The Godfather was the film that got Francis Ford Coppola on the map as a director. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won three including Best Picture, Best Actor for Marlon Brando, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The film takes place during the 1940s and is about a crime boss named Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando) and his four sons: Sonny (played by James Caan), who is hot-headed but is next in line for the "family business"; Tom Hagen, (played by Robert Duvall), who is his adopted son and consigliere (or counselor); Michael (played by Al Pacino in his breakout role), who wants to have nothing to do with the "family business"; and Fredo (played by the late John Cazale), who is the youngest and weakest of the Corleones (who will get a bigger role in The Godfather Part II).
What makes The Godfather magnificent is that it concentrates both Vito Corleone, which Marlon Brando gives such a powerful presence every time he's on screen, and his son Michael, wonderfully performed by Al Pacino. This is especially great for the contrast that both these characters share: Vito, for the influences, good or bad he has on his sons as well as the mob world and changes for the better; while Michael doesn't want to be part of his business, but some turn of events happens and gradually he becomes part of the business and changes for the worst.
The opening scene of the film does a phenomenal job to introducing the mob world, as well as introducing the character of Vito Corleone. It starts off with a black screen with the line "I believe in America" then shows Bona Sera, who is desperate for Vito's help as he tells his story about his daughter and how her abusive husband gone too far and asks Vito to do something about it, as the camera is at first close-up to Bona Sera, then zooms out as he tells his story, then it cuts to Vito pondering about this and giving his answer. It showcase the amazing cinematography, the incredible performances, and the meticulous direction by Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather deserves its title as one of the greatest movies of all time, with a tight screenplay, meticulous direction, and outstanding performances from everyone in the cast. The film is about three hours long, but the film's pacing is brilliant as the film doesn't feel like three hours long.