The Godfather

The Godfather Image
Metascore
100

Universal acclaim - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 1776 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Francis Ford Coppola's epic features Marlon Brando in his Oscar-winning role as the patriarch of the Corleone family. Director Coppola paints a chilling portrait of the Sicilian clan's rise and near fall from power in America, masterfully balancing the story between the Corleone's familyFrancis Ford Coppola's epic features Marlon Brando in his Oscar-winning role as the patriarch of the Corleone family. Director Coppola paints a chilling portrait of the Sicilian clan's rise and near fall from power in America, masterfully balancing the story between the Corleone's family life and the ugly crime business in which they are engaged. Based on Mario Puzo's best-selling novel and featuring career-making performances by Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall, this searing and brilliant film garnered ten Academy Award nominations, and won three including Best Picture of 1972. [Paramount Pictures] Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    100
    Overflowing with life, rich with all the grand emotions and vital juices of existence, up to and including blood. And its deaths, like that of Hotspur in "Henry IV, Part I," continue to shock no matter how often we've watched them coming. [16 Mar 1997, Calendar, p.7]
  2. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    100
    Brando made Don Vito something we rarely see in movies: a tragicomic villain-hero, a vulnerable hood. The don is so close to a comic character -- the movie itself is so close to comedy -- that Brando's capacity to move us in the role is doubly impressive. At the end, it is the older Godfather's tenderness and sagacity we recall. [21 Mar 1997, Friday, p.A]
  3. Just about as great as a movie's ever gonna be... As for the storytellng, The Godfather is an intricately constructed gem that simultaneously kicks ass.
  4. 100
    Sharp, entertaining, and convincing--discursive, but with a sense of structure and control that Coppola hasn't achieved since.
  5. 100
    The wedding sequence... is a virtuoso stretch of filmmaking: Coppola brings his large cast onstage so artfully that we are drawn at once into the Godfather's world.
  6. 100
    The picture is a series of mini-climaxes, all building to the devastating, definitive conclusion... It was carefully and painstakingly crafted. Every major character - and more than a few minor ones - is molded into a distinct, complex individual.
  7. 80
    Overlong at about 175 minutes (played without intermission), and occasionally confusing. While never so placid as to be boring, it is never so gripping as be superior screen drama.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 394
  1. DoubleM
    Dec 13, 2007
    10
    First of all, i want to start by saying that i didn't like it the first time i saw it, really. I was confused and even a bit pissed, i First of all, i want to start by saying that i didn't like it the first time i saw it, really. I was confused and even a bit pissed, i was like "so this is the one of the greatest movie ever?!", and that's exactly the problem this movie (among others) can have; it's reputaion. I remember i had high anticipation and was very excited and eager when i started wathcing, and that distracted me and totally ruined the experience... Then later, i accidently found it starting on TV. As i didn't like it before i didn't plan to watch, but actually a few minutes later i was INTO IT till it ended ("Don Corleone" then the door shuts, i LOVE that moment that i have to mention it. That doesn't count as a spoiler, right?), i wanted to say something like whoa! but i was speechless. So what was different this time? well, i was relaxed with a clear mind, no anticipation, no distraction, i was just enjoying a movie, and what a movie it is. I've seen it many times since, and a good way to seperate the "really great" movies from the "just ok" is how they stand repeated viewings, i've found that many movies i liked lose their appeal or even make me wonder "i liked that BS?!", but the truly great movies get better, and The Godfather is one of these. So, for all the those who are confused about it or don't know why it's praised, i understand where you're coming froml, you may want to be a little more open minded and see it again. Or maybe wait till you get a little older, watch more movies and know more about filmmaking if you're too young (i was 16 when i first saw it, i'm now 20 and i view movies very differntly now). Now, there's no point in talking about the movie itself, you can find thousands of reviews all over the web and i won't add anything new when i say how perfect it is. I just wanted to tell my experience maybe someone find it useful. By the way, about the whole "best/greatest film ever", i don't think there's such one, but giving it a 0 without giving valid reasons or arguments is just a sign of immature behavior. Another thing, i'm not surprised with people who say Scarface is superior, i know how many hardcore gangstas, wiggers, badasses and 'tough' teens surf the net. Scarface is entertaining and i like it, but it has too many flaws form a very simple story to thin characters to over the top botched action scenes. It is probably remembered for the memorable lines. Tony Montana is a VERY FLAT character compared to Michael Corleone, and Scarface lacks the depth and complexity of The Godfather, maybe that is the point. Expand
  2. Dec 28, 2011
    10
    Like Babe Ruth is to baseball, like John Steinbeck is to writing, their is no doubt about it, The Godfather is the greatest film of all time.Like Babe Ruth is to baseball, like John Steinbeck is to writing, their is no doubt about it, The Godfather is the greatest film of all time. Never before have we seen performances so stellar, by Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and everyone else! The Godfather has little life lessons everywhere. Along with an engaging plot, that just completes the most critically acclaimed film of all time. The Godfather is Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece. Expand
  3. TimB
    Nov 10, 2009
    10
    this is a great movie. Most people who do not realize this are simply unable to grasp the complex themes and ideas it conveys. While the are this is a great movie. Most people who do not realize this are simply unable to grasp the complex themes and ideas it conveys. While the are entitled to their own opinions I feel that they should just stop wasting their time bashing a masterpiece and go watch some Micheal Bay movie and call it the s**t. Expand
  4. Mar 6, 2014
    10
    Inspired by the Five Families of New York City, The Godfather tells the story of how the Corleones are pushed against the wall by their rivalsInspired by the Five Families of New York City, The Godfather tells the story of how the Corleones are pushed against the wall by their rivals and other upcoming gangsters who want to make money by sources Don Vito deems beneath him, and their retaliation and its consequences. Alliances are formed in secret, murders are plotted, enemies are butchered or blown to pieces without remorse.

