The Godfather (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Godfather (1972)

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Critic Consensus: One of Hollywood's greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema.

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Popularly viewed as one of the best American films ever made, the multi-generational crime saga The Godfather is a touchstone of cinema: one of the most widely imitated, quoted, and lampooned movies of all time. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino star as Vito Corleone and his youngest son, Michael, respectively. It is the late 1940s in New York and Corleone is, in the parlance of organized crime, a "godfather" or "don," the head of a Mafia family. Michael, a free thinker who defied his father by enlisting in the Marines to fight in World War II, has returned a captain and a war hero. Having long ago rejected the family business, Michael shows up at the wedding of his sister, Connie (Talia Shire), with his non-Italian girlfriend, Kay (Diane Keaton), who learns for the first time about the family "business." A few months later at Christmas time, the don barely survives being shot by gunmen in the employ of a drug-trafficking rival whose request for aid from the Corleones' political connections was rejected. After saving his father from a second assassination attempt, Michael persuades his hotheaded eldest brother, Sonny (James Caan), and family advisors Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) and Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) that he should be the one to exact revenge on the men responsible. After murdering a corrupt police captain and the drug trafficker, Michael hides out in Sicily while a gang war erupts at home. Falling in love with a local girl, Michael marries her, but she is later slain by Corleone enemies in an attempt on Michael's life. Sonny is also butchered, having been betrayed by Connie's husband. As Michael returns home and convinces Kay to marry him, his father recovers and makes peace with his rivals, realizing that another powerful don was pulling the strings behind the narcotics endeavor that began the gang warfare. Once Michael has been groomed as the new don, he leads the family to a new era of prosperity, then launches a campaign of murderous revenge against those who once tried to wipe out the Corleones, consolidating his family's power and completing his own moral downfall. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards and winning for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), and Best Adapted Screenplay, The Godfather was followed by a pair of sequels. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Rating:
R (N/A)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Marlon Brando
as Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino
as Michael Corleone
James Caan
as Sonny Corleone
Robert Duvall
as Tom Hagen
Sterling Hayden
as McCluskey
John Marley
as Jack Woltz
Richard Conte
as Barzini
Diane Keaton
as Kay Adams
Al Lettieri
as Sollozzo
Abe Vigoda
as Tessio
Talia Shire
as Connie Rizzi
Gianni Russo
as Carlo Rizzi
John Cazale
as Fredo Corleone
Rudy Bond
as Cuneo
Al Martino
as Johnny Fontane
Morgana King
as Mama Corleone
Lenny Montana
as Luca Brasi
Alex Rocco
as Moe Greene
Tony Giorgio
as Bruno Tattaglia
Vito Scotti
as Nazorine
Tere Livrano
as Theresa Hagen
Victor Rendina
as Phillip Tattaglia
Jeannie Linero
as Lucy Mancini
Julie Gregg
as Sandra Corleone
Ardell Sheridan
as Mrs. Clemenza
Angelo Infanti
as Fabrizio
Corrado Gaipa
as Don Tommasino
Saro Urzì
as Vitelli
John Martino
as Paulie Gatto
Carmine Coppola
as Piano Player (uncredited)
Sofia Coppola
as Baby (uncredited)
Joe Spinell
as Willy Cicci (uncredited)
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News & Interviews for The Godfather

Critic Reviews for The Godfather

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (20)

Brando is the strong magnet that will draw fans to The Godfather. But behind-the-scenes creativity is of equal value to this film of towering proportions.

Full Review… | February 22, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

I don't see how any gifted actor could have done less than Brando does here. His resident power, his sheer innate force, has rarely seemed weaker.

Full Review… | February 22, 2015
The New Republic
Top Critic

The Godfather is overflowing with life, rich with all the grand emotions and vital juices of existence, up to and including blood.

Full Review… | February 26, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

To permit us a glimpse at The Mob, with all of its ethnic insularity, is like giving a chronic gambler a chance to wander above the false mirrors that overlook every casino.

Full Review… | January 18, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Brando's triumph and fascination is less that of an actor of parts than of a star galaxy of myths.

Full Review… | September 24, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Traces the arc of this doomed idealism with a beauty that is still fresh.

Full Review… | February 23, 2011
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Godfather

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.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

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

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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