ByDave Yaeger, writer at
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Dave Yaeger

Not at all to marginalize female fans of The Godfather, but watching The Godfather is almost a rite of passage for men. I know guys who live their entire lives by the messages of family and loyalty in the film. Fortunately, they do not also execute hordes of their enemies during, say, a child’s baptism, but there’s a manly gravitas to the film that bolsters the argument that it's greatest movie ever made. How do you separate five scenes out of that?

1. I'm Going To Make Him An Offer

One of the best openings of any movie. Ever. The scene establishes the character of Don Corleone, his dignity, his code and his position in the community in one interaction with a supplicant. It also gives us one of the most famous lines in all of movie history.

2. It's Strictly Business

The first Godfather is all about Michael’s descent into Hell. This is the moment when Lucifer falls, so to speak. While the rest of the family think he’s joking, Michael coldly plans the execution of two crooked cops and leaves no doubt that the only Corleone not previously in the family business is now IN.

3. Don't Ever Take Sides Against The Family

Ah, Fredo. This was your warning, man. Mike warned you.

4. I Never Wanted This For You

This is a beautiful little scene between Michael and the Don right before his death. The Don keeps awkwardly talking business, but Michael clearly has it under control by this point. It becomes just a father talking to his son about his burden and how sorry he is that he has to carry it. It's a brilliant showcase from Marlon Brando and Al Pacino.

5. A Baptism Of Blood

This is one of the most effective and disturbing juxtapositions in film. As Michael becomes the godfather to his sister’s child, we cut between the rites of the baptism and the cold execution of all the Corleones' enemies. It’s brilliant directing from Coppola. Even more so than the final door closing at the end of the film, this is where you see that Michael has become a monster.

Which of these scenes had the most lasting impact on your first watch of The Godfather?


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