"Blood’s a big expense."
It was never a movie that was meant to be as big as it became. Robert Evans, Paramount head at the time, thought it would be a fun mobster movie designed to make a quick buck, capitalizing on the recent novel “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo. But Francis Ford Coppola saw something in Puzo’s novel; he saw a family chronicle that was a metaphor for capitalism in America. He saw a crime epic. And he set out to make that version of the book. In the end, despite the fights with the studio that he had while making it, he stuck to his guns and The Godfather still stands as arguably one of the greatest films of all time. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Godfather trilogy with the movie that started it all, Coppola’s 1972 film The Godfather.
We talk about why the film works so well and how Coppola and Puzo crafted the story, giving the audience an interesting entry into the Mafia world. We look at Coppola as a director and writer and what he brings to the table here. We chat about the incredible cast – from Marlon Brando and Al Pacino to James Caan and Diane Keaton, even the nepotism of casting Talia Shire (and his own daughter Sophia!). We look at Gordon Willis’ mind-bogglingly dark cinematography and why it, paired with the film’s sepia tones, create this world as much as anything Coppola does. We chat about Nino Rota’s haunting score, and the big controversy surrounding it. And we look at the struggles Coppola had in getting the film made contrasted with how well it did at the box office.
It’s a film that’s spurred countless famous quotes, not the least of which is “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The movie is everywhere and has become as much a part of our culture as Coppola’s Italian heritage had become a part of the film when he made it. It’s a fantastic film that certainly deserves to be looked at multiple times and discussed often. We have a great (and lengthy) conversation about it on the show this week. So check out the movie then tune in!
- Watch this film: iTunes • Amazon
- Script Transcript
- Original theatrical trailer
- Original poster artwork
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo
- Alex Rocco Audi A8 Super Bowl Spot
- Fortunella — You have to hear it… — 1958