Menu

Godfather I by Francis Ford Coppola

0 Comment

In the opening scene where a person is asking for justice, not from the law but from a compatriot, sets the tenor of the film. ‘Why did you go to the police? Why didn’t you come to me first?’(Vito Corleone) subtly illustrates the disillusions of an immigrant about the law and justice of the country and how he is forced to adopt other ‘means’ to get the same.
Godfather is a film which revolves around an Italian-American family which operates a crime syndicate in New York in mid-forties. Vito Corleone, the patriarchal head of one of the five ’family’ involved in the crime syndicate, is the protagonist of the film. He often works beyond the realm of law because he has powerful contacts in the political arena and the judiciary. Despite exerting awesome influence and muscle power, he has a very strong sense of justice and commands great respect from people who do not hesitate to ask for his help when the law fails to do so! He becomes their ‘protector’ when the need arises so he is better known as ‘the godfather’. The only return for his good deed is their loyalty which he gets. His portrayal of a deeply religious family man reinforces people’s trust in him. His firm belief that family can alleviate a lot of pain and anguish is amply illustrated when he admonishes his godson Johnny Fontane, a singer, in his study as he says ‘..cause a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man’. Indeed “.The Godfather puts forward a positive picture of a family…” (Glenn Man in genre and ideology)
The introduction of the youngest son Michael during the wedding reception heralds amalgamation of American values and Italian culture. The educated younger son, who has just returned from the war, comes with his girlfriend. His statement that ‘my father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse’ went on to become one the most famous one-liner in the history of Hollywood films.