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The Godfather: A Summary And Review

937 words - 4 pages

Rarely can it be said that one movie can define a genre, but never is that more true than in the case of The Godfather (1972). The film acquired ten Academy Award nominations and was named Best Picture. Since it's release, gangster movies have been judged by the standards of this one, unfair as the comparison may be. It is an exquisitive Mafia classic that constructs a compelling saga from outstanding performances.This epic story traces the history of the close-knit Corleone Mafia Family and organization over a ten-year period. Family loyalty and blood ties are juxtaposed with brutal and vengeful blood-letting and the inevitable downfall of the family. Romanticized scenes of the domestic home life of members of the family - a family wedding, shopping, a baptism, kitchen cooking, etc., are intertwined with scenes of horrific violence and murder contracts - a total of 23 deaths litter the film. Over 50 scenes involve food and drink.The film opens in the study of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the Godfather, who is holding court. He is the spider at the center of the web of deceit, murder, and larceny. It is the wedding of his daughter Connie (Talia Shire) and while guests eat, drink and dance on the lawns of his spacious estate, Corleone grants an audience to people who want something from him - a service that no one else can provide. It is said that on the day of a wedding, no Sicilian can refuse a request on that day. So the supplicants come, each wanting something different - revenge, a husband for their daughter, a part in a movie. His visitors range from the lowliest undertaker to the most famous singer, Johnny Fontane (Al Martino), but they all have something in common. After Corleone has granted his favor they will always be in his debt and one day, they're afraid, he will collect.With such a powerful criminal empire, dependent upon personal contacts, it could never exist without an army of soldiers. In this case the important qualification is blood - pick wisely from your own family and distrust everyone else. Thus, the eldest son of Don Corleone, Sonny Corleone (James Caan) is pretty much second in command along with his adopted brother Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). The pair makes a good team with Sonny providing the fire and impetuousness while Tom plumps for calm, measured consideration (this is why Tom is the consigliari, advisor to the Godfather). Smarter than both of these two is Don Corleone's youngest son, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) who was once a war hero. Michael, however, does not want to get involved in the criminal business, and, therefore, remains on the sidelines.With the end of WWII, times are changing, and as much as Don Corleone appears to be in control, his power is somewhat eroding. The drawback of his power is...

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