It may have been 43 long years since The Godfather has earned our respect and high-praises but its legacy is sure not sleeping with the fishes.
Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation of the million-selling Mario Puzo novel has long been hailed as the movie that everyone should not miss to see. Much to the delight of its fans, a never-before-seen seven-and-a-half hour version of Coppola and Puzo’s masterpiece will be aired this month on HBO. The Godfather Epic is a chronological cut of The Godfather Parts I and II with additional footage that never made it to the big screen.
Apart from its critical and commercial feat, saving Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy and defining Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as the ultimate icons for unforgiving dons you shouldn’t mess around with, here’s a rundown of reasons why we love it so much and why those who haven't seen it should catch the seven-and-a-half-hour run:
1. It’s more than just the gang wars and thug life. Murder, blackmailing, treachery—controversies indeed hounded the picture as it seemingly glorifies the dark side of society. Yet one cannot deny the way it perfectly captures the riveting beauty of the rich and powerful American-Italian Maffiosos, the fascinating Sicilian code of honour, and the strong family values strongly present throughout the film. The way it promotes the power of the right friendship is also beyond memorable.
Despite the brutal depictions and uncomfortable terror it somewhat promotes, the magnetizing story of the struggling Corleone Family aiming to protect and redeem its glory is one that should be told for generations after generations.
2. Money isn’t everything. It’s pretty difficult to imagine a film revolving around organized crimes that doesn’t hail money as the sole reason why they do unjust things. But the way Don Vito Corleone refuses offers and businesses simply because it veers away from the values he believed in is truly venerable.
3. It shares significant lines and unsettling but remarkable scenes. Listing down epic lines like “making an offer he can’t refuse” and “leave the gun, take the cannoli!” and remembering chilling scenes such as the poor horse’s head and the tough Don crying over his massacred son might take up too much time. What’s worth recalling is how such scenes forever influenced the way we see and admire the film industry.
4. It allowed us to sympathize with the villains. The tough and old-fashioned Don Vito Corleone, surprisingly merciless Michael, hot-tempered Sonny, unnerving Luca Brassi—we hated and loved their ruthlessness and imperfections.
The Godfather gave us a glimpse of the life of the antiheroes and depicted human frailties in the most colorful and intriguing way possible.
5. There’s no battle between good and evil. It stays away from the mundane good and evil war. Rather, it’s a fight against the crooked and the dangerously smart. And even if it’s not the first movie to play with such kind of storyline, it definitely is the one that successfully set the bar for all gangster films.
6. It teaches us how to build an empire. As the Great Old Don says, “Great men are not born great, they grow great.” And his greatness and wise decisions allowed him to build an army of loyal friends and family members. With his charm, bravado, and familial love, Don Vito Corleone was the best epitome of what it takes to be a true maffioso.
The highly-acclaimed film bravely touches the feared part of society, so whether you or not you find it exquisitely beautiful, pay your respect to The Godfather because it will be around for a very long time.
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Illustration by Jana Jimenez