Sunday, March 11, 2012

"The Godfather"@40

Can you believe "The Godfather" is forty years old? 

Forty years ago this week, this classic movie opened and changed the course of American cinema forever. It became the highest grossing movie in history up to that time, replacing "Gone with the Wind" (which had held the record for 33 years). It remade the career of Marlon Brando, perhaps the greatest actor ever, making this star of the 1950s a big star again in the 1970s. And it made the careers of Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and James Caan (amongst others).

It's also a real New York movie. Yes, it's about the mob and crimes, but it's more than that. It has a grit, a toughness, a sexiness, and an honesty that screams NYC. It takes place on the streets, in the city's underbelly, and the actors sound like they grew up and live here. This movie may have been loved around the country and around the world, but it began here. 

It also gave us some classic lines -- "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse"; "Leave the gun, take the cannolis", "Sleeps with the fishes" -- amongst others that are quoted by people (like yours truly) who weren't alive when it was released.

"The Godfathers" legacy is alive and well today. It sure doesn't sleep with the fishes (sorry, couldn't help it).

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