The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. In the film Marlon Brando acts as Vito Corleone, the Don (the "boss") of the Corleone family, formerly known as Vito Andolini. He is the father of Santino (Sonny), Federico (Fredo), Michele (Michael) and Constanzia (Connie) and adoptive father to Tom Hagen. Husband of Carmela Corleone. A native Sicilian. The film is regarded among international critics and the public as one of the greatest films ever made, and is now ranked as the second greatest film in American cinematic history – behind Citizen Kane – by the American Film Institute.
Directed by : Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by : Albert S. Ruddy
Screenplay by : Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Towne (uncredited)
Starring : Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, Robert Duvall, John Cazale, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton
Music by : Nino Rota, Carmine Coppola, Carlo Savina
Cinematography : Gordon Willis
Editing by : William H. Reynolds, Peter Zinner
Studio : Alfran Productions
Distributed by : Paramount Pictures
Release date: 15 March 1972 (US)
In 1945, during his daughter Connie's (Talia Shire) wedding, crime family Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) hears requests, one of which comes from singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) in landing a movie role. The Don's adopted son and family consigliere, Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), goes to Hollywood to meet with studio head Jack Woltz (John Marley). Initially refusing to cast Fontane, Woltz accepts when he finds the severed head of his prized racehorse in his bed.
Drug lord Virgil Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) asks Don Corleone to protect the rival Tattaglia family's heroin business through his political connections. Disapproving of drug trafficking, he rejects the proposal and sends his henchman, Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), to spy on them, but they kill Brasi. Sollozzo's men then try to assassinate Corleone; he survives but is seriously wounded. Sollozzo then kidnaps Hagen and persuades him to offer Corleone's eldest son, Sonny (James Caan), the same deal. As a warning, the Tattaglias send the Corleones a fish wrapped in Luca Brasi's vest to confirm that he sleeps with the fishes. Vito's youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), thwarts a second assassination attempt on his father at the hospital, but is accosted by corrupt police Captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden), who breaks his jaw. Sonny retaliates by having Tattaglia's son, Bruno, killed.
Michael volunteers to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey, and Sonny reluctantly approves. Meeting with them at a local restaurant in a supposed attempt to settle the dispute, Michael goes to the bathroom where a gun has been planted for him, returns to the table and kills them. He then takes refuge in Sicily, where he marries a young woman named Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli). The third Corleone brother, Fredo (John Cazale), is sent to Las Vegas, where he is sheltered by associate Moe Greene (Alex Rocco). Open warfare soon erupts between the Corleones and the other members of the Five Families, while the authorities begin to clamp down on organized crime. Vito is particulary distressed when he learns that Michael has become involved in the family business; the one son for whom he had hoped better.
Sonny confronts Connie's husband Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo), who has been abusing her. Sonny beats Carlo on the street and threatens to kill him if he ever hits Connie again. When Carlo again beats her, an enraged Sonny speeds for her home but assassins ambush and kill him at a toll booth. Meanwhile, Michael narrowly escapes death in Sicily when his wife is killed by a car bomb intended for him. To end the gang war, Vito meets with the Five Family heads and settles their dispute, withdrawing his opposition to the Tattaglias' heroin business and swearing to forego revenge for Sonny's death. He deduces that the Tattaglias were acting on behalf of the more powerful Don Emilio Barzini (Richard Conte). With his safety now guaranteed, Michael returns home. More than a year later, he marries his girlfriend, Kay Adams (Diane Keaton). As his father withdraws and as Fredo is incapable, Michael becomes head of the family business, which he promises Kay to make legitimate within five years.
Biding his time, Michael allows rival families to pressure Corleone enterprises and plans to move family operations to Nevada, while spinning off New York operations to members who stay behind. Michael also replaces Hagen with his father as his consigliere; Vito explains to an upset Hagen that they have long range plans for him and the family. Later, Michael travels to Las Vegas, intending to buy out Greene's stake in the family's casinos. Greene angrily rejects, deriding the Corleones as a fading power. Michael is particularly angered when Fredo falls under the sway of Greene. Back home, Vito warns Michael that a traitor will reveal himself by dealing with Barzini.
Vito collapses and dies in his garden while playing with his grandson Anthony. At the funeral, caporegime Salvatore Tessio (Abe Vigoda) arranges a meeting between Michael and Don Barzini, the now dominant figure in the New York families. As Vito had warned, Tessio's involvement signals his treachery; the planned meeting is intended to result in Michael's assassination. The meeting is set for the same day as the christening of Connie and Carlo's son, to whom Michael will stand as godfather. As the christening proceeds, on Michael's orders, Corleone assassins murder the other New York dons and Moe Greene in Las Vegas. Tessio learns that Michael is aware of his betrayal, and is taken off to his death. Michael confronts Carlo over his involvement in setting up Sonny's murder and banishes him from the family. After Carlo confesses he betrayed Sonny to Barzini, he is escorted to a car where he is garrotted by caporegime Peter Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano).
Having destroyed all opposition and consolidated his power, Michael is confronted by Connie, who accuses him of having her husband killed. When Kay confronts him privately, he denies killing Carlo, an answer she accepts. Soon afterward, Kay watches warily as Michael receives his capos, who kiss his hand and address him as the new Don Corleone.
The Godfather - Official Trailer ( 1972 )