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The Godfather's 40th Anniversary
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The Godfather\'s 40th Anniversary

This month is the 40th anniversary of the classic gangster movie, “The Godfather.” The movie industry refers to it as “the greatest gangster movie of all time,” and this can hardly be disputed. Will there ever be another gangster movie made that will top “The Godfather?” Time will tell. But if ever the movie is made, when will it be and how many of us will still be here to see it?

Mario Puzo published “The Godfather” in 1969 and the book became wildly popular. It is easy to get a copy because the book has stayed in print. Worldwide, it has sold over 21 million copies.

The fascinating thing about the book is that you can open it at random to any page and just become immersed in the story. The next time you want something to read on a rainy day, get out “The Godfather” and if starting at the beginning doesn’t interest you (I am assuming of course that you’ve already read the entire book at least once), just open it somewhere in the middle and start reading. You’ll fall right into the story. It is that well written.

The casting of the actors in the film became a story within itself. The public was enchanted with Brando’s portrayal of Vito Corleone. Al Pacino was largely unknown at the time. But he quickly became a household name once “The Godfather” was released.

An amazing story about Al Pacino in “The Godfather” is that during the shooting of the film, he was almost terminated. When they first started filming, it seemed for awhile to the producers that Pacino was not working out. But one of the studio bosses had a hunch and he scheduled the production of the restaurant scene to be done ahead of schedule.

The scene in the restaurant was where Michael would kill another gangster and a corrupt police captain. When Pacino’s character did the scene, all doubt was removed. The producers knew they had an extremely talented actor in Pacino.

Can you imagine Edward G. Robinson playing the part of the godfather? What about Orson Welles, or Ernest Borgnine? At one time, all these actors were under consideration for the part of Vito Corleone.

Jack Nicholson was in the running to play Michael Corleone, as was Martin Sheen, Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman.

One last interesting fact about the making of “The Godfather.” Francis Ford Coppola, one of the producers, stated on the Howard Stern radio show that Lenny Montana, the actor who played Luca Brasi, actually worked as a bodyguard for a reputed mobster.

So the next time you watch “The Godfather,” see if you can imagine Jack Nicholson playing the part of Michael with Orson Welles as Vito Corleone. That might be hard to do.


Street Talk

It's one of my favorite books, too, Jay. What a masterpiece!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Jay Gumbs  

The book is one of my favorites. Couldn't put it down. Love the movies too. The cast was perfect. Can't imagine anyone else playing the characters.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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