The Godfather - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Godfather Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 23, 2015
Spectacular. Every time I see it, it gets better. From its flawless direction, to its exceptional score, to its (near-)flawless script, I have no doubt "The Godfather" is one of the best movies ever made.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2015
Francis Ford Coppola & Mario Puzo bring the famed-mafia novel to life. The Godfather is an excellent portrayal of power, betrayal and family. Beautifully written and stunningly executed, the film is a landmark motion picture with stunning performances (Brando, Pacino, Caan) that is still held up to this day as a timeless classic. 5/5
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2006
The son of a Mafia boss returns from the war and following an attempt on his father's life becomes more and more embroiled in the shadowy world of organised crime. Francis Ford Coppola's classic gangster saga is the story of a criminal dynasty headed by Marlon Brando in one of his most iconic roles. Coppola's direction is deceptively simple in that he uses no gimmicks or stylistic tricks; he merely allows the story to unfold and lets the superb cast do their thing. Brando's mumbling family and loyalty obsessed don has since become part of popular culture folklore (along with the classic score) and all other accompanying performances are top notch, from James Caan's hot headed Santino to Robert Duval's purely business orientated adviser. But this film is really the story of Michael's transition from honest war hero to shadowy underworld figure, played by Al Pacino in his finest role. The pivotal scene in which his newborn godson is baptised while Michael himself, the newborn "Godfather", is baptised in blood is an all time great. This is the birth of the modern gangster film and with the possible exception of Goodfellas, it is still to be surpassed.
Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2010
"The Godfather" is highly regarded as the greatest American movie of all-time. No other movie has garnered such praise as this movie has. Undoubtedly, everything has been meticulously put together to create an entertaining, captivating, and phenomenal masterpiece.

BUT (and I put a huge but), I do not believe it is the greatest movie of all time.

Here come the FLAMERS! TAKE COVER!
Yes, I said it. "The Godfather" is not the greatest movie of all time.

I agree that "The Godfather" is crafted beautifully at an epic scale, but the pacing is much to be desired for and this is merely a Hollywood blockbuster, believe it or not -- albeit, one of the greatest Hollywood blockbusters. Everything, down to the script, narrative, cinematography, camerawork, direction, editing, and acting are all exquisitely done in an immaculate fashion, but that's what "The Godfather" merely is: a Hollywood blockbuster. I can't stress this enough. There are plenty of other movies, older and newer, that though genre wise may be different, exceed "The Godfather" emotionally, symbolically, and personally. In no way am I trying to stand out among a crowd of "The Godfather" lovers, nor am I trying to think that I'm smarter than everyone.

Such high talks about such a film comes deserved for sure, but perhaps it may have been a bit over exaggerated in my opinion. Please, don't get me wrong: "The Godfather" is an impeccable masterpiece. Masterpiece, it is. Greatest movie of all time, it isn't. With that out of the way, I recommend all filmgoers, young, old, the film noob, the average joe, or the long-time film enthusiast to sulk themselves into this film -- just ignore what everyone says about this movie and watch it as it is.
Jack Hawkins
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2010
It's hard to judge a film like 'The Godfather', especially for someone of my generation. Since its release in 1972, The Godfather has accrued a legendary status; it's difficult to watch a film that is often touted as the best of all time with an open mind and no preconceptions. However, after watching The Godfather many times and reading the novel on which it was based upon, it's clearly something very special. The film is a sprawling epic that rewards the viewer with a savagely twisting, multi-faceted plot. It's a mobsters' coming of age tale that's laced with marriage, favours, family, betrayal, tragedy, violence and death.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is introduced on the day of his daughter's wedding, a very special day in Sicilian tradition where the father of the bride is to deny no man a special favour. The beneficiaries' utmost respect for the Don is illustrated in the opening stanza, their displays of courtesy coming in the form of personal address and greeting rituals. The Don is a man of respect and principle, a man who puts emphasis on what's fair, denying to avenge, for example, a father's anguish over the rape of his daughter by means of murder - 'That is not justice; your daughter's still alive'.

In other circles however; the Don is not so respected. Vito Corleone is an old fashioned Don, what is referred to as a 'Moustache Pete'; he is reluctant to delve into the business of drugs, unlike the contemporaries from the rival New York crime families. The Don's refusal turns the relationship between the Corleones and many of the other families sour. It is how the ensuing violence is regarded as just 'business' that is the cold, harsh danger of the film. Its depiction of violence is visceral and often occurs when not expected. Rather quickly, the Corleone criminal empire falls apart; the next generation having to revitalise the family and reclaim their place at the top of the five families.

