The Godfather (film series)
|Directed by||Francis Ford Coppola|
|Produced by||Francis Ford Coppola (2–3)
Albert S. Ruddy (1)
Gray Frederickson (2)
Fred Roos (2)
Fred Fuchs (3)
|Written by||Mario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola
Robert Towne (1)
|Based on||The Godfather
by Mario Puzo
|Music by||Nino Rota
|Edited by||Peter Zinner (1–2)
Barry Malkin (2–3)
William H. Reynolds (1)
Richard Marks (2)
Lisa Fruchtman (3)
Walter Murch (3)
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$574.8 million|
The Godfather film series consists of three crime films directed by Francis Ford Coppola inspired by the novel of the same name by Italian American author Mario Puzo. The series follows the trials of the Corleone family, Italian Americans whose patriarch, Vito Corleone, rises to be a major figure in American organized crime. His youngest son, Michael Corleone, becomes his successor. All three films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in 1972, 1974 and 1990. The series achieved success at the box office, with the films earning over $550 million worldwide. The first two films have received wide acclaim since release; the former, The Godfather, is seen by many as one of the greatest films of all time. Its sequel, The Godfather Part II, is viewed by many as the best sequel in cinematic history. The series is heavily awarded, winning 9 out of 29 total Academy Award nominations.
The Godfather, the first film in the franchise, was released on March 15, 1972. The feature-length film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The plot begins with Don Vito Corleone declining an offer to join in the narcotics business with notorious drug lord Virgil Sollozzo, which leads to an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Vito's oldest son Sonny takes over the family and Michael strikes back for the assassination attempt by killing Sollozzo and a corrupted police captain, forcing Michael to go to Sicily in hiding. While in Sicily, Michael travels around the country and meets a young woman whom he marries, but who is eventually killed in a car bombing. Michael returns to America after the news of his brother Sonny's murder. After returning, Vito turns over the reins of the family to Michael. Michael plans to move the family business to Las Vegas; but before the move, he plots the killing of the heads of the five families on the day of his nephew's baptism. Other subplots include Vito's daughter's abusive marriage, Johnny Fontaine's success in Hollywood, and Vito's second oldest son Fredo's role in the family business in Las Vegas.
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II, the second film in the franchise, was released on December 20, 1974. The feature-length film was again directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The film is in part both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, presenting two parallel dramas. The main storyline, following the first film's events, centers on Michael Corleone, the new Don of the Corleone crime family, trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily in 1901 to his founding of the Corleone family in New York City.
The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III, the third film in the franchise, was released on December 25, 1990. Francis Ford Coppola returned as director for the feature-length film, while also writing the screenplay with the help of the author Mario Puzo. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire. The film also weaves into its plot a fictionalized account of real-life events, which include the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981 and 1982, and links them with each other and with the affairs of Michael Corleone.
Compilations for video and television
- The Godfather Saga (1977) – a 7-hour television miniseries based on the first two films, and incorporating additional footage that was not included in the theatrical releases.
- The Godfather 1902–1959: The Complete Epic (1981) – a version of The Godfather Saga that was released to video (VHS format).
- The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980 (1992) – a 10-hour compilation released directly to video (VHS and LaserDisc formats) in 1992 and 1997. It encompasses all three films, and again incorporates footage that was not included in the theatrical releases, more additional footage than either the Saga or Epic had previously included.
Box office performance
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide||All time
|The Godfather||March 15, 1972||$134,966,411||$110,100,000||$245,066,411||#310
|The Godfather Part II||December 20, 1974||$57,300,000||$135,700,000||$193,000,000||#1,416||-||$13,000,000|||
|The Godfather Part III||December 25, 1990||$66,666,062||$70,100,000||$136,766,062||#947||-||$54,000,000|||
On Rotten Tomatoes, the films received 99%, 97%, and 67% scores respectively. Metacritic, based on its ratings for each film (100%, 80%, 60%), lists the series as receiving "Generally Favorable Reviews" with its 80% average.
The series appears in many "Top 10" film lists, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association's Top 10 Films, IMDb top 250, Time magazine's All-Time 100 Movies, and James Berardinelli's Top 100.
|The Godfather||99% (84 reviews)||100 (14 reviews)|
|The Godfather Part II||97% (72 reviews)||80 (10 reviews)|
|The Godfather Part III||67% (57 reviews)||60 (19 reviews)|
The three films together were nominated for a total of 29 Academy Awards, of which they won 9. For the Best Supporting Actor award, both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II had three actors nominated for the award, which is a rare feat. Both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II won the award for Best Picture in their respective years. The Godfather Part II won the most Academy Awards with six to its credit. The Godfather Part III was nominated for seven Oscars, but failed to win any.
- The Godfather — Nominations: 10, Wins: 3
- The Godfather Part II — Nominations: 11, Wins: 6
- The Godfather Part III — Nominations: 7, Wins: 0
|The Godfather||The Godfather Part II||The Godfather Part III|
|Actor in a Leading Role||Won (Marlon Brando)||Nominated (Al Pacino)|
|Actor in a Supporting Role||Nominated (James Caan)||Won (Robert De Niro)||Nominated (Andy García)|
|Nominated (Robert Duvall)||Nominated (Michael V. Gazzo)|
|Nominated (Al Pacino)||Nominated (Lee Strasberg)|
|Actress in a Supporting Role||Nominated (Talia Shire)|
|Music (Original Dramatic Score)||Won|
|Music (Original Song)||Nominated ("Promise Me You'll Remember")|
|Writing (Adapted Screenplay)||Won||Won|
Following the reaction from the third installment, Coppola stated that the idea of a fourth picture was discussed, but eventually never went into production as Puzo died before they had a chance to write the film, stating he and Puzo discussed a potential script told in a similar narrative to Part II, seeing De Niro reprise his role as a younger Vito Corleone in the 1930s with a young Sonny Corleone gaining the families' political power, and a latter story featured during the 1980s seeing Andy García reprise his role as Vincent Corleone haunted by the death of his cousin Mary, running the family business through a ten-year destructive war and eventually losing the families' respect and power, seeing one final scene with Michael Corleone before his death. García has since claimed the film's script was nearly produced. Puzo's portion of the potential sequel, dealing with the Corleone family in the early 1930s, was eventually expanded into a novel by Ed Falco and released in 2012 as The Family Corleone. The estate of Puzo had sought to keep Paramount Pictures from producing a feature film based on the novel. This has been resolved, with Paramount gaining the rights to make more Godfather films.
- The character Vito Corleone appears in The Godfather Part II as a younger version than in The Godfather and played by another actor, Robert De Niro.
- The character Peter Clemenza appears in The Godfather Part II as a younger version than in The Godfather and played by another actor, Bruno Kirby.
- The character Salvatore Tessio appears in The Godfather Part II as a younger version than in The Godfather and played by another actor, John Aprea. The original actor Abe Vigoda makes a cameo appearance at the end of The Godfather Part II.
- The character Fredo Corleone played by John Cazale appears in The Godfather Part III during a brief flashblack. Archive footage from The Godfather Part II is used.
- The character Carmela Corleone appears in The Godfather Part II as an older version played by Morgana King and a younger version in flashbacks played by Francesca De Sapio.
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- Messenger, Chris (2012). The Godfather and American Culture: How the Corleones Became "Our Gang". SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-8870-6.
- Santopietro, Tom (2012). The Godfather Effect: Changing Hollywood, America, and Me. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-4299-5262-0.
- Sciannameo, Franco (2010). Nino Rota's The Godfather Trilogy: A Film Score Guide. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-7711-5.