SilentDawn’s review published on Letterboxd:
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
It doesn't get any better than this folks.
Every Thanksgiving I watch four films that revolve around the life of the mafia, gangsters, that sort of thing. No matter if I throw in a new film or not, the first two Godfather films are always cemented in my marathon.
Simply put, The Godfather is perfect. No film, except it's sequel, has come close to the level of cinematic nirvana that Coppola's work achieves. The performances, the direction, the writing, Gordon Willis' cinematography, the story, the set-pieces, the tension, the dynamics, the layers; It all culminates in a work that is as essential and as influential some of the great works of literature.
Simultaneously a mafia and a family story, The Godfather isn't just focused on the inner workings of organized crime. Rather, Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece shines its voyeuristic lens on turmoil, family bonding, tragedy, betrayal, love, fate, power, and the crumbling of society. All of these themes and motifs are set against a changing landscape of 1940s Americana, elaborating on a shift in ideals that brings both disillusion and heartbreak.
I cannot wax poetic enough when it comes to this movie. It was one of the first that made me realize how editing, direction, and cinematography come together to tell a story. In particular, the meeting between Michael and Sollozzo blew my mind at the tender age of 9, and I've been addicted to these types of stories ever since. There's something about an organized story that translates so well to a great drama, and It all has something to do with the themes. The story in The Godfather is as dense and as classical as the works of Shakespeare, and this is one of the few films that deserve to be called 'Spakespearean.'
Even though my love for this film is limitless, It's hard for me to write about it. There's been essays, papers, and entire books dedicated to this gold-mine of a cinematic work, and while I would love to write a long piece on it, I don't have the words just yet. This isn't even my favorite Godfather film, but the fact that It's still in my top 15 of all time says so much about Coppola's filmography in the 1970s. This is definitely Coppola's most influential work, and while I prefer Apocalypse Now and The Godfather Part 2, The Godfather is still his finest work.
Oh, and if you haven't seen this, I feel sweet sweet pity and happiness for you. Savor that first viewing, I'll always remember mine.