The Godfather (film series)

The Godfather is an American film series that consists of three crime films directed by Francis Ford Coppola inspired by the 1969 novel of the same name by Italian American author Mario Puzo. The films follow the trials of the Italian American mafia Corleone family whose patriarch, Vito Corleone, rises to be a major figure in American organized crime. His youngest son, Michael Corleone, becomes his successor. The films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in 1972, 1974, and 1990. The series achieved success at the box office, with the films earning between $430 and $512 million worldwide.[N 2][N 3] The Godfather is seen by many as one of the greatest films of all time, while The Godfather Part II is viewed as one of the best sequels in cinematic history.[1] The series is heavily awarded, winning 9 out of 28 total Academy Award nominations.

The Godfather
The Godfather movie logo.png
Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola
Produced byFrancis Ford Coppola (23)
Albert S. Ruddy (1)
Screenplay byMario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola
Based onThe Godfather
by Mario Puzo
Music byNino Rota
Carmine Coppola
CinematographyGordon Willis
Edited byPeter Zinner (12)
Barry Malkin (23)
William H. Reynolds (1)
Richard Marks (2)
Lisa Fruchtman (3)
Walter Murch (3)
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 15, 1972 (1972-03-15)
  • (The Godfather)
  • December 20, 1974 (1974-12-20)
  • (The Godfather Part II)
  • December 25, 1990 (1990-12-25)
  • (The Godfather Part III)
Running time
539 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$73–74.2 million[N 1]
Box office$430.9512.4 million[N 2][N 3]

Film seriesEdit

The GodfatherEdit

The Godfather was released on March 15, 1972. The feature-length film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The plot begins with Don Vito Corleone declining an offer to join in the narcotics business with notorious drug lord Virgil Sollozzo, which leads to an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Vito's oldest son Sonny takes over the family and Michael strikes back for the assassination attempt by killing Sollozzo and a corrupted police captain, forcing Michael to go to Sicily in hiding. While in Sicily, Michael travels around the country and meets a woman he marries but who is killed in a car bombing. Michael returns to America after the news of his brother Sonny's murder. Vito then turns over the reins of the family to Michael. Michael plans to move the family business to Las Vegas; but before the move, his father dies, and he plots the killing of the heads of the five families on the day of his nephew's baptism. Other subplots include Vito's daughter's abusive marriage, Johnny Fontane's success in Hollywood and Vito's second son Fredo's role in the family business in Las Vegas.

The Godfather Part IIEdit

The Godfather Part II was released on December 20, 1974. The feature-length film was again directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The film is in part both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, presenting two parallel dramas. The main storyline, following the first film's events, centers on Michael Corleone, the new Don of the Corleone crime family, trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily in 1901 to his founding of the Corleone family in New York City.

The Godfather Part IIIEdit

The Godfather Part III was released on December 25, 1990. Francis Ford Coppola returned as director for the feature-length film, while also writing the screenplay with the help of the author Mario Puzo. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire, and shows the rise of Sonny Corleone's illegitimate son Vincent Corleone as Michael's successor. The film also weaves into its plot a fictionalized account of real-life events, which include the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981 and 1982, and links them with each other and with the affairs of Michael Corleone. Coppola felt that the first two films had told the complete Corleone saga. Coppola intended Part III to be an epilogue to the first two films.[2] In his audio commentary for Part II, he stated that only a dire financial situation caused by the failure of One from the Heart (1982) compelled him to take up Paramount's long-standing offer to make a third installment.[3]

Recut versionEdit

In September 2020, for the film's 30th anniversary, it was announced that a new cut recut of the film titled Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone will have a limited theatrical release in December 2020 followed by digital and Blu-ray.[4] Coppola said the film is the version he and Puzo had originally envisioned, and it "vindicates" its status among the trilogy and his daughter Sofia's performance.[5]

Cancelled fourth filmEdit

Coppola stated that the idea of a fourth had been discussed but before they could take it further, Puzo died on July 2, 1999. The fourth film was intended to be a prequel and a sequel.[6] They had discussed a potential script, told in a similar narrative as Part II: with younger Vito Corleone and Sonny gaining the families' political power during the 1930s; and with Vincent Corleone in the 1980s, haunted by Mary's death, running the family business through a ten-year destructive war and eventually losing the families' respect and power, seeing one final scene with Michael Corleone before his death.[7]

Many actors were announced to play in the film: Robert De Niro, Andy García and Talia Shire were slated to reprise their roles.[8] Leonardo DiCaprio was cast as a younger Sonny Corleone.[9] Robert Duvall was supposed to reprise his role as Tom Hagen.[10][11]

