JC13’s review published on Letterboxd:
"It's not personal Sonny...it's strictly business."- Michael Corleone
In 1972 Francis Ford Coppola released what is now regarded as one of, if not, the greatest film(s) of all time. That film is The Godfather. The film is based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. In my opinion the film is superior to the book. The book is great no doubt, but it has a lot of unnecessary backstory for some of the minor characters (such as Johnny Fontaine) that is interesting to read, but its not really important to the overall story. For the film they cut all that stuff out and they still made a 3 hour movie.
The Godfather is one of only 5 films that I have ever seen that just screams perfection every time I watch it. There are a few continuity errors here and there, but other than that I consider this film flawless. The direction, the acting, the score, the cinematography, and the script are all perfect. Marlon Brando stars as Don Vito Corleone (The Godfather) and he is fantastic in the role. His look, his voice, and his mannerisms are all brilliantly portrayed by Brando. He won an Oscar for his work (which he declined) and it was a very deserving victory. Honestly every performance in the film is brilliant so I won't bore you by naming everyone. Robert Duvall and James Caan are both amazing in their roles of Tom Hagen and Sonny Corleone respectively. Both of them earned an Oscar nod for their work.
Most people praise Brando's performance as the best of the film, but I disagree. I believe that the standout performance is that of Al Pacino. Probably the most amazing thing about his performance is how little experience he had. This was just his third film and only his second where he had a major role (in his first film he has like 30 seconds of screen time). The fact that some one with so little experience could hold his own (and in my opinion outshine) big name stars such as Brando and Duvall is truly astounding and a testament to Pacino's skill as an actor.
The reason I prefer his performance to Brando's is because he has a better, more definitive character arc and he plays each and every part of that arc to perfection. He starts as a quiet, peace loving guy who wants nothing to do with his fathers business. When his fathers life is in jeopardy his love for him proves to be his downfall. This aspect of the film is brilliant because it shows how powerful love can be. Michael doesn't do these things for himself, he does it because he loves his family. There is a scene in the hospital when he pledges his loyalty to his father by saying, "I'm with you now." It is a truly powerful scene. Its kind of heartbreaking too though. After this, Michael continues down the path of his father and by the end of the film he is no longer the same man he once was. He has become a cold ruthless man and Pacino's portrayal of this downfall is impeccable.
The Godfather is full of iconic scene after iconic scene and it is completely captivating from beginning to end. The editing of the film is also a stroke of genius. An example of this is towards the end. The baptism scene is one of the most brilliantly put together scenes is cinematic history. Just watch it and you'll know what I mean. I really can't praise this film enough and I really can't say a single bad thing about it. The camera work is genius, the performances powerful, the direction flawless and Nino Rota's iconic score perfectly captures every scene that it accompanies. What I'm trying to say is that The Godfather is one of the finest films ever made. 10/10