crime, only corrupt police. This shows that despite its violence aspect, the director has attempted to showcases the humane side of the mafia.

In essence, the story reviews the mafia life from the inside, and as expected by the audience such life is secretive, addictive in a way. The story has shaped the public perception on the mafia. In the film the Godfather takes control of power and justice, his only nemeses are traitors and snitches. For instance, Michael played by Al Pacino says that one should never side against the family. In another incident, Don Vito asks a man came to seeking justice for his daughter who was raped on her wedding why he did not report the matter to him first instead of going to the police. Corleone asks, “Why did you go to the police? Why didn’t you come to me first?” (11’’). This statement implies that in his world, Don Vito is a god and punisher and anyone who messes with his friends is inviting troubles. It is in this scene that the first gunshot is heard, and by the end of the scene, the most main characters are introduced to the audience.

The movie ‘The Godfather’ takes no known formula, but follows the classic structure where power is passed down through generations. The irony of the movie is that the title ‘The Godfather’ is actually meant for the son as opposed to the father as many would have hoped. In the beginning of the film Michael is not even part of the Mafia organization, he is indicted for it when he saves his father’s life in the hospital by shooting a corrupt police. Moreover, in the film loyalty is the key, Michael does not even trust Tom Hagen played by Robert Duvall with a secret that he plans to murder the heads of the other families. In what is termed as the ‘baptism massacre’, which provided him with an opportunity to ascend as a godfather in all aspect in the film.

Vito Corleone through his wisdom and age acts as the film moral circus. In his experience, his says that drugs gambling and even women are hurting the society. At a mafia conference he is opposed to drugs and says they should be dealt with, in his world, only ‘victimless crime’ are condoned. At this point, the producer creates sympathy for the heroes; he tries to bring the notion that the mafia has also a good moral side, which is not the case. But when Vito Corleone passes on among his tomato plants there is a true feeling that a very important character has passed (Sciannameo, 2010).

Even though the movie is full of violent scenes, there is a new twist that the audience gets to experience, that is the family unity. Corleone and his family have a strong bond between them and will do anything for each other. This more elaborated in the scene where Sonny played by Gianni Russo received a call from his sister Connie played by Talia Shire informing him that she was being abused by her husband Carlo played Gianni Russo. He proceeds to give Carlo a beating of his life and warns him if he attempts to touch her again he will be forced take away his life. This can be considered a humane aspect of the mafia.

Generally, the director of photography, Gordon Willis does an excellent work with cinematography. The film is rich, expressive, and friendly. The producer, Coppola on the other hand, populates his dark interior spaces with outstanding faces. For instance, all the leading casts are attractive in a way. Moreover, the others that play supporting role look lively as well. For instance, Tessio played by Abe Vigoda who was known as the ruthless enforcer. The first time he is introduced to the film is in a scene at the wedding where he was dancing with a child, she satin pumps balance on his shoes. His figure throughout the film is frightening; it is only at the end the audience is introduced to his other side when he begs for his life like a child. Gordon Willis tries to make the film as memorable as possible, from the silent opening cast of Bonasera’s plea to a tense close-up of Michael’s face just before killing Sollozzo and McCluskey to the final doomed closing cast. Besides, Willis brings out the contrast of playing with light and darkness excellently in the film (Lewis, 2013).

From the above review, it is clear why the film is termed as one of the greatest mafia movies in history. Though the movie is full of violence, somehow its audience seem to approve these actions as the violence in this case as for the “right cause”. In other words, no crime is committed or no one is killed with no reason. Family bond is also brought nicely in film, as depicted by the wiliness of a person to do anything for the sake of family a member. Generally, the producer, visual director, and general film director also did a good job to make what it is today. It is no doubt one of the classic movies of all time.

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