On June 21, 1999, The Hollywood Reporter had reported that a fourth film was in the works with García in the lead role. García has since claimed the film's script was nearly produced.[7] After Puzo's death, Coppola decided to not continue the film series.[12] Puzo's portion of the potential sequel, dealing with the Corleone family in the early 1930s, was eventually expanded into a novel by Ed Falco and released in 2012 as The Family Corleone.[13] The estate of Puzo had sought to keep Paramount Pictures from producing the film based on The Family Corleone.[14] Now resolved, Paramount has gained the rights to make more Godfather films.[15]

Home media and televisionEdit

Three compilations were created by Coppola and editors Barry Malkin and Walter Murch, while two were released to home media:

  • The Godfather Saga (1977) – Seven hours television miniseries based on the first two films in chronological order and incorporating additional footage that was not included in the theatrical releases.
  • The Godfather 1902–1959: The Complete Epic (1981) – Version of The Godfather Saga that was released in video (VHS format).[16]
  • The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980 (1992) – Ten hours compilation released directly to video (VHS and LaserDisc formats) in 1992 and 1997 encompassing the three films and incorporating footage that was not included in the theatrical releases and additional footage that the Saga or Epic releases had included.
  • The Godfather The Coppola Restoration (2008) – Includes the three films on DVD (and Blu-ray) and a bonus feature disc with, among other things, an interview with David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, discussing the cultural significance of the films.
  • The Godfather Trilogy Omerta Edition (2017) – A special 45th anniversary box set edition produced in the "limited" quantity of 45,000 copies, consisting of the Coppola Restoration versions of all three films on Blu-ray, a bonus feature Blu-ray disc, and various jacket-liner materials including quote cards, word-play magnets, and scene notes ("anatomy of a scene").


Character Film
The Godfather[17] The Godfather Part II[18] The Godfather Part III[19]
Michael Corleone Al Pacino
Kay Adams-Corleone Diane Keaton
Fredo Corleone John Cazale John Cazale
(archive footage)
Al Neri Richard Bright
Connie Corleone Talia Shire
Theresa Hagen Tere Livrano
Francesca Corleone Jeanne Savarino Pesch
Kathryn Corleone Janet Savarino Smith
Don Tommasino Corrado Gaipa Mario Cotone Vittorio Duse
Anthony Corleone Anthony Gounaris James Gounaris Franc D'Ambrosio
Vito Corleone Marlon Brando Robert De Niro  
Tom Hagen Robert Duvall  
Sonny Corleone James Caan  
Peter Clemenza Richard S. Castellano Bruno Kirby  
Salvatore Tessio Abe Vigoda John Aprea
Abe Vigoda
Carmela Corleone Morgana King Morgana King
Francesca De Sapio
Carlo Rizzi Gianni Russo  
Sandra Corleone Julie Gregg  
Fabrizio Angelo Infanti  
Rocco Lampone Tom Rosqui  
Genco Abbandando Franco Corsaro
(deleted scene)
Frank Sivero  
Willi Cicci Joe Spinell  
Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone Simonetta Stefanelli   Simonetta Stefanelli
(archive footage)
Johnny Fontane Al Martino   Al Martino
Calo Franco Citti   Franco Citti
Lucy Mancini Jeannie Linero   Jeannie Linero
Enzo Aguello Gabrielle Torrei   Gabrielle Torrei
Captain McCluskey Sterling Hayden
Jack Woltz John Marley
Emilio Barzini Richard Conte
Virgil Sollozzo Al Lettieri
Carmine Cuneo Rudy Bond
Luca Brasi Lenny Montana
Paulie Gatto Johnny Martino
Amerigo Bonasera Salvatore Corsitto
Moe Greene Alex Rocco
Bruno Tattaglia Tony Giorgio
Nazorine Vito Scotti
Philip Tattaglia Victor Rendina
Vitelli Saro Urzi
Victor Stracci Don Costello
Don Zaluchi Louis Guss
Hyman Roth   Lee Strasberg
John Megna
Frank Pentangeli   Michael V. Gazzo  
Pat Geary   G. D. Spradlin  
Fabrizio Fanucci   Gastone Moschin  
Deanna Dunn-Corleone   Marianna Hill  
Signor Roberto   Leopoldo Trieste  
Johnny Ola   Dominic Chianese  
Bussetta   Amerigo Tot  
Merle Johnson   Troy Donahue  
Vito's mother   Maria Carta  
Francesco Ciccio   Giuseppe Sillato  
Marcia Roth   Fay Spain  
FBI Man   Harry Dean Stanton  
Carmine Rosato   Carmine Caridi  
Tony Rosato   Danny Aiello  
Vincenzo Pentangeli   Salvatore Po  
Mosca   Ignazio Pappalardo  
Strollo   Andrea Maugeri  
Vincent Corleone Andy García
Osvaldo Altobello Eli Wallach
Joey Zasa Joe Mantegna
B J Harrison George Hamilton
Grace Hamilton Bridget Fonda
Mary Corleone Sofia Coppola
Cardinal Lamberto Raf Vallone
Archbishop Gilday Donal Donnelly
Frederick Keinszig Helmut Berger
Dominic Abbandando Don Novello
Andrew Hagen John Savage
Mosca Mario Donatone
Licio Lucchesi Enzo Robutti
Spara Michele Russo
Lou Pennino Robert Cicchini
Armand Rogerio Miranda
Francesco Carlos Miranda
Anthony Squigliaro Vito Antuofermo
Albert Volpe Carmine Caridi
Frank Romano Don Costello
Leo Cuneo Al Ruscio
Matty Parisi Mickey Knox


