What is so great about the Godfather?

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What is so great about the Godfather?

It is extraordinary, given today’s Cinema – with its rapidly changing trends, kaleidoscopic styles, reckless pursuit of youth markets and readiness to abandon established values – that the Godfather, a film produced thirty years ago and steeped in old fashioned production values and infused with worthy moral imperatives, should still be regarded as the epitome of classic film making. Obliterating competition from such masterpieces like The Matrix, Gladiator and Casablanca; it is no wonder that recent egalitarian polls confirmed this work of genius as the “best film of all time” (Channel 4’s 100 best films of all time.).

What is the secret of The Godfather saga’s longevity and the general publics continuing approbation? Certainly the three original films are sterlingly crafted; scripting, cinematography, production design, acting – and music, are all exemplary. However, it is the essential ingredients of the story itself, of the unfolded testimony of a family – a dynasty riven and driven by violent domination, yet nevertheless underpinned by common bonds of basic fraternal decency. In the final analysis, a family not unlike most other families; the points of identification – paternal, maternal and sibling love, mutual respect, sundry problems shared and solved – are universal.

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The trilogy proposes an alluring fiction, laced with pertinent fact, about the Corleone Family, an established and respected Mafia concern in 1940’s New York and how, when violence instigated by the unscrupulous drug traffickers, causes the head of the family, Don Corleone, the eponymous Godfather, to be gunned down. The family’s younger idealistic son, Michael, is prompted to abandon his principles to revenge his father. Later, the tale is told of how Don Corleone first came to the United States from Sicily to establish his power and dynasty. Finally we learn of how Michael expands Corleone influence to include gambling ...

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