May 12, 2017


Starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Gianni Russo, Richard S. Castellano, Abe Vigoda, Al Lettieri, Sterlng Hayden, Lenny Montana, Alex Rocco, Morgana King, Al Martino. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. (1972, 177 min).

Starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, G.D. Spradlin, Bruno Kirby, Richard Bright, Morgana King, Tom Rosqui. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. (1974, 200 min).

The following review is for the handful of misguided movie fans who have somehow managed to make it this far in life without The Godfather in their collection. You really have no more excuses.

There are a few films so historically iconic that when you actually come across a someone who says they've never seen them, you simply offer a deadpan stare and reply, "You're kidding, right?"

The list of such films is pretty damn short...Star Wars, Jaws, Casablanca, to name a few. More than just classics, those films' cultural impact is so massive they transcend generations. It goes without saying that The Godfather is also high on this list. Not only the mother of all gangster epics, the film is one of the greatest ever any genre.

"I thought I told you to flea-dip the cat."
The Godfather remains endlessly quotable and compulsively watchable (no matter how many times you've seen it), not-to-mention thematically & aesthetically timeless. It made stars out of Al Pacino, Robert Duvall & James Caan, and was arguably the pinnacle of Marlon Brando and director Francis Ford Coppola's careers. Movies just don't get much better than this.

And when I speak of The Godfather, I'm referring to both the 1972 original and 1974's The Godfather Part II. Nobody really thinks of them as two separate movies anymore. Unlike any other franchise in history, you can't have one without the other. Each film is made even richer and more rewarding by the existence of the other. While the belated Godfather Part III is much better than its maligned reputation suggests, it's the one that actually plays most like a traditional sequel, and as such, the law of diminishing returns certainly applies.

But anyone who reveres these films know all this and undoubtedly already have them in their collection. Who the hell is content to watch them only once?

"This is my lucky chair, Kay. It ain't going anywhere."
The Godfather saga has been frequently released in various formats and editions for years, both separately and as collections. The Coppola Restoration Blu-Ray boxed set, released in 2008, remains the best bet for collectors and completists, with impeccable picture & sound and a plethora of comprehensive bonus features. So why repackage and release them yet-again, with almost none of the extra goodies offered on previous discs?

Well, this is the 45th anniversary of the original, which is surely worthy of some kind of commemoration. And at a list price of less than ten bucks a pop, it's also the cheapest they've ever been made available on Blu-Ray, the perfect opportunity for those who may have invested in the first DVD boxed set - which was also loaded with extras - but simply want upgraded picture and sound (well worth it, by the way).

But most importantly, if you've never gotten around to seeing The Godfather or including it in your collection, there's never been a better time to remedy that problem. To quote an obscure old film I vaguely recollect, it's an offer you can't refuse.

AUDIO COMMENTARIES: Both films feature the same audio commentaries by writer/director Francis Ford from previous releases, which are exceptionally entertaining, comprehensive and loaded with behind-the-scenes .anecdotes


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