The Godfather (film series)

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The Godfather
The Godfather.jpg
Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola
Produced byFrancis Ford Coppola (23)
Albert S. Ruddy (1)
Gray Frederickson (2)
Fred Roos (2)
Fred Fuchs (3)
Written byMario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola
Robert Towne (1)
Based onThe Godfather
by Mario Puzo
Music byNino Rota
Carmine Coppola
CinematographyGordon Willis
Edited byPeter Zinner (12)
Barry Malkin (23)
William H. Reynolds (1)
Richard Marks (2)
Lisa Fruchtman (3)
Walter Murch (3)
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • 15 March 1972 (1972-03-15)
  • (The Godfather)
  • 20 December 1974 (1974-12-20)
  • (The Godfather Part II)
  • 25 December 1990 (1990-12-25)
  • (The Godfather Part III)
Running time
539 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$73.5 million
Box office$574.8 million

The Godfather is an American film series that consists of three crime drama 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. The 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 Godfather is seen by many as one of the greatest films of all time, while 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.

Film series[edit]

The Godfather[edit]

The Godfather 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 woman he marries but who is 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 son Fredo's role in the family business in Las Vegas.

The Godfather Part II[edit]

The Godfather Part II 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[edit]

The Godfather Part III 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, and shows the rise of Sonny Corleone's illegitimate son Vincent Corleone as Michael's successor. 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.

Fourth film[edit]

Following the reaction after the third film, Coppola stated that the idea of a fourth had been discussed but Puzo died on July 2, 1999, before they had a chance to write the film. Earlier, on June 21, 1999, The Hollywood Reporter had reported that a fourth film was in the works with García in the lead role. García has since claimed the film's script was nearly produced.[1] After Puzo's death, Coppola decided to not continue the film series.[2] 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.[3] The estate of Puzo had sought to keep Paramount Pictures from producing a feature film based on the novel.[4] This has been resolved, with Paramount gaining the rights to make more Godfather films.[5]

The fourth film was intended to be a prequel.[6] They had discussed a potential script, told in a similar narrative as Part II: with younger Vito Corleone and Sonny gaining the families' political power during the 1930s; and with Vincent Corleone in the 1980s, haunted by Mary's death, 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.[1] Many actors were announced to play in the film: Robert De Niro, Andy García and Talia Shire were slated to reprise their roles.[7] Leonardo DiCaprio was cast as a younger Sonny Corleone.[8] Robert Duvall was supposed to reprise his role as Tom Hagen.[9] Al Pacino may have appeared in a cameo appearance at the end of the film before his character's death.[10]

Compilations for video and television[edit]

Three compilations were created by Coppola and editors Barry Malkin and Walter Murch:

  • The Godfather Saga (1977) – seven hours 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) – version of The Godfather Saga that was released in video (VHS format).[11]
  • The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980 (1992) ten hours compilation released directly to video (VHS and LaserDisc formats) in 1992 and 1997 encompassing the three films and incorporating footage that was not included in the theatrical releases and additional footage that the Saga or Epic releases had included.


Character Film
The Godfather[12] The Godfather Part II[13] The Godfather Part III[14]
Michael Corleone Al Pacino
Kay Adams-Corleone Diane Keaton
Fredo Corleone John Cazale John Cazale
(archive footage)
Al Neri Richard Bright
Connie Corleone Talia Shire
Theresa Hagen Tere Livrano
Francesca Corleone Jeanne Savarino Pesch
Kathryn Corleone Janet Savarino Smith
Don Tommasino Corrado Gaipa Mario Cotone Vittorio Duse
Anthony Corleone Anthony Gounaris James Gounaris Franc D'Ambrosio
Vito Corleone Marlon Brando Robert De Niro  
Tom Hagen Robert Duvall  
Sonny Corleone James Caan  
Peter Clemenza Richard S. Castellano Bruno Kirby  
Salvatore Tessio Abe Vigoda John Aprea
Abe Vigoda
Carmela Corleone Morgana King Morgana King
Francesca De Sapio
Carlo Rizzi Gianni Russo  
Sandra Corleone Julie Gregg  
Fabrizio Angelo Infanti  
Rocco Lampone Tom Rosqui  
Genco Abbandando Franco Corsaro
(deleted scene)
Frank Sivero  
Willi Cicci Joe Spinell  
Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone Simonetta Stefanelli   Simonetta Stefanelli
(archive footage)
Johnny Fontane Al Martino   Al Martino
Calo Franco Citti   Franco Citti
Lucy Mancini Jeannie Linero   Jeannie Linero
Enzo Aguello Gabrielle Torrei   Gabrielle Torrei
Captain McCluskey Sterling Hayden
Jack Woltz John Marley
Emilio Barzini Richard Conte
Virgil Sollozzo Al Lettieri
Carmine Cuneo Rudy Bond
Luca Brasi Lenny Montana
Paulie Gatto Johnny Martino
Amerigo Bonasera Salvatore Corsitto
Moe Greene Alex Rocco
Bruno Tattaglia Tony Giorgio
Nazorine Vito Scotti
Philip Tattaglia Victor Rendina
Vitelli Saro Urzi
Victor Stracci Don Costello
Don Zaluchi Louis Guss
Hyman Roth   Lee Strasberg
John Megna (young)
Frank Pentangeli   Michael V. Gazzo  
Pat Geary   G. D. Spradlin  
Fabrizio Fanucci   Gastone Moschin  
Deanna Dunn-Corleone   Marianna Hill  
Signor Roberto   Leopoldo Trieste  
Johnny Ola   Dominic Chianese  
Bussetta   Amerigo Tot  
Merle Johnson   Troy Donahue  
Vito's mother   Maria Carta  
Francesco Ciccio   Giuseppe Sillato  
Marcia Roth   Fay Spain  
FBI Man   Harry Dean Stanton  
Carmine Rosato   Carmine Caridi  
Tony Rosato   Danny Aiello  
Vincenzo Pentangeli   Salvatore Po  
Mosca   Ignazio Pappalardo  
Strollo   Andrea Maugeri  
Vincent Corleone Andy García
Osvaldo Altobello Eli Wallach
Joey Zasa Joe Mantegna
B J Harrison George Hamilton
Grace Hamilton Bridget Fonda
Mary Corleone Sofia Coppola
Cardinal Lamberto Raf Vallone
Archbishop Gilday Donal Donnelly
Frederick Keinszig Helmut Berger
Dominic Abbandando Don Novello
Andrew Hagen John Savage
Mosca Mario Donatone
Licio Lucchesi Enzo Robutti
Spara Michele Russo
Lou Pennino Robert Cicchini
Armand Rogerio Miranda
Francesco Carlos Miranda
Anthony Squigliaro Vito Antuofermo
Albert Volpe Carmine Caridi
Frank Romano Don Costello
Leo Cuneo Al Ruscio
Matty Parisi Mickey Knox


