The Godfather (film series)
|Directed by||Francis Ford Coppola|
Francis Ford Coppola (2–3)|
Albert S. Ruddy (1)
Gray Frederickson (2)
Fred Roos (2)
Fred Fuchs (3)
Francis Ford Coppola
Robert Towne (1)
by Mario Puzo
Peter Zinner (1–2)|
Barry Malkin (2–3)
William H. Reynolds (1)
Richard Marks (2)
Lisa Fruchtman (3)
Walter Murch (3)
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$574.8 million|
The Godfather is an American film series that consists of three crime drama films directed by Francis Ford Coppola inspired by the novel of the same name by Italian American author Mario Puzo. The series follows the trials of the Corleone family, Italian Americans whose patriarch, Vito Corleone, rises to be a major figure in American organized crime. His youngest son, Michael Corleone, becomes his successor. The films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in 1972, 1974 and 1990. The series achieved success at the box office, with the films earning over $550 million worldwide. The Godfather is seen by many as one of the greatest films of all time, while The Godfather Part II is viewed by many as the best sequel in cinematic history. The series is heavily awarded, winning 9 out of 29 total Academy Award nominations.
The Godfather was released on March 15, 1972. The feature-length film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The plot begins with Don Vito Corleone declining an offer to join in the narcotics business with notorious drug lord Virgil Sollozzo, which leads to an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Vito's oldest son Sonny takes over the family and Michael strikes back for the assassination attempt by killing Sollozzo and a corrupted police captain, forcing Michael to go to Sicily in hiding. While in Sicily, Michael travels around the country and meets a woman he marries but who is killed in a car bombing. Michael returns to America after the news of his brother Sonny's murder. After returning, Vito turns over the reins of the family to Michael. Michael plans to move the family business to Las Vegas; but before the move, he plots the killing of the heads of the five families on the day of his nephew's baptism. Other subplots include Vito's daughter's abusive marriage, Johnny Fontaine's success in Hollywood and Vito's second son Fredo's role in the family business in Las Vegas.
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II was released on December 20, 1974. The feature-length film was again directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The film is in part both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, presenting two parallel dramas. The main storyline, following the first film's events, centers on Michael Corleone, the new Don of the Corleone crime family, trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily in 1901 to his founding of the Corleone family in New York City.
The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III was released on December 25, 1990. Francis Ford Coppola returned as director for the feature-length film, while also writing the screenplay with the help of the author Mario Puzo. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire, and shows the rise of Sonny Corleone's illegitimate son Vincent Corleone as Michael's successor. The film also weaves into its plot a fictionalized account of real-life events, which include the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981 and 1982, and links them with each other and with the affairs of Michael Corleone.
Following the reaction after the third film, Coppola stated that the idea of a fourth had been discussed but Puzo died on July 2, 1999, before they had a chance to write the film. Earlier, on June 21, 1999, The Hollywood Reporter had reported that a fourth film was in the works with García in the lead role. García has since claimed the film's script was nearly produced. After Puzo's death, Coppola decided to not continue the film series. Puzo's portion of the potential sequel, dealing with the Corleone family in the early 1930s, was eventually expanded into a novel by Ed Falco and released in 2012 as The Family Corleone. The estate of Puzo had sought to keep Paramount Pictures from producing a feature film based on the novel. This has been resolved, with Paramount gaining the rights to make more Godfather films.
The fourth film was intended to be a prequel. They had discussed a potential script, told in a similar narrative as Part II: with younger Vito Corleone and Sonny gaining the families' political power during the 1930s; and with Vincent Corleone in the 1980s, haunted by Mary's death, running the family business through a ten-year destructive war and eventually losing the families' respect and power, seeing one final scene with Michael Corleone before his death. Many actors were announced to play in the film: Robert De Niro, Andy García and Talia Shire were slated to reprise their roles. Leonardo DiCaprio was cast as a younger Sonny Corleone. Robert Duvall was supposed to reprise his role as Tom Hagen. Al Pacino may have appeared in a cameo appearance at the end of the film before his character's death.
Compilations for video and television
- The Godfather Saga (1977) – seven hours television miniseries based on the first two films and incorporating additional footage that was not included in the theatrical releases.
- The Godfather 1902–1959: The Complete Epic (1981) – version of The Godfather Saga that was released in video (VHS format).
- The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980 (1992) ten hours compilation released directly to video (VHS and LaserDisc formats) in 1992 and 1997 encompassing the three films and incorporating footage that was not included in the theatrical releases and additional footage that the Saga or Epic releases had included.
Box office performance
|North America||Other territories||Worldwide||All time
|The Godfather||March 15, 1972||$134,966,411||$110,100,000||$245,066,411||#310
|The Godfather Part II||December 20, 1974||$57,300,000||$135,700,000||$193,000,000||#1,416||-||$13,000,000|||
|The Godfather Part III||December 25, 1990||$66,666,062||$70,100,000||$136,766,062||#947||-||$54,000,000|||
|Total||$932473 258||$900000 315||$832473 574||-||-||$73,500,000|||
On Rotten Tomatoes, the films received 99%, 97%, and 67% scores respectively. Metacritic, based on its ratings for each film (100%, 80%, 60%), lists the series as receiving "Generally Favorable Reviews" with its 80% average.
The films appear in many "Top 10" film lists, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association's Top 10 Films, IMDb top 250, Time magazine's All-Time 100 Movies, and James Berardinelli's Top 100.
|The Godfather||98% (9.3/10 average rating) (88 reviews)||100 (15 reviews)|
|The Godfather Part II||97% (9.6/10 average rating) (72 reviews)||90 (18 reviews)|
|The Godfather Part III||67% (6.4/10 average rating) (58 reviews)||60 (19 reviews)||B+|
The three films together were nominated for a total of 29 Academy Awards, of which they won nine. For the Best Supporting Actor award, both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II had three actors nominated for the award, which is a rare feat. Both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II won the award for Best Picture in their respective years. The Godfather Part II won the most Academy Awards with six to its credit. The Godfather Part III was nominated for seven Oscars, but won none.
- The Godfather — Nominations: 10, Wins: 3
- The Godfather Part II — Nominations: 11, Wins: 6
- The Godfather Part III — Nominations: 7, Wins: 0
|The Godfather||The Godfather Part II||The Godfather Part III|
|Original Dramatic Score||Won|
- Received three nominations in this category.
- Received three nominations in this category, winning one.
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