The film is perfectly cast; the primary characters of Vito (Marlon Brando), Sonny (James Caan), Michael (Al Pacino), Fredo (John Cazale), Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano) and Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) are all expertly interpreted from Mario Puzo's magnum opus. The scores of supporting actors are also without fault; it's a true acting showcase. After reading the novel, it's remarkable how faithfully envisioned the characters are in the film, which is thanks to a combination of physicality and astute interpretation.

The Godfather is a brilliant adaptation of Mario Puzo's masterfully told story; the 1969 novel was written with such an authenticity that it almost seems like non-fiction in certain passages. I think it's true that when one thinks of a gangster, they picture the omnipotent Vito Corleone sitting back in his chair, his glum face contemplating with that infinite sagacity and authority. The Godfather is a true spectacle in both mediums; deciding which is best is a difficult task.
The only aspect that I felt was stronger in the book was character development. The character of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is given greater depth in the novel; Michael's transcendence seeming comparatively abrupt in the celluloid interpretation. The character of Luca Brasi is abundantly more powerful in the book, whom whilst is an ally of the Corleone family, is penned as an ominous nemesis with a dark, brutal secret. The film, meanwhile, essentially depicts Brasi as an oaf; he is a far less intimidating figure. Additionally, many of the supporting characters are also given interesting back stories by Puzo, notably Captain McCluskey. Of course, that level of intricacy is possible in a novel, while a film could easily become bloated with such detailing.