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget Reference
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
The Godfather March 15, 1972 $134,966,411 $110,100,000 $245,066,411 #310
#398 $6,500,000 [15]
The Godfather Part II December 20, 1974 $57,300,000 $135,700,000 $193,000,000 #1,416 - $13,000,000 [16]
The Godfather Part III December 25, 1990 $66,666,062 $70,100,000 $136,766,062 #947 - $54,000,000 [17]
Total $258932473 $315900000 $574832473 - - $73,500,000 [18]
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the films received 99%, 97%, and 67% scores respectively. Metacritic, based on its ratings for each film (100%, 90%, 60%), lists the series as receiving "Universal Acclaim" with its 83% average.[citation needed]

The films appear 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.[19]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Godfather 98% (9.3/10 average rating) (88 reviews)[20] 100 (15 reviews)[21]
The Godfather Part II 97% (9.6/10 average rating) (72 reviews)[22] 90 (18 reviews)[23]
The Godfather Part III 67% (6.4/10 average rating) (58 reviews)[24] 60 (19 reviews)[25] B+[26]


The three films together were nominated for a total of 29 Academy Awards, of which they won nine. 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 won none.

  • The Godfather — Nominations: 10, Wins: 3
  • The Godfather Part II — Nominations: 11, Wins: 6
  • The Godfather Part III — Nominations: 7, Wins: 0
The Godfather film series at the Academy Awards[27][28][29]
Award Awards won
The Godfather The Godfather Part II The Godfather Part III
Picture Won Won Nominated
Director Nominated Won Nominated
Actor Won Nominated
Supporting Actor Nominated[a] Won[b] Nominated
Supporting Actress Nominated
Adapted Screenplay Won Won
Art Direction Won Nominated
Cinematography Nominated
Costume Design Nominated Nominated
Film Editing Nominated Nominated
Original Dramatic Score Won
Original Song Nominated
Sound Mixing Nominated
  1. ^ Received three nominations in this category.
  2. ^ Received three nominations in this category, winning one.

Video games[edit]

Three video games have been released to supplement the film series. The releases include: The Godfather, The Godfather: The Game and The Godfather II.



  1. ^ a b Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Morris, Andy. "The Godfather Part IV".
  3. ^ Wilson, Craig (6 May 2012). "Prequel lays out life before 'The Godfather'". USA Today. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  4. ^ Schulder, Michael (4 September 2012). "CNN Profiles: Ed Falco's prequel to 'The Godfather'". CNN Radio. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  5. ^ Patten, Dominic (21 December 2012). "Paramount & Puzo Estate Settle 'Godfather' Suit".
  6. ^ "Long-Lost 'The Godfather' Prequel Revived". 5 May 2011.
  7. ^ Rosen, Christopher (15 January 2011). "The Godfather Part IV Isn't Happening, Says Talia Shire".
  8. ^ "DiCaprio and Garcia set to star in The Godfather part IV". 22 June 1999 – via The Guardian.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Andy Garcia: "'Godfather Part 4' is in Francis' hands" -". 1 May 2012.
  11. ^ Malta, J. Geoff (2006). The Godfather 1902–1959: The Complete Epic.
  12. ^ "The Godfather (1972)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  13. ^ "The Godfather, Part II (1974)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  14. ^ "The Godfather, Part III (1990)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  15. ^ "The Godfather (1972)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  16. ^ "Box office / business for The Godfather: Part II". IMDB. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "The Godfather Part III (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  18. ^ "The Godfather at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  19. ^ James Berardinelli. "Berardinelli's All-Time Top 100". Reelviews. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
  20. ^ "The Godfather". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  21. ^ "The Godfather". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  22. ^ "The Godfather II". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  23. ^ "The Godfather II". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  24. ^ "The Godfather III". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  25. ^ "The Godfather III". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  26. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "1972 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  28. ^ "1974 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  29. ^ "1990 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.

Further reading[edit]