Rarely can it be said that a film has defined a genre, but never is that more true than in the case of The Godfather. Since the release of the 1972 epic (which garnered ten Academy Award nominations and was named Best Picture), all "gangster movies" have been judged by the standards of this one (unfair as the comparison may be). If a film is about Jewish mobsters, it's a "Jewish Godfather"; if it's about the Chinese underworld, it's an "Oriental Godfather"; if it takes place in contemporary times, it's a "modern day Godfather." If The Godfather was only about gun-toting Mafia types, it would never have garnered as many accolades. The characteristic that sets this film apart from so many of its predecessors and successors is its ability to weave the often-disparate layers of story into a cohesive whole. Any of the individual issues explored by The Godfather are strong enough to form the foundation of a movie. Here, however, bolstered by so many complimentary themes, each is given added resonance. The picture is a series of mini-climaxes, all building to the devastating, definitive conclusion. Rarely does a film tell as many diverse-yet-interconnected stories. Strong performances, solid directing, and a tightly-plotted script all contribute to The Godfather's success. This motion picture was not slapped together to satiate the appetite of the masses; it was carefully and painstakingly crafted. Every major character - and more than a few minor ones - is molded into a distinct, complex individual. Stereotypes did not influence Coppola's film, although certain ones were formed as a result of it. The film opens in the study of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the Godfather, who is holding court. It is the wedding of his daughter Connie (Talia Shire), and no Sicilian can refuse a request on that day. So the supplicants come, each wanting something different - revenge, a husband for their daughter, a part in a movie. The family has gathered for the...
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