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The Godfather (1972)

Sometimes taking care of family business can be murder.

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 168 minutes

UK Certificate: 18


Marlon Brando is Vito Corleone, also known as “The Godfather”, who is head of one of the most powerful mafia families in America. Don Vito is a fair but ruthless man who runs much of his business by doing favours and expecting favours in return. The Corleone family are drawn into a bitter and violent war with other mafia families over their refusal to participate in the lucrative but dangerous drug trade. Don Vito is shot but the attempt on his life does not succeed – he is seriously injured rather than killed. While Don Vito is in hospital, control of the family passes to his eldest son Sonny (James Caan). Sonny is a hot-head, and with his contributions the war continues to escalate.

Don Vito's youngest son is Michael (Al Pacino). He has stayed outside the family business, and his father had aspirations of him holding some legitimate position of power, perhaps through politics. When Don Vito is shot, however, Michael returns home to do what he can to help the family through the crisis. He protects his father against the killers trying to finish what they have started. Michael starts to show promise in this violent world. He takes his revenge against those trying to kill his father, shooting them during a meeting at a restaurant. Ultimately, Sonny is shot and now it is Michael who finds himself with all the responsibility.

It may not be possible for a film to be faultless, but this certainly comes close. The ensemble cast are wholly convincing, and there are a string of well-known names involved who weren't at all familiar until this film. The story progresses at perfectly measured pace, moving almost gently between moments of calculated violence. The cinematography and direction are picture-perfect, with immaculate attention to detail. Every aspect of life in those turbulent times is faithfully recreated with great accuracy. “The Godfather” is a credit to all involved.

It's Got: Everything.

It Needs: To be enjoyed with a bottle of red wine.

DVD Extras In the UK, "The Godfather" is only available as part of ‘The Godfather DVD Collection’ five-disc box set, with a full disc of extras. Extras: Director’s commentary, The Godfather Family, On location, Francis Coppola’s notebook, Music of, Coppola and Puzo on screenwiting, Gordon Wills on cinematography, Storyboards, Behind the scenes, Additional scenes/chronology, Character and cast biographies, Filmmaker biographies, Photo galleries, Theatrical trailers, Academy Award acceptance speeches, List of awards and nominations, Network TV introduction. DVD Extras Rating: 10/10


One of the definitive films of the 20th century, “The Godfather” is a triumph of cinematic storytelling. Not just for fans of gangster films.