Author Mario Puzo brought his vision of an Italian American family’s struggles and dramas to life when Francis Ford Coppola decided to bring it to the big screen. The original movie in the trilogy, The Godfather debuted in 1972. Audiences soon became both enthralled and shocked at the close up view of the Corleone family, led by the strong arm of Don Vito Corleone, also known as “the Godfather.” Actor Marlon Brando played the perfect patriarch. The young Al Pacino starred as Michael Corleone and James Caan was cast as Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone, the son who was assumed to take over Don Vito’s role as head of the family until the unfortunate toll booth scene.
The Godfather trilogy offered audiences both an epic drama and a stellar cast. Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, Abe Vigoda, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, and Andy Garcia were all part of the Godfather trilogy cast in at least one of the movies. Robert De Niro took on the challenging role of the young Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II.
What makes the Godfather trilogy the best movie trilogy of all time, aside from the cast and epic storylines, is the fact that it set the bar for all future organized crime films. America’s fascination with all things mafia grew after the Godfather trilogy opened the door to the Corleone family business. The HBO hit The Sopranos proved that what the Godfather triology themes still hold popular appeal for modern film and television viewers.
The Godfather: Part II(1974) was sent to theaters just two years after The Godfather made its debut at theaters. This second movie in the Godfather trilogy provided a glimpse into the past of Don Vito Corleone, as well as an inside view to how the Corleone family business expanded as far as Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Cuba. The innocence young Michael Corleone once had at the beginning of The Godfather is permanently lost in this second Godfrather trilogy movie.
Though The Godfather: Part III may not have been a critics’ or audience favorite in the Godfather trilogy, it did provide a long due addition to the Godfather series of movies, premiering in 1990 after a 16 year gap. This final Godfather triolgy movie showed the world an aging don (Michael Corleone) and the challenges the Corleone family faced mixing old fashioned traditional organized crime into a rapidly changing modern world.
The Godfather trilogy will always be the classic nod to organized crime. What began as a big screen adaption of Mario Puzo’s novels became a larger than life Godfather movie trilogy. Scenes such as the horse head on the bed scene, the Lake Tahoe one way boat ride scene, and the Baptism killing symphony scene where a young Michael Corleone rises to power will never be forgotten. Despite other epic movie trilogies made with bigger budgets and more modern special effects, the Godfather trilogy will always reign as the best movie trilogy of all time.