‘The Godfather’ is one of the most famous and popular crime movies of all-time. This 1972 film was co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo. The story spans the period between 1945 and 1955 and chronicles the events in the life of a fictional New York crime family. The film starred Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall. Here are 10 interesting facts you might not know about this film.
1. The Words ‘Mafia’ and ‘Mob’ Are Never Used
While this film is one of the most famous gangster films in the world, it may surprise you to learn that the terms ‘Mob’ and ‘Mafia’ are not used at any point in the film. The only point in the movie when a similar term is used in a newspaper headline that announces ‘Mobster Barzini Questioned in Underworld Feud’.
2. One of the Best Quotes Was an Improvisation
One of the best quotes in the film is ‘Leave the gun. Take the Cannoli.’ This line was improvised by Richard Castellano after Clemenza’s wife had said in an earlier scene, ‘Don’t forget the cannoli!’.
3. Brando Used Cue Cards
It is a little-known fact that Marlon Brando needed cue cards to complete filming of ‘The Godfather’. Instead of learning his lines exactly, he got a general feel for them and then used cue cards to remind him. He said that this made the lines sound less canned and more natural.
4. They Used a Real Horse’s Head
In rehearsals, a fake horse’s head was used in one of the scenes of this movie. However, during the actual shoot, it was replaced with a real horse’s head. John Marley, who acted in this scene, was not aware that this was going to happen so his screams are also real.
5. Francis Ford Coppola’s Daughter is in All Three ‘Godfather’ Movies
Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter Sophia made an early debut in the film industry as she appeared in all three films as a child. In the first film, she is a baby in the baptism scene. In ‘The Godfather II’, she is an immigrant girl on a ship. In the final film of the trilogy, she plays the daughter of Michael Corleone.
6. The Most Memorable Scene Was Accidental
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is in Corleone’s study on the day of his daughter’s wedding. Lenny Montana, who played Luca Brasi, was nervous about acting with Brando. As a result, he couldn’t shoot the scene properly. Coppola didn’t have time for another reshoot so chose the best of the cuts he had. The resulting scene shows a softer side to Corleone.
7. Brando Wore a Custom Mouthpiece
It is often believed that Marlon Brando stuffed his mouth with cotton wool to play Veto Corleone. However, although he did this in the audition, a custom mouthpiece was made for filming that helped him get the look and voice you see in the film.
8. Brando Turned Down His Oscar
Marlon Brando won an Academy for Best Actor for his portrayal of Vito Corleone. However, the veteran actor was not interested in accepting the award. At the awards ceremony in 1973, Sacheen Littlefeather went to the stage on behalf of Brando and explained he was not accepting the award because of the treatment of American Indians in the film industry.
9. Many Famous Actors Were Turned Down at Casting
There were many really big Hollywood names who were keen to have a role in this film. The role of Michael, played by Al Pacino, was especially popular as Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, and Warren Beatty were all keen to play this role. Strangely, Al Pacino did not want to play the role originally.
10. The Film Impacted on the Understanding of the Term ‘Don’
Since the filming of the Godfather, people have believed that the term ‘Don’ is used to describe a murderous crime boss. However, this is not the case as in Italian it translates more closely to ‘respected uncle’. The way Mario Puzo uses the term ‘Don’ in his books has impacted on people’s understanding of this word.
You can watch the trailer for ‘The Godfather’ here: