Synopsis & Analysis
The violent story the director tells in the movie revolves around Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the head of a powerful Mafia family, and his three sons, Sonny, his heir, Fredo, who is inept and largely excluded from important aspects of the family business, and Michael (Al Pacino), who wants out of the world of organized crime.
The various conflicts, troubles, and joys of these men are well presented, and The Godfather is filled with memorable moments. At one point in the film, for example, an uncooperative Hollywood producer awakens to find a horse's severed head in his bed. Later, a dead fish is delivered to Sonny to tell him that he will be "sleeping with the fishes" (i.e., dead), and, in another noteworthy scene, Michael kills his family's enemies in a restaurant and so commits himself to living as a member of the Mafia. Although the film's visual style is uninteresting, many individual scenes, as those just mentioned, are well crafted and remarkably emotive. Coppola is, as a consequence, able to captivate the viewer and keep him immersed in the story being told through much of the movie's duration.
The Godfather's enjoyableness is generally complemented by the skills of its actors. Although Brando's portrayal of Don Vito Corleone is exaggerated and tiresome, most of the other players acquit themselves well. Pacino, in particular, demonstrates considerable talent and, of all the members of the cast, surely gives the best performance.
As a consequence of the engaging events depicted, of the tension, drama, and the like elicited by the director, and of the abilities of most of the cast, The Godfather is an entertaining film. It simply is not the masterpiece it is so often described as being.
Review by Keith Allen
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