Box office performanceEdit

Film U.S. release date Box office gross Budget
U.S. and Canada Other territories Worldwide
The Godfather March 15, 1972 $134,966,411 $111,154,563 $246,120,974287,258,196[N 2] $6,000,0007,200,000[N 1]
The Godfather Part II December 20, 1974 $47,834,595 $186,362 $48,020,95788,377,522[N 3] $13 million[30][31]
The Godfather Part III December 25, 1990 $66,666,062 $70,100,000 $136,766,062[32] $54 million[32]
Total $249,467,068 $181,440,925 $430,907,993512,401,780 $73–74.2 million

Critical responseEdit

The films appear in many "Top 10" film lists, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association's Top 10 Films, IMDb top 250, Time magazine's All-Time 100 Movies, and James Berardinelli's Top 100.[33]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Godfather 98% (9.30/10 average rating) (100 reviews)[34] 100 (15 reviews)[35]
The Godfather Part II 98% (9.70/10 average rating) (85 reviews)[36] 90 (18 reviews)[37]
The Godfather Part III 68% (6.40/10 average rating) (62 reviews)[38] 60 (19 reviews)[39]
Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone 88% (7.60/10 average rating) (49 reviews)[40] 76 (14 reviews)[41]


The three films together were nominated for a total of 28 Academy Awards, of which they won nine. For the Best Supporting Actor award, both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II had three actors nominated for the award, which is a rare feat. Both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II won the award for Best Picture in their respective years. The Godfather Part II won the most Academy Awards with six to its credit. The Godfather Part III was nominated for seven Oscars, but won none.

  • The Godfather — Nominations: 10, Wins: 3
  • The Godfather Part II — Nominations: 11, Wins: 6
  • The Godfather Part III — Nominations: 7, Wins: 0
The Godfather film series at the Academy Awards[42][43][44]
Award Awards won
The Godfather The Godfather Part II The Godfather Part III
Picture Won Won Nominated
Director Nominated Won Nominated
Actor Won Nominated
Supporting Actor Nominated[a] Won[b] Nominated
Supporting Actress Nominated
Adapted Screenplay Won Won
Art Direction Won Nominated
Cinematography Nominated
Costume Design Nominated Nominated
Film Editing Nominated Nominated
Original Dramatic Score Won
Original Song Nominated
Sound Nominated
  1. ^ Received three nominations in this category.
  2. ^ Received three nominations in this category, winning one.

Video gamesEdit

One video game, The Godfather: The Game (2006), was based on the first film.[45][46] Duvall, Caan, and Brando supplied voiceovers and their likenesses,[47] but Pacino did not.[47] Francis Ford Coppola openly voiced his disapproval of the game.[48] Another, The Godfather II (2009), was based on the second film.


  1. ^ a b Sources disagree on both the amount of the original budget and the final budget of the first film. The final budget has been named at $6 million,[20][21][22] $6.5 million,[23][24] $7 million,[25] and $7.2 million.[26]
  2. ^ a b c Sources disagree on the amount grossed by the first film.
    • 1974: Newsweek. 84. 1974. p. 74. The original Godfather has grossed a mind-boggling $285 million...
    • 1991: Von Gunden, Kenneth (1991). Postmodern auteurs: Coppola, Lucas, De Palma, Spielberg, and Scorsese. McFarland & Company. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-89950-618-0. Since The Godfather had earned over $85 million in U.S.-Canada rentals (the worldwide box-office gross was $285 million), a sequel, according to the usual formula, could be expected to earn approximately two-thirds of the original's box-office take (ultimately Godfather II had rentals of $30 million).
    • Releases: "The Godfather (1972)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2020. Original release: $243,862,778; 1997 re-release: $1,267,490; 2009 re-release: $121,323; 2011 re-release: $818,333; 2014 re-release: $29,349; 2018 re-release: $21,701; Budget: $6,000,000
  3. ^ a b c Sources disagree on the amount grossed by the second film. Releases:[27] Some sources claim an original release of $88 million.[28][29]


