The Film Essay

The Film Essay

"The Godfather" (1972) is one of the most successful films directed by F.F. Coppola, which reveals a number of controversial issues related to the life of the criminal underworld in the US. The film is based on the book written by M. Puzo and conveys the detailed story created by the writer but still F.F. Coppola had managed to introduce his own vision of the film and, at the same time, he had managed to convey the main themes raised in the books and interpreted by the directory. In fact, the film is one of the most significant cinematographic works, which is recognized by the audience for its messages, actors’ play and great work of the director. Nevertheless, "The Godfather" gained a tremendous success because it combined themes important for the audience and the perfect blend of the work of the director and actors. In this respect, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the film raises the theme of the controversy of the criminal underworld, which combines murders, blackmail, gambling and other crimes with traditional human values, such as family, love, and deception.

Director and directing

Many specialists (Lewis, 1998) point out that F.F. Coppola did not just conveyed the story written by M. Puzo but he conveyed his own vision of the story and interpreted the story in his own original way. In addition, F.F. Coppola has managed to use visualization successfully to reveal new aspects of "The Godfather". In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that F.F. Coppola uses effectively close-ups to reveal emotions and feelings of the main characters as well as special effects which reveal the full extent to which the story influence the audience. For instance, the murders and violence depicted in the film look realistic and close to the real life that makes the audience shocked and appalled by the terrors of the regular life of the criminal underworld in the US. On the other hand, the director does not make his film a mere action. In stark contrast, he uses violence to emphasize the realistic depiction of the criminal life in the US. In such a way, the author uses available means and artistic details to convey the story of the rise of the criminal clan headed by Vito Corleone and maintained by his son Frank.

At the same time, the director paid a lot of attention to the casting of actors and the use of special effects, the work of cameramen, costumes and other important elements. In fact, the directing is well-balanced and shows the close attention the director paid to all details. For instance, the director uses decorations and costumes, which mirror the real life of people in the epoch depicted by the film. Therefore, the story conveyed in the film looks to be realistic and close to the lifetime depicted by the director.

Actors and acting

At the same time, the overall success of «The Godfather” is not just the result of a successful work of the director but also by the effective and successful work of actors. In this respect, it is particularly important to dwell upon the play of the two main characters Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) and his son Frank (Al Pacino). In fact, these artists played great parts in the film. Remarkable, Marlon Brando had been a renowned and popular actor by the time of the creation of the film, whereas Al Pacino was a rising star. Nevertheless, both actors played outstanding parts and the audience perceived their play as genius. At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that other actors also played their parts successfully. Each character performed their parts properly and conveyed accurately those characters, images they were supposed to convey. In this regard, actors had managed to depict the main characters of the film realistically. Each actor focused on his or her part and attempted to mirror the real life the director attempted to convey through his film.

Themes and messages

On analyzing the film, it is hardly possible to ignore themes and messages raised by the director in the film. To put it more precisely, the film conveys a number of messages which the audience can trace clearly. In this respect, the theme of the life of the criminal underworld is one of the major themes of the film. In fact, the film shows the controversy of the criminal underworld. On the one hand, the film reveals the horrors of the criminal life of the US. The film shows that the criminal underworld had certain code of conduct and rules which were quite reasonable and even honorable in a way. For instance, Don Corleone has created his criminal empire using honest rules but, as the matter of fact, he reached his goals using criminal methods. He punished offenders of his rules by means of violence and murders. Even though the violence used by Don Corleone seems to be just but it was still illegal and not always proportional to the crime. In fact, the criminal empire of Don Corleone virtually replaced the existing justice system of the US. Hence, many specialists (Cowie, 1997) argue that "The Godfather" romanticize the criminal underworld and the crime itself. However, the film depicts violent elements to show that the criminal underworld is terrible and a crime is still a crime, regardless of the goals which people attempt to achieve by means of crime.


Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that "The Godfather" is a great film that depicts the life of the criminal underworld, which proves to be full of feelings, sufferings, emotions and events which occur in the regular life of average people. In such a way, the film shows that the criminal world is still similar to the civil world but, on the other hand, the film reminds about the horrors of the criminal underworld. Such themes raised in the film still attract the audience along with the successful directing and actors’ play.


Coppola, F.F. (1972). The Godfather. Paramount Pictures Alfran Production.
Cowie, P. (1997). The Godfather Book. Faber and Faber.
Lewis, J.E. (1998). New American Cinema. Duke University Press.
Nourmand, T. (2007). The Godfather in Pictures, London: Boxtree.
Stewart, G. (2008). The Godfather: Background and History. New York: Random House.

The Film Essay 9 of 10 on the basis of 2445 Review.