Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, your place on the Avocado to discuss films with your fellow commenters. Want to make a recommendation? Looking for recommendations? Want to share your opinions of movies, both new and classic?
This month, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of what many consider as the greatest film of all time: The Godfather.
It’s got everything. Fantastic performances. Lovely cinematography. Incredibly quotable lines (“You don’t take sides against the family”, “I’m MOE GREENE!”, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”) One of the most iconic film scores of all time. It’s a cracked look at the American dream, where success and admiration comes from being the most ruthless. It’s the illusion of nobility when underneath it all is backstabbing and violence.
But most of all, it feels epic in a way that older Hollywood films didn’t. Why imbuing its characters with heightened mythical presence, The Godfather still feels grounded. Vito, Michael, Kay, Tom Hagen, and Sonny feel like real people.
There were gangster films before The Godfather. There would be films set after. So what sets this movie apart?
Well, in something that would be slightly upended by the sequel, The Godfather just makes a criminal family look so cool. Everyone is in fantastic suits. While they break the law, the follow their own code of honor which makes them seem noble and regal. They are a close-knit family that looks out for each other. Even when their soldiers are sentenced to death over a betrayal, the condemned displays nothing but respect for the family.
As Roger Ebert points out in his review, “My argument is taking this form because I want to point out how cleverly Coppola structures his film to create sympathy for his heroes. The Mafia is not a benevolent and protective organization, and the Corleone family is only marginally better than the others. Yet when the old man falls dead among his tomato plants, we feel that a giant has passed.”
Bonus prompt: what is your favorite film where the criminals are the protagonists?
Next week: Sofia