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A MAJOR FINANCIAL AND CULTURAL SUCCESS,
This review is from: The Godfather [DVD] (DVD)
The Godfather is a masterpiece in film-making, and was the end product of the skills, dedication and passion of many people, not just Francis Ford Coppola. I, unlike many die-hard fans, don't consider this cultural classic to be the greatest production ever to be crafted by human hands - but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sophistication of this pioneering American movie. The Godfather is more than just a mafia flick: it is an epic depiction of the American underworld and how that underworld straddles right beneath (or behind, depends on how you look at it) mainstream American society.
Members of the Corleone family - one of the most powerful and feared crime families in America - are basically living in a circle of lies and denial. The patriarch of this Italian-American family, Vito Andolini Corleone (played by the memorable Marlon Brando), brought wealth and power to the Corleone family and, therefore, achieved the American Dream - but only through intimidation, calculated greed and through shedding a lot of blood. As a result of accumulating an enormous amount of money and power, Don Corleone has successfully "purchased" many politicians and journalists; this tactic is still being implemented all over the world today by powerful individuals who obviously have no qualms about getting their hands dirty (or soaked in the blood of innocent people). As expected when a ruthlessly ambitious man involves himself deep into the blood-soaked and corruption stained pits of the criminal underworld, he will forever be chained to a world characterised by heartless, treacherous people that constantly conspire with each other (and against each other).
The Godfather has actually inserted some interesting questions into my inquisitive mind, questions like: How many Italian-Americans were/are involved in organised crime? Do the wives of the mafia dons know what their criminal-minded husbands get up to? And How would have Vito Corleone's father felt if he knew that his offspring had become one of America's most "efficient" crime bosses?
Vito Corleone didn't have to enter a life of crime to help him and his growing family escape the poverty-stricken ghettos of New York; he could have achieved the American Dream through honest, hard work, but, then again, The Godfather wouldn't have been The Godfather if he had chosen to lead a morally elevated life. I really do wonder how many of today's privileged and secure Americans lead prosperous lives as a direct result of their ancestors securing great wealth and power through bad deeds - including hurting innocent people.
Anyway, going back to the movie after slightly digressing, there is no one defining or spectacular scene or dialogue that places this movie into Hollywood's Hall of Fame; the whole movie has great scenes and dialogue that have shaped the way mafia movies are made - even to this day. It was comforting to know that Vito Corleone wanted his son, Michael Corleone (played by the hugely talented Al Pacino), to make a legitimate living...but fate would not allow it. Ironically, it would be Michael who would bring more wealth, more power, more connections and, yes, more fear to the Corleone family, but only by digging a deeper - and darker - hole for the family in America's criminal underworld; sadly, maybe that's the easiest way for a rich and powerful family - that is already tainted by corruption - to get access to bigger vaults that house untold riches. The Godfather can indeed teach many people about how somethings really work and how believing that absolute power doesn't corrupt is as stupid as believing that a morbidly obese person shouldn't go on a diet.
There are so many shining factors that make this piece of historic and cinematic film making truly remarkable and special. And I really hope future generations of people also understand the different layers of this movie and appreciate the passion that went into bringing this movie into the world...and into our constantly active imaginations.
Oh, if anybody is interested to know, my ultimate favourite movie from this genre is Road to Perdition which, along with Cast Away, Tom Hanks gave one of his best performances in.