The Godfather is a 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola based on the novel by Mario Puzo.
The Godfather is one of the most acclaimed films of all time, being always present in the rankings of the best films of all time in specialized portals such as IMDB and Filmafintty.
Don Vito Corleone is the head of one of the five families in charge of the Cosa Nostra in New York in the 1940s.
Don Corleone has four children; a girl, Connie, and three boys, Santino, or Sonny, as he likes to be called, Michael and Freddie, who is sent into exile in Las Vegas, given his inability to assume positions of command in the family.
When another capo, Sollozzo, refuses to intervene in the drug business and tries to assassinate the Godfather, a bloody struggle of violent episodes between the different groups begins.
23 Mind-Blowing Curiosities About The Godfather
Today we will tell you some curiosities that you probably didn’t know about this iconic film starring Marlon Brando.
1) Fifty years ago when the film hit theaters, it was an immediate success and long lines formed to get into the theaters, so long that in Los Angeles UCLA students charged $5 to stand in line.
One of the many anecdotes of a mythical film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.
2) The film was produced by Paramount after one of its producers, Peter Bart, bought the film rights to the novel The Godfather, by Mario Puzo, when it was only a 20-page sketch.
3) Organized crime boss Joe Colombo and his organization, the Italian-American Civil Rights League, launched a campaign to stop the film from being made. And even Frank Sinatra turned to his friends in the mafia to threaten those involved in the project.
4) Puzo wrote a personal letter to Marlon Brando, telling him that he was the only person who could play the Don, Vito Corleone, but Paramount thought the actor was box-office poison and didn’t want him.
5) Initially, actor Robert De Niro auditioned for the role of Sonny in the first installment, but Coppola thought his personality was too violent to play the character. However, he was later cast as the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather II, a role that won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
6) The friendship between directors Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas began decades ago, when both were relatively unknown filmmakers in Northern California.
In fact, Lucas was one of those who persuaded Coppola to agree to direct the film. Lucas worked as an assistant during the filming of The Godfather and shot the footage for the newspaper inserts showing major events between scenes.
7) The horse’s head that was placed on the film producer’s bed was not a fake. Although a fake head was used during rehearsals, when the cameras started rolling, Coppola replaced it with a real one to the surprise of actor John Marley. The production obtained the horse head from a dog food company.
8) Former professional wrestler Lenny Montana, who played Luca Brasi, was so nervous about acting alongside Marlon Brando that he could barely say his lines clearly.
When the character of Luca is introduced, he is looking forward to seeing Don Corleone on the day of the wedding, and he nervously practices his salute. But when Montana stood in front of Brando, he froze and hesitated over his lines.
It was then that Coppola opted for the scene in the garden where Luca is anxiously repeating his dialogue. In this way it was implied that Luca is afraid of Don Corleone.
9) Marlon Brando wanted Don Corleone to look “like a bulldog,” so he covered his cheeks with cotton for the audition. However, for the actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist with resin drops covering his cheeks.
10) From the beginning of his career, Marlon Brando used cue cards for his lines, as he felt it helped him increase his spontaneity.
During the filming of the movie, his index cards were placed within his character’s line of sight. Behind-the-scenes footage from the production shows how creative they had to be when placing the cards in specific locations.
11) In 1975, The Godfather II became the first sequel in Oscar history to win Best Picture. It won two years after the original film won the same recognition. The second installment of the saga was nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards.
12) In 1973, Marlon Brando won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather. However, the actor not only did not attend the ceremony, but also refused the award.
In his place, Indian actress Sacheen Littlefeather received the statuette. In her speech, Littlefeather read a letter from Brando that read “I am representing Marlon Brando tonight and he has asked me to say that he cannot accept this very generous award because of the treatment of Native Americans today by the motion picture industry.”
13) There were many famous actors who did not pass the casting to select the cast of the film. Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford and Robert De Niro were considered for the role of Michael.
14) Al Pacino earned only $35,000 for starring in the film, the same as James Caan and Diane Keaton and $1,000 less than Robert Duvall.
15) When rehearsals began, Coppola decided to have the main cast get together for a family meal playing their characters, to establish the hierarchy of family roles in the story.
16) Many members of Coppola’s family participated in the film. Talia Shire (his sister), played Connie Corleone; Italia Coppola (his mother) played an extra; Carmine (his father), played the pianist in the mattress sequence and composed the music for that scene.
Her children, Sofia, Gian-Carlo and Roman were the children at the christening of Connie’s son.
17) Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro are the only two actors to have won an Oscar for playing the exact same character, Vito Corleone, in The Godfather and The Godfather. Part II.
18) Sylvester Stallone was almost part of ‘The Godfather’. The actor auditioned for two characters, Paulie Gatto and Carlo Rizzi, however, he didn’t get any role. Years later, he would become one of the most popular actors of all time.
19) The Italian Mafia was fascinated by the film. The Italian Mafia loved the film, they believed it was a portrait of their personality and behavior.
20) The remembered shots of Sonny were not written in the scripts, they were directly improvised by James Caan. One of the improvised scenes was when Sonny takes a camera from an FBI photographer and throws it, this took the other actor by surprise, as it was not in the script.
The idea of throwing the money to the agent was also James Caan’s, since according to him, in case he destroys something, he must pay for it.
Another shot improvised by the actor was the beating of Carlo by his character. In addition, the phrase Bada-bing! was from an acquaintance of James Caan’s and he used it for the film.
21) For the 45th anniversary of the film, Al Pacino said that both he and Diane Keaton had no faith in the film, as the shooting was a complete disaster and he thought it was not going to be successful.