Starring: Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Running Time: 175 mins
The Godfather is an American film about the tumultuous post-war years of the Corleone family, where the aging head of the family finds himself forced to begin the transfer of power to his reluctant son amidst one of the most brutal mafia wars of the century.
There is no other film that delves so deep into the world of the mob, and there will never be one that can do it this well. This is a superbly held-together story of power, betrayal and conflict, with every single minute of its near three hour duration being even more fascinating than the last.
It’s a film of proportions as epic as its stakes. Spanning a decade, there’s so much to learn about here, from the impact of the Second World War on the mafia, to the simple customs and internal rivalries of the mob.
Although this story in itself is a fiction, it’s based on real stories from the era, and it’s just such a convincing and realistic depiction of the mob world that you’d definitely be forgiven for thinking it was a true story, testament to the excellent screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola based on the brilliant book by Mario Puzo.
There are so many things to praise in this film, however the most noteworthy part is the stunning performances given across the board. Although the main story centres on two characters, Vito and Michael Corleone, played incredibly by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino respectively, the supporting cast is all outstanding, from Robert Duvall and James Caan’s more lively parts in the story to the various actors who only make brief appearances, but long-lasting impacts throughout, making this one of the most well-acted films you will ever see.
As well as being well-acted, the direction and writing is brilliant here. In terms of Coppola’s directing, the film looks consistently brilliant, and it’s held together perfectly despite it being such a complex story.
That’s where the fantastic screenplay comes in. The plot here is very complicated, due to the various intricacies of the crime underworld being the main topic here, but Coppola handles it perfectly, making a film that, despite being three hours long, flies by with ease, making a story that is both coherent and consistently fascinating to follow across its ten-year period.
Ultimately, this film is absolutely legendary, and it trumps all other mafia films easily, thanks to its brilliant screenplay with classic dialogue, stunning performances and ability to represent such a complex story in such an engaging way, so that’s why it gets an 8.8 from me.