The Godfather: 50 weeks/50 films

#2 on AFI’s list of top 100 greatest American films of all time, The Godfather was the first film we watched as we dive into this little project of ours.
{50 of AFI’s top 100 in the remaining 50 weeks of the year.}

We won’t always BOTH write reviews/thoughts about the film, but this time, we are.. so, enjoy.

Lee Anne’s take on the film:
I, Lee Anne, had never seen the film before. Of course I was familiar with many references to it from many other films. I can’t tell you how many times I thought of Tom Hanks’ Godfather references from “You’ve Got Mail.”
Such as:
“Go to the mattresses.”
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
“Maunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday…”
“It’s not personal, it’s business.”

I have to admit, I didn’t really expect to enjoy the film because I assumed it would be very slow, old, boring, maybe too violent or dramatic, or too long. BUT.. I loved it! The quality was incredible. Immediately I noticed the difference – it’s film. Real film. The colors were sharp & vivid – the shots were brilliant. The story was fantastic. I loved following the story, and as devastating as some moments in the film were, it was very well done.

I also loved noticing little details that are so different from modern films – if a character wanted a glass of water, they went to the faucet in the sink – because that’s where you got water in the 1940’s. Not from your refrigerator door, a bottle, or a filtered pitcher… from your faucet. I loved the clothing, the cars, the beautiful NYC scenery. Did I mention the cast was incredible? I couldn’t believe how young Al Pacino & Diane Keaton were, amazing. James Caan, Robert Duvall, and of course, Marlin Brando.

I give it 5 stars. And if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend making it a film you watch. Seriously. Also, once I started watching it, I realized there were so many references in other movies that I didn’t even get because I hadn’t ever seen The Godfather before. Go watch it. Like, now.

John’s take on the film {Second time watching it}:

When encountering a film like the Godfather, or any number of films on this list, it seems as though so many moments have become part of American cinematic vocabulary. Watching the actual film, as opposed to just enjoying references, in everything from “You’ve Got Mail” to “Family Guy,” is truly amazing.

The first thing that struck me about The Godfather was the pace of the story. Many gangster films, and most organized crime cinema, have a distinctive rhythm, yet The Godfather seemed to unfold at a slow, almost seductive, rate. From the first scene we are greeted with the paradox of the mafia – the strong “family” values that drive everything and the cold-hearted “business” that allows for murder to happen in broad day light – these two extremes work in tension to create an impossible yet workable family business.

Living through the seasons of life with “the family” made me think about my family – the things that made up my childhood – like moving 30+ times and my dad’s secretive way of making money. As I grew up I realized more and more just how different my family was when compared to my friend’s families. I imagine this must be how Michael (Al Pacino) was feeling when he spoke with Kay (Diane Keaton) during the wedding scene.

The color of the film, real non-color corrected film, was beautiful. Something that helps tell the story is the progression of film stock and way the light grows every so slightly dim over the course of the story. It really stands out when we see Michael in Italy then cut back to the family in NYC. Seeing the range of color and how the film captured the unique palette of light and shadow made me long for more cinema to embrace the complexity of life without the comfort of “creative control.”

In the end…. wait, you have to see the film – even if you have already seen it, it’s worth a second look.

If you’ve seen The Godfather, tell us: what’s your favourite scene? Character? Quote?

2 thoughts on “The Godfather: 50 weeks/50 films”

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