Talk:The Godfather

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Former good article nominee The Godfather was a Media and drama good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

Material deleted from "Filming" section[edit]

My name is Tony Karp

I designed and built the computer-controlled zoom lens that was used to shoot the opening scene of The Godfather. This was the first piece of computerized equipment ever used on a major motion picture. It made the opening scene possible.

For years, there was a brief mention of this, along with a citation pointing to an article with more information, in the "Filming" section of Wikipedia's Godfather article.

It appears that this information was deleted on 20 Mar 2016. Here is a link showing the Filming section edit, along with the note about why the content was removed. You can see the original content using the "Previous revision" link.

Note that the "Filming" section has been rewritten and the reference to the opening scene has been deleted.

This is one of the dangers in allowing anyone to edit an entry. A person unfamiliar with the subject or the relevance of particular items may remove important information under the guise of "neatening up" an entry. Or they may decide that an item is "too trivial while also being unsourced" even though there is a citation pointing to an online article.

I was involved in the production of this movie and I would like to be involved in the production of the Wikipedia article as well.

I will be adding this information back to the Wikipedia article in the near future. Tkinva (talk) 23:22, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

I don't recommend you add the information yourself, as that would be a conflict of interest.
I took a look at the edit, but I can't see the information you're talking about under the "Filming" section. It's possible I'm missing it. Where is it? Popcornduff (talk) 03:27, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
The block of text I removed that you're talking about said "The opening shot is a long, slow pullback, starting with a close-up of Bonasera, who is petitioning Don Corleone, and ending with the Godfather, seen from behind, framing the picture. This move, which lasts for about three minutes, was shot with a computer-controlled zoom lens designed by Tony Karp.[82]"
I personally find this to be something that is too trivial to discuss in an article like this, especially with the part that references it was designed "by Tony Karp." Nothing in those two sentences is really that notable and should be included. Disc Wheel (T + C) 15:38, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Also, after doing a quick web search I cannot find anything to back the statement - "This was the first piece of computerized equipment ever used on a major motion picture." - as truthful. Disc Wheel (T + C) 15:44, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Also, also, the citation that you used is from a website you made, so that's certainly not rs (link). Disc Wheel (T + C) 19:31, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, looking at that text, I'm inclined to agree. It sounds like unwarranted technical detail, and it's not obvious from the text why the lens or Tony Karp is notable. If we can find some notable sources explaining that, it might be worth adding in rewritten form, but I'm skeptical. Popcornduff (talk) 15:48, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
These two sentences were removed from the Wikipedia article:
"The opening shot of the film is a long, slow pullback, starting with a close-up of Bonasera, who is petitioning Don Corleone, and ending with the Godfather, seen from behind, framing the picture. This move, which lasts for about three minutes, was shot with a computer-controlled zoom lens designed by Tony Karp.[78]"
According to the Wikipedia section on Content Removal:
"When removing a section of an article, it is necessary that it at least be explained, and in some cases, discussed. Unexplained content removal is when the reason for the removal is not obvious, and is open to being promptly reverted."
"I personally find this to be something that is too trivial to discuss in an article like this" is probably in direct violation of Wikipedia's content removal guidelines.
However, this is your page, not mine.
Some background for those who may be interested in understanding this from a filmmaking standpoint.
1. In the IMDB Top 100 movies, The Godfather is number one.
2. The opening scene is the most important scene in the movie. It defines the Godfather.
3. If you Google "The Godfather" and then click on "Images," you will see that most of the shots are of the opening scene.
4. The opening scene is the one they teach in filmmaking school and the one they analyze endlessly online.
5. If you Google "Godfather opening scene" you will find lots of material. A lot of the pieces mention the zoom lens and a few even mention my name. Here's a sample from Time Magazine:
6. There is no mention of the opening scene in the current Wikipedia article.
7. Go back and read the two sentences that I posted at the beginning. Too trivial?
With the current crew, I do not expect my information to be added back into the article. I am only posting this for future reference in case there comes a time when this article is revised to show the true meaning of this film and its place in cinematic history.
p.s. It was incredible to be involved in the making of this movie.
Tony Karp - June 11, 2016
Tkinva (talk) 21:14, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm not trying to demean your involvement with the film at all. This is not my article, I've sought out help with improving it and am open to having people alter my work; I have high ambitions for this article to reach GA status. Lots of these points you bring up are personal opinion or just do not apply in terms of how information can be verified, sourced, and added on WikipediaDisc Wheel (T + C) 22:07, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

. Disc Wheel,

The two sentences that describe the opening scene of The Godfather and how it was shot were part of the Wikipedia Godfather article for years. They were only removed because someone felt the information they contained was "trivial."

