The Godfather (Widescreen Edition)
Plot Outline The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
Plot Synopsis: The story begins as "Don" Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia "family", oversees his daughter's wedding. His beloved son Michael has just come home from the war, but does not intend to become part of his father's business. Through Michael's life the nature of the family business becomes clear. The business of the family is just like the head of the family, kind and benevolent to those who give respect, but given to ruthless violence whenever anything stands against the good of the family. Don Vito lives his life in the way of the old country, but times are changing and some don't want to follow the old ways and look out for community and "family". An up and coming rival of the Corleone family wants to start selling drugs in New York, and needs the Don's influence to further his plan. The clash of the Don's fading old world values and the new ways will demand a terrible price, especially from Michael, all for the sake of the family.
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Generally acknowledged as a bona fide classic, this Francis Ford Coppola film is one of those rare experiences that feels perfectly right from beginning to end--almost as if everyone involved had been born to participate in it. Based on Mario Puzo's bestselling novel about a Mafia dynasty, Coppola's Godfather extracted and enhanced the most universal themes of immigrant experience in America: the plotting-out of hopes and dreams for one's successors, the raising of children to carry on the good work, etc. In the midst of generational strife during the Vietnam years, the film somehow struck a chord with a nation fascinated by the metamorphosis of a rebellious son (Al Pacino) into the keeper of his father's dream. Marlon Brando played against Puzo's own conception of patriarch Vito Corleone, and time has certainly proven the actor correct. The rest of the cast, particularly James Caan, John Cazale, and Robert Duvall as the rest of Vito's male brood--all coping with how to take the mantle of responsibility from their father--is seamless and wonderful. --Tom Keogh