    Don Vito (Marlon Brando) and his sons Sonny (James Caan) and Michael (Al Pacino) are the main characters. The actors bringing them to life have succeeded in their jobs so supremely that these characters have become the stuff of legend. Don Vito's backstory from the novel was pushed into The Godfather Part II, and that was a practical decision as the movie was already three hours long. Sonny and Michael display their acumen for running criminal activities when the reins are handed to them in their turn. Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) is the consigliere, or the most trusted adviser, of the Don.

    We are transported from 1940s NYC ripe with Mafia bosses one-upping each other, to Sicily and Las Vegas. The characters are never shown to traverse great expanses of land or sea in search of destiny or whatever. Neither are they shown to be engaging in life-or-death situations where they have to come out on top using their wits or physical strength or endurance. But the change of settings does meet the requirements of the epic genre. Even though we don't get to see large scale gunfights or something like that, the fact that the Corleones are in all these places helps to form that opinion. The story is essentially about a single family, and you get the impression that the message here is that family is important, and that the lengths you're willing to go to to protect them knows no bounds.

    The Corleones' peace is fazed when a gangster offers them a deal in drugs. Don Vito expresses his disgust and refuses. This triggers an unexpected ploy for gaining power and upper hand and turns the conflict into a fully fledged gang war. Some characters are displaced, forced to take up arms, or caught in the crossfire. Another calamity strikes when things seem to have cooled down. Finally, the Corleones deal with their enemies effectively and ruthlessly. The victory is theirs, but if it is worth it is for the audience to decide.

    The Godfather's success lies in its rich story and characters. Often times, great stories come about by accident. The setting complements the plot and the characters, and becoming a character itself, creates a blend that is greater than the sum of its parts. These characters and plot could quite easily have worked in a medieval setting of dynasties warring for control over a kingdom, or any other setting for that matter, but the fact that the setting was New York City and the control over the city meant control over the most lucrative criminal activities, which is a decadent scheme, and immediately paints even the good guys in a bad light, was what in my opinion made The Godfather much more intriguing and enduring.

    There are many enemies to deal with. The film doesn't develop them at all. The Corleones are the only ones who are explored and developed as characters. At first it seems like it is a story of a group of people who have virtually everything they could ever want and the film would only chronicle their exploits as they vanquish this enemy and that. This changes as we move forward and witness the bloodshed.

    No good movie can come into being without good plotting, believable characterization, classy cinematography and memorable dialogue, and here it is all brought together nigh perfectly. The production design was impressive. The houses and their interiors, and the cars and costumes were fascinating and left me with a desire to be able to witness that world firsthand. The secondary characters may not have seemed to be given much screen time to develop them but the cast is so huge that if they had done it the movie would have been at least an hour longer. The score is so simple and true to the story that you don't need me to tell you that it may be the most memorable score ever.

    A lot of time is spent in contemplation and silence, as the characters decide what the best course of action should be in response to a particular problem. The dialogue fleshes out the characters very well. The Godfather is essentially a film that looks into the lives of the gangsters at the top of the hierarchy. We only see the comings and goings, and not the handiwork, of the men who carry out the orders of their bosses. No shootouts during the gang war are shown. The intrigue that directly affects the main characters is in itself so destructive and deadly that not once the exclusion of the ordinary mobsters bother me in any way.

    The Godfather cannot be dismissed as being merely about a mob family and a bunch of criminals. Given his later career, I think it's safe to venture that Coppola was born to make this movie.
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  5. Jan 5, 2016
    10
    It's too strong to be given a 10 anyways, but I think it deserved the 10 due to how the Godfather managed to get everything a movie has alwaysIt's too strong to be given a 10 anyways, but I think it deserved the 10 due to how the Godfather managed to get everything a movie has always needed right. Expand
  6. Apr 4, 2013
    9
    It's easy to see why this is the highest rated film. The acting is on another level, the directing is not only gripping and atmospheric but itIt's easy to see why this is the highest rated film. The acting is on another level, the directing is not only gripping and atmospheric but it doesn't cut from one thing to another. Everything that's important is shown, all the dialogue, all the detail. The story is obviously what makes this film so great. Although not an action movie, some of the scenes make the typical modern Hollywood blockbuster look laughable. The film is not only well-directed and clever, but also easy to follow. The story isn't over-complicated with a bundle of events which have no connection. The only reason I'm not giving it a 10 is because it's over 3 hours, and for a film that long you'd expect more to happen. The film can be cut down by about half an hour without losing any narrative or quality. Expand
  7. SeanM.
    Nov 12, 2003
    0
    Excuse me, how did this movie get a 100, the metacritic calculation failed to factor in the last entry which would inevitably knock down the Excuse me, how did this movie get a 100, the metacritic calculation failed to factor in the last entry which would inevitably knock down the score to a 99. I personally have never seen the movie but I am just pointing out the fact that the critism of the movie is very bias towards it being perfect and classic. [Ed: Sean, take a look at the scoring explained page re: normalization.] Expand

See all 394 User Reviews

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