The Godfather

The Godfather ★★★★½

"Tell Mike it was just business".

An iconic film, featuring a towering performance from Marlon Brando as Don Corleone, the titular Godfather. Surprisingly not a showy role, but one full of subtle tics and shades. His quiet performance in the tomato garden is astounding in its execution.

This is an epic story of family, loyalty and betrayal which plays out in the aftermath of World War II. Coppola's genius in this film was in casting well, so that on top of Brando, he gets sterling work from Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall. The story doesn't do any favours for the female characters, who act as little more than appendages though Diane Keaton's Kay, does seem to be set up for more interesting work (I hope) in the sequels.

Popular culture has taken a little away from the novelty of some of the film's most famous scenes (the horse's head in the bed and "make him an offer that he can't refuse" amongst them) but there are still surprises - the baptism scene in particular shows the christening not just of Connie's child but a new godfather and this plays out, interspersed with the new Don's first actions.

The Godfather is considered a classic film - it isn't without flaws but is still a sprawling and ground-breaking depiction of family life in the criminal underworld.

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