Ultimately, 'The Godfather' is a film made by a highly talented crew who combined the seminal prose of a skilled author with brilliant direction, perfect performances, effective cinematography and the utterly beautiful, distinctive music of Nino Rota and Carlo Savina to produce one of the best, well rounded and moving films ever made. It is a film that is wholly deserving of the term 'required viewing'.
Bathsheba Monk
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2012
I saw this for probably the third time last night, this time on DVD. I loved it. It's one of the most perfect movies ever made in that no scene was extraneous, every bit contributed to the forward momentum, and it's an American original. The first time I saw it, I was totally sympathetic towards Don Corleone, this time not so much: I saw him as a murdeous thug. Also, this time I was struck by how improbable it was that Michael go back to Kay, tall and plain, after being married to Italian bombshell Apollania. These are nit picks, no question. It might be one of those stories it's interesting to revisit at different times of your life--like Anna Karenena.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2007
Rarely in a film has a collaboration yielded such rewarding results. In 1970, author Mario Puzo teamed with director Francis Ford Coppola to create one of the most brilliant pieces of cinema ever created. It took a while for the studio to embrace it, but eventually it became one of the best films of all time. Based on Puzo's original bestselling novel (and also co-authoring the screenplay), The Godfather tells the story of the Corleones, a mob family whose lives are put on display. A predecessor to all crime dramas that came after it, The Godfather has stood the test of time and is as fresh and entertaining as it was in 1972 because it's not so much about the crime, but rather it's about family. Willis Gordon wastes no energy in creating a color palette that's realistic, yet cinematic in scope. Marlon Brando's brilliant portrayal of Vito Corleone and Al Pacino's more subtle performance as Michael are undoubtedly performances of a lifetime. James Caan, Robert Duvall, Richard S. Castellano, Abe Vigoda and Diane Keaton are also here to round out the stellar cast So many films come and go, especially during this area, and very few times there are what are considered to be perfect films. This is one of them. If you haven't seen this, you should... right away.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2012
What can I say, perfect in every way. It's not often you watch a three hour film and think to yourself "That could've been longer".
Super Reviewer
September 25, 2010
Not honouring this film as one of the greatest cinematic achievements in film history, would be an insult to the Coppola family, and everyone involved in making such a triumphant masterpiece. As Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is in the stages of his life, where his title can be swept away at ay moment, we are taken deep into the mafia wars between the Corleone family and the families (just like any mafia war) who want them dead. This film is a transition, as Mike Corleone (Al Pacino) is to take the place of his father (as "the Godfather") in the family business. Everything about this film screams brilliance. The writing is magnificent, the acting is tremendously impressive, the story is one of the best ever told, and the directing, along with the editing and cinematography is fantastic, even though it may seem basic. "The Godfather" is a film that I will always remember, and be able to watch over and over again until my dying day.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2012
This film had a cultural impact that I may never understand, and my expectations going in (after hearing it was the perfect movie) may have been too high. What I saw was a good movie with great acting, great directing, okay writing and mediocre editing. Good? Yes. Best movie ever? Not in my opinion.
Joel K.
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2011
One of the most iconic films ever made, and an important part of modern culture. How it left such an impact can be seen in the film itself, such is the quality of it. The acting is top class. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino are of course the strongest actors in this film, but even actors with smaller roles play it so well everyone comes off as a 3 dimensional character, even if they aren't a big a part of the movie. That's a triumph in my eyes. But Actors are only as good as the screenplay their acting out, and this film got an excellent one of those. Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola craft a detailed and engrossing epic of a story, with more memorable characters and line of dialogue than your brain can handle. But ultimately the thing that impressed me the most was the beautiful cinematography, the presence of which can be felt in every shot, to the extent where it begins to feel like its own character. Ultimately I could recommend this film, but it would be pointless. The film fan populace is split into those who've seen it, and those he are going to see it.
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2007
The stunning implication that raises this justifiably acclaimed milestone work head and shoulders above the typical testosterone fueled gangster shoot-'em-ups is the shocker suggestion that these killers actually perform a sort of necessary social service. As a work of art every nuance is note perfect ... but the acting: sublime. An astounding film.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2011
One of the most boring films ever made, I wonder how it has stayed so popular with wannabe gangsters for so many years. Now this is not just the "girl" speaking in me, because I know plenty of women who genuinely love this movie, but how much testosterone can you fit on one screen? The only reason this film has one star is because the acting in it is good, but what would you expect from such a cast? One of the most overrated movies in the history of cinema.
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2011
To review something seems at first a simple job. You are offered something up, in the form of a dish, a painting or a film, any art form. Next you use two skills which most Human beings posses, thinking and writing. You then just write about what you think of it. Unfortunately it is not as easy as it seems, not quite paid to eat, it is a hard difficult intellectual process. Comparing and analysing every last detail you see before writing another art form. This is topped off by the fact that no reviewer is allowed to like something and then next week not like something there must be a clear pattern. But there is hope. The Godfather. It is a film that cannot be explained in beautiful shakespearian language but just can be said one of the best films in history. This is where the reviewer may take a break and just say with a sense of knowing and fact that everyone agrees on. Everyone has a feeling that this is the best film in the world. And if everyone has the same sure feeling then it must be right.
***** 5 Star
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2011