  1. ^ "The Godfather, Part II". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Archived from the original on May 12, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  2. ^ "'The Godfather: Part III' makes a little more sense in the streaming era". December 26, 2019.
  3. ^ "DVD commentary featuring Francis Ford Coppola". The Godfather Part II DVD. 2005.
  4. ^ "Francis Ford Coppola Recutting 'Godfather: Part III' For 30th Anniversary". September 3, 2020. Archived from the original on September 4, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  5. ^ Ryan Parker (December 3, 2020). "Francis Ford Coppola Says 'Godfather: Part III' Recut Vindicates Film, Daughter Sofia". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Long-Lost 'The Godfather' Prequel Revived". May 5, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Rosen, Christopher (January 15, 2011). "The Godfather Part IV Isn't Happening, Says Talia Shire".
  9. ^ "DiCaprio and Garcia set to star in The Godfather part IV". June 22, 1999 – via The Guardian.
  10. ^ "17 Facts About 'The Godfather: Part III' You May Not Have Known".
  11. ^ "Andy Garcia: "'Godfather Part 4' is in Francis' hands" -". May 1, 2012.
  12. ^ Morris, Andy. "The Godfather Part IV".
  13. ^ Wilson, Craig (May 6, 2012). "Prequel lays out life before 'The Godfather'". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Schulder, Michael (September 4, 2012). "CNN Profiles: Ed Falco's prequel to 'The Godfather'". CNN Radio. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  15. ^ Patten, Dominic (December 21, 2012). "Paramount & Puzo Estate Settle 'Godfather' Suit".
  16. ^ Malta, J. Geoff (2006). The Godfather 1902–1959: The Complete Epic.
  17. ^ "The Godfather (1972)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved November 20, 2006.
  18. ^ "The Godfather, Part II (1974)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved November 20, 2006.
  19. ^ "The Godfather, Part III (1990)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved November 20, 2006.
  20. ^ Horne, Philip (September 22, 2009). "The Godfather: 'Nobody enjoyed one day of it'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on September 24, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  21. ^ Mark Seal (March 2009). "The Godfather Wars". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  22. ^ Jones 2007, p. 19.
  23. ^ "Backstage Story of 'The Godfather'". Lodi News-Sentinel. United Press International. March 14, 1972. p. 9. Archived from the original on November 21, 2018. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  24. ^ Phillips 2004, p. 93.
  25. ^ "The Godfather (1972) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  26. ^ Block & Wilson 2010, p. 527
  27. ^ "The Godfather: Part II (1974)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2020. Original release: $47,643,435; 2010 re-release: $85,768; 2019 re-release: $291,754
  28. ^ Thompson, Anne (December 24, 1990). "Is 'Godfather III' an offer audiences cannot refuse?". Variety. p. 57.
  29. ^ "'The Godfather Part II' At 45 And Why It Remains The Gold Standard For Sequels". November 9, 2019.
  30. ^ "The Godfather Part II (1974)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  31. ^ "The Godfather: Part II (1974) – Financial Information". The Numbers. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  32. ^ a b "The Godfather Part III (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  33. ^ James Berardinelli. "Berardinelli's All-Time Top 100". Reelviews. Retrieved March 16, 2007.
  34. ^ "The Godfather (1972)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  35. ^ "The Godfather Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  36. ^ "The Godfather: Part II (1974)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  37. ^ "The Godfather: Part II Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  38. ^ "The Godfather: Part III (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  39. ^ "The Godfather: Part III Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  40. ^ "The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 27, 2020.
  41. ^ "Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  42. ^ "1972 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  43. ^ "1974 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  44. ^ "1990 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  45. ^ Slagle, Matt (March 31, 2006). "'Godfather' is the offer you can't refuse". The Victoria Advocate. p. 13E. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  46. ^ Godinez, Victor (March 31, 2006). "Game Reviews". The Victoria Advocate. p. 13E. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  47. ^ a b Slagle, Matt (May 20, 2005). "Gameplay makes certain titles rock". Gadsden Times. p. C4. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  48. ^ ""Coppola Angry over Godfather Video Game", April 8, 2005". Archived from the original on April 10, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2005.

Further readingEdit