What You Need To Know Before You Watch (Or Judge) The Godfather

We’ve all heard it’s the best movie ever and that it has some of the greatest acting performances in history. So I saw the movie just to check it out. Like all great movies, it’s not just what’s at the surface that makes the movie great, but one must analyse deep.

Sure, the ending was a wonderful one and the acting was terrific, but what really made the Godfather so great? I had to learn more about the movie so I googled all about it.

NOTE: There really aren’t any spoilers in my description. So you can read it before or after watching the movie yourself. And I do recommend watching the movie for at least the sake of it.

  1. This movie isn’t for dimwits. If you’re the kind who cheer for Indian heroes and actually enjoy the fight scenes in Bollywood cinema and think the suspense in masala movies is actually… suspenseful, please don’t watch this movie. It’s a waste of 3 hours of your life.
  2. Yes, it’s 3 hours long (2 hours 57 minutes). Better prepare yourself to not be distracted for that entire stretch.
  3. Don’t read the description of the movie before you start. It’s vast, and has too many characters to keep track of. I guess one thing that could give you clarity as you sit through it is that it loosely centers around Michael.
  4. With that said, the movie is anything but all about Michael. But the story of Michael sets up the ending and the stage for the Godfather II.
    It is easily Al Pacino’s greatest role. The story of his transformation through the movie is quite intriguing.
  5. You might need subtitles. The main Godfather dude talks in such a low voice, it’s nearly impossible to hear him. And of course, there is a lot of Italian slang you need to get used to. I challenged myself not to use subtitles, but sometimes I needed to rematch some scenes with the dialogue on.
  6. Remember the year it was released: 1972.
  7.  Also remember that it was actually a novel. Written by a dude named Mario Puzo.
  8. Make sure you understand every scene. Watch it again, or even watch it again with subtitles, but if you don’t understand a scene, you’re screwed for the rest of the movie.

The Acting:

I’m no movie critic but even I can tell it’s superb. The part of Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone, played by Marlon Brando and Al Pacino were played beautifully. The dialogues are executed perfectly and the emotion on Pacino’s face is so vivid, which only makes the transformation of the character even better. Even other main characters like Sonny Carleone by James Caan and Tom Hagen by Robert Duvall were really good.

Marlon Brando is considered the greatest actor of all time and the Godfather as one of the greatest roles ever. This is the transformation he went through for the movie:


And if you’re like me, you rarely see movies just for the acting. So what else was in it?

The Story:

It starts out weird and drags on for quite a bit of time. You can understand how good each and every scene is, but you sometimes can’t tell how they’re all connected and what the story actually is. But your patience will be rewarded, that’s for sure. All I’ll say is that the ending is worth it – it was a truly grand way to finish off the story, while leaving so much more to be explored.

The Character Development:

One of the things that made the movie so great. Such big families with so many characters… the hardest part is to keep track of their names! Each characters gets his (or her, but the Godfather might not like that) due respect in screen time and dialogues. It’s all the lively characters that make the otherwise dull parts of the story so interesting.

The History:

Ever heard of Al Capone? Well, it’s hard to believe but all these Italian crime families aren’t imaginary. What I mean is, that such organized crime families actually existed with dons and cosigiliere’s and stuff. In fact, they still exist today although with the strong law enforcement, they’re quite weak.

The Culture:

The movie is about Italians and the family virtues they uphold is interesting. And looking at the food and listening to the language, and of course, their accents.

BTW, you should totally listen to Russel Peter’s take on Italians.

A very interesting aspect is importance of family. Despite being a ruthless don, the Godfather always puts family first. It’s an Italian thing, I suppose.


The emotions he displays and the value he gives to friendship over money is a driving aspect of the movie. It might sound sentimental, but I really was awed by it.

The Music:

It was a major part of the movie. It comes up at suspenseful moments and really carries the emotions to you. Every movie requires different kinds of music – it doesn’t make sense to compare with Hans Zimmer or John Williams. But the Mediterranean style classic music you hear in this movie doesn’t really come up anywhere else, so you better enjoy it at the right moments.

So there goes my really confused up not-a-review of the Godfather. I just felt like writing this after hearing so many people online saying the movie sucks. And many people don’t even bother to watch it at all. And way too many people stop it halfway. Just don’t. Finish it.

I hope this helped.


-Arasu Arun

Editor’s Note: No, I don’t know why there’s evil laughter, either.


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