In cinema, there are few films that can, at all, be considered either great, and fewer that can be considered perfect. Mario Puzo‚(TM)s The Godfather is one of those films that is perfect. Being based of off the best seller by Mario Puzo, director Francis Ford Coppola creates one of the most accurate portrayals of an Italian crime family. When most people think about films that deal with the Mafia, Italian gangsters, what they think about is people that ship drugs, deal with prostitution, and above all else, just fight others for the hell of it. But, what makes The Godfather so different is that, contrary to the rather dark, violent nature of the film, this movie destroys all stereo types as it becomes a film that is not, at all, about running a crime family. This film is REALLY about a father trying to pass his legacy and empire to one of his sons and that one son having to come to terms with his own legacy and the choices he makes. When Mario Puzo decided to originally write the novel that this film is based on, he did it only for the money and nothing else. But what he did not expect was to have his entire creation take a complete life of it‚(TM)s own in a way that only few people can imagine. Even more so was the shock of how well this film did. Want a little taste of how well this film did? Before the film was even released, The Godfather Part II was already in development. But, more on that later. Now, my complete reaction to watching this film. To say that this is one of my personal favorite films of all time would be something of a drastic understatement. With me, there are some films that you like and some that change your life. This is one of those films that changes your life with each and every viewing. When I first sat down and watched this film, I remember feeling complete once the credits started to role. I know that sounds cheap, but it is true. Everything from the story to they way ‚~Don‚(TM) Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is in this film, it just spoke to me in a way that very few films can ever do. And I am not the only one that felt this way. There is a magic in this movie that can never be paralleled and the closes that we get (and one that is pretty damn close at that) is the sequel that is said to be equal to better then this film. But more on that later. Let‚(TM)s get down to the details. With direction, Coppola does wonders. He keeps the story moving, never dragging behind, and keeps making you interested with the look of the film. While some have complained about the lighting used as being too dark of a film or too gold, I say that the use of that is, quite fantastic. The reason why is because it always sets the mood for the scene and the tone that you will end up feeling. Plus, little added in items like the use of oranges in some scenes give this film a little kick by letting the audience know that something is about to go down. For the direction, Coppola, you do wonders. And the Academy Award for Best Direction was well won and deserved. Now the acting. Oh, my God. What can I say? Well, let‚(TM)s think. Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor and Al Pacino won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Need I say more? Okay, I will talk about the supporting cast. With huge names like Richard Dreyfus, James Caan, Abe Vigoda, and Diane Keaton, this film is filled with some of the greatest talent that money can buy. But what shocks me the most is that they treat this film with such a tone of seriousness that they literally stop becoming themselves and become these incredible people. Next the score. Like so many classic films, this film‚(TM)s score is something of a staple in film history. Mostly due to the famous ‚~The Godfather Waltz‚(TM), Nina Rota became a household name in the music world due to the simplicity of that piece. It was simple, yet set the tone perfectly. The only crime that has ever been done on this film was the score not being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. Oh well. Later on, this film saga will get it‚(TM)s award. Finally the script. Being adapted from the novel by Mario Puzo, and being written by him and Coppola, this film mirrors the novel so closely that you would only have to read the novel to know more about the extra characters that are not THAT huge. The dialogue is authentic, honest, and bold as this well written script is presented. The Academy Award for Best adapted Screen play was also well deserved. Overall, this entire film is worthy of the magnitude that it has gotten, the awards it has won (including Best Film), and the hearts and souls it has touched. Easily one of the greatest films ever made.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2011
The ultimate family film. Holy shit!
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2011
"The Godfather" isn't just great because of its plot, its scripting, its acting, or its directing (all of which are top-notch), but it takes film a step further. There's a bounty of underlying themes to be unexpectedly found in the film. The story is interesting. The acting is good. The film is captivating. But there's more to it. There's a compelling element that's so difficult to achieve and so rare to see in modern film. Yes, it's a classic.
Super Reviewer
February 26, 2011
The Godfather is considered the greatest film of all time, and it definently lives up to the title, from people, to critics, and to me. The stopry of The Godfather is the world of organized crime, the don Vito Corleone if the head of the Corleone crime family, and is respected and honest don. His youngest son Micheal Corleone is the youngest boy of the family and is a returning war hero with a beautiful woman who never entered the family business. Once his father is shot and lives but becomes very hurt, Micheal decides to protect him and is soon taken into the world of organized crime. The plot is a brilliant genius movie story with characters that you remember, dislike, like, and want dead. Marlon Brando won an Oscar for this role, and is probably the most rememebered actor in the whole series, and he truly lives up to that because his grief stricken and genius performance is great. Al Pacino is tremendous and truly was made a star with this film. James Caan was great too, I think a lot of people overlook his performance because he's a big part of the movie too. From an offer he couldn't refuse, to the horse head, to the shooting at a diner, and to the car bomb, ths is truly the worlds greatest organized crime film ever (next to Goodfellas), and even though its not my favorite film ever, its by far the only film ive ever seen that lives up to the title "Greatest Film Ever Made."
Super Reviewer
½ June 12, 2006
Mafia themes in films never really catch my interest all that much. After all these years I had to give the most critically acclaimed of them a chance, of course. And while my expectations were high (because everyone loves this film) and low (because I don't care about the topic) at the same time, I ended up enjoying it, without putting it on my favorites list.
The cast and acting are top notch of course. Brando is fantastic, and Pacino's turn from a decent soldier boy to the next Godfather is outstanding. The plot does move slowly at times but has several really exciting and violent scenes to offer. What surprised me is the fact that this movie makes you care for these characters even though they are criminals. By the end of the film you want them to have their bloody revenge. Sadly, their dealing with personal loss sometimes feels a but rushed, giving them a bit of an indifferent feel. That doesn't change the fact that by the end of the film you want to turn on the sequel right away, which is always a great thing to say about a movie. Not entirely my cup of tea, but deservedly a classic.
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