Rarely does a film compare favorably with the book on which it is based. Francis Ford Coppola’s depiction of “The Godfather” is a shining example of a film either being lavished the same praise the book or even surpassing it. The director’s masterstroke lies in his decision in appointing the author of the book, Mario Puzo, to write the screenplay for the film. Coppola’s earlier films pale in comparison to this cinematic gem of his.
The film traces the journey of Vito Corleone from his native Italy to the land of opportunity- America, and how he establishes himself as the head of a mafia family, a person both feared and respected. It also plots how the family is destroyed and the passing of the Godfather’s ring to his youngest son, Michael, who initially maintains a safe distance from his family business.
The selection of actors playing these iconic roles is nothing short of a casting coup. The choice of Marlon Brando for the title role, James Caan as his eldest son, Sonny and Al Pacino as his youngest son, Michael bears testament to the director’s vision. One cannot visualize other actors doing justice to these roles. The entire ensemble of actors both lead and support flourish under the baton of this visionary director.
The period, sets, and costume transport the viewer to America at the turn of the century. The haunting background score and the theme song further elevate the film. The director of photography, Gordon Willis, takes the art of cinematography to a whole new level. The production values lie beyond approach.
The film, in its entirety, can only be labeled as a flawless work of art. One can visualize this film being screened for aspiring filmmakers in institutions around the world as a beacon to follow. The film can only be recommended as eminently watchable and true value for one’s time and money.
Waqas Khalid is a student pursuing English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.