Louie's Restaurant - Come for the veal, stay for the bloodshed!THE GODFATHER

With Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Richard Castellano, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Sterling Hayden, Al Martino, Richard Conte
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Reviewed by JL and JB

      No mere great motion picture, THE GODFATHER is one of the 20th century's great works of art.  It's one of those films for which I feel inadequate offering any commentary, so I'll just mention that it has the greatest characters and most quotable dialogue of any film in history; you can view it allegorically, politically, or for sheer entertainment; and on most days of the month, it's my favorite film of all time.  With the possible exception of THE GODFATHER, Part II, that is. . 5  - JL

Neither can remember who's taking whom for a ride      Based on Mario Puzo's novel, and far surpassing it in quality, THE GODFATHER was a cultural phenomenon in its day and remains the greatest American movie of the second half of the 20th Century.  Modern movie-goers who are used to a thrill, laugh or shock a minute may find it slow going, but that's because you can't just watch THE GODFATHER, you have to live inside of it.  The brilliant wedding scene which opens the movie clocks in at just under a half an hour by itself, and the story then travels from Long Island to Hollywood to Sicily to Las Vegas (with a stop at Louie's Restaurant in the Bronx) and back to Long Island as we follow how one impulsive statement during a business meeting leads to an all-out mob war and the fall and rise again of the Corleone crime family.  THE GODFATHER reinvigorated the gangster genre, proved that even without the Hays Code and the studio system, Hollywood could make epic films as sweeping and involving as GONE WITH THE WIND. The film made stars of James Caan and Robert Duvall, as well as giving Marlon Brando his greatest role in quite some time.  However, any real fan will tell you that THE GODFATHER and its sequels are about Michael Corleone, the young war hero who is forced by circumstance to take over the family "business".  Al Pacino's sustained brilliance as a man slowly losing his humanity (and realizing it) over the course of THE GODFATHER and its immediate sequel THE GODFATHER PART II ranks as one of the screen's supreme, and most frightening, achievements.  Few actors ever had as gripping a star-making "I have arrived!" moment as did Pacino with the Louie's Restaurant scene, when he finally becomes part of the "family business".  

     There are only a handful of films for which our five star rating is completely inadequate. THE GODFATHER is one.   If you haven't seen it, rent it  today. If you have seen it, it's probably about time you watch it again, don't you think?  5 - JB

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"Leave the gun. Take the canoli."

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

"It's a Sicilian message.  It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes."

"Some day, and that day may never come, I will call on you to do a service for me."

"Today I settle all family business."

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Copyright © 2008 John V. Brennan, John Larrabee