Todd Gaines’s review published on Letterboxd:
The story of the Corleone Family. A close-knit Italian household where the Don knows best. From lavish weddings to ceremonial baptisms, the Corleone's live the American Dream; one cannoli at a time.
I had never seen The Godfather until today. I grew up more Tony Montana than Michael Corleone. I liked my gangsters snorting piles and piles of cocaine, and saying hello to their little friend. Later on, I discovered Italian Gangsta EuroTrash Mob Movies and Japanese Yakuza flicks. In a way, I was saving The Godfather for a rainy day. I want to grow old, and have classics I still need to watch. One of the greatest joys of being a member of the Letterboxd community is reading reviews from people who had the pleasure to experience a movie I consider a classic for the first time. Watching with "Virgin Eyes" is something I'm jealous of. Today, I lived the dream, and boy was it rad.
What stands out in The Godfather? Everything! But, besides that, I was hooked from the moment Marlon Brando played with his pussycat. His voice, mannerisms, and gummy mouth, simply can never be duplicated. The zoom zoom camera work in the opening sequence is pitch-perfect. The wedding is Big and Fat and not Greek. The crazy part? We don't see any violence for about 45 minutes. But, when it comes, it comes. About the violence. Zero is wasted. There's nothing I would consider gratuitous. Every act of violence means something to the overall plot. Even the fate of Mr Ed's cousin, is just Francis Ford Coppola, staying true to Mario Puzo's source material. Also, hardly any harsh swearing. What the fuck?
Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall, all kill it. For me, Duvall is the MVP of the opening act. He has a way with words, and has a natural way of stealing scenes. Caan, has some of the best body hair genetics can buy, and gets to go all Oscar the Grouch on a motherfucker. His character, Sonny, is your prototype mafioso tough guy. The sun shined bright on Sonny. Pacino literally becomes his father while he's standing in front of Jack Dempsey's restaurant. I saw it in his eyes. Plus, his scene in the bootleg Olive Garden is VEALtastic. What more can you say about these guys?
It's not all about the big names. Richard Castellano is boss daddy cool as Clemenza. I hardly doubt he ever missed a meal. Al Lettieri makes a yummy villain as Sollozzo. Abe Vigoda looks half-dead, although he will not die in real life for another 45 years. Eye see you Alex Rocco! (You will get that, if you've seen this.) I didn't recognize Diane Keaton. Rocky's wife is in this, and no one says "Yo" to her. Richard Conte looks like a criminal. I must give a special shoutout to John Cazale. Maybe, the greatest character actor of all time? Just look at his films. A small resume, but what a punch it packs. Then, there's Lenny Montana's Luca Brasi. His eye-popping acting is out of this world. He not only puts the G in Gangsta, he puts the G in Garrote. Also, I'll gladly give Simonetta Stefanelli's Apollonia, driving lessons.
The score, acting, cinematography, editing, set design, special effects, art design, make-up, and costumes, all scream "5 stars!" I hear there's a couple of sequels too. Here's hoping the sequels don't suck. This was a joy to watch. I'm glad I saved this one for today. Tomorrow, what will you discover?