The material that I posted above was for reference only. It was meant to explain just how important the opening scene of The Godfather is and why information describing the scene and how it was shot is far from trivial.

So here's the deal. You can leave the two sentences describing the opening scene of The Godfather out of the Wikipedia Godfather article or you can put them back in. The decision is yours.

I have nothing more to add.

Tony Karp - June 13, 2016 .. Tkinva (talk) 01:13, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Lots of bad stuff stays in Wikipedia articles for years, unfortunately. The amount of time something stays in an article is not a measure of its quality or notability. Popcornduff (talk) 02:21, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
It seems to me that Karp is probably right, if this was the first for a certain film technique or technology, it's worth mentioning it, especially given that the shot is a notable one. However, the issues, as I see them, are multiple: a) Karp can't add this info himself, b) it does need citing, and c) sadly, it may not be notable that this technology "was invented by Tony Karp." — Harry (talk) 12:28, 11 February 2017 (UTC)


I'd just like to point out that it's amusing to a bystander that there is current argument over whether the 500-700 word rule guideline is applicable to the current plot - especially when the current plot stands at a whopping 701 words. Woah. Call out the hack & slash brigade on that bloated plot. Chaheel Riens (talk) 12:21, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

I was thinking essentially the same thing. The word counter I used had the plot at 748 words, but that's counting the piped links, so it's not accurate. This is a long film with a complex plot, as such, 701 words is not overly long. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 12:51, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I see no harm in placing a reminder to editors to keep the length down, as this is a common problem with edits to plot summaries. If it were a plot-length template visible in the plot section proper I'd object. Gareth's rationale (in his edit summary) that "great films" do not have to stick to the guidelines is bizarre - it has nothing to do with whether you think a film is "great", or even how celebrated a film is. If a consensus emerges that a particular plot length needs to go beyond 700 words, then fine, but I've never seen such a consensus emerge and I don't think it's necessary for this one. Popcornduff (talk) 14:33, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree with Popcornduff. AndrewOne (talk) 17:25, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

For the record, incidentally, I think that the template should be in place, but not the degree where I'm prepared to edit war over it. My reasoning for the inclusion is perversely because I agree with the above, in that it is a complicated plot and requires a lot of explanation, but that's no reason to get carried away. While we can go over the 700 words, that's no invitation to do so, especially when we already have. We'll end up with plot-creep, odd words added here and there - and before you know it it's a 900 word epic, with the rationale of "Well, I didn't know." Chaheel Riens (talk) 17:44, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I've seen plot summaries go well over 1,000 words, for no reason other than an editor decided to recount every single detail of a rather simplistic plot. I've reverted a few of those in just the last month or two. And I am not opposed to putting those hidden comments in – I've done so myself – but I prefer to do it only when plot bloat has already proven to be a problem, especially in articles that are not being watched. Thus, I think it is unnecessary in an article like this one, which is closely watched by more than a dozen experienced editors. That said, if it is readded, I will not remove it, as I think it is a minor point. I do believe, though, that such additions should be discussed, which is why several of those hidden comments have been removed in the last 24-36 hours. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 17:52, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with TOJ. I couldn't care less if it's there or not, but generally we only add these notes when plot bloat is a recurring problem. Betty Logan (talk) 18:39, 27 March 2017 (UTC)

Parallels with actual mob history?[edit]

Having recently watched the film, I'm curious to know if any of the story has parallels with the history of organised crime in New York / Las Vegas. I was hoping for a section on this in the article. Perhaps it is too contentious / dangerous, but I can ask! Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 22:17, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

Attempts have been made in the past, both here and in other places, to draw parallels between the plot of the film and real events in mob history. Most of that, though, is conjecture, and I cannot recall any additions made to this article that was actually backed by a reliable source. For his part, Mario Puzo always said that he made it all up and knew nothing about the real Mafia, either in the US or in Sicily. That claim came as a surprise to a lot of made men, who said that Puzo's descriptions were dead-on. What is more interesting to me than the idea that the book and film were based on real events and people is the influence the book and film had on the Mafia and the way wise guys spoke, behaved, and thought of themselves. That influence actually has been documented. ---The Old JacobiteThe '45 01:02, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

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genre = "crime film"?[edit]

I know it has already been dicussed here, but I find the words "crime film" are clearly misleading in this case. And as far as I can see, no one has really given a reason for this strange classifcation - except from an IP's statement that "in genre studies" this film was "universally considered" as a crime film - wow! Is this really the best we can do? --Jochim Schiller (talk) 11:34, 9 September 2017 (UTC)