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However, this reckless act proved to be a blessing in disguise, because Brando thought Russo was acting, and was convinced he would be good for the role.

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Francis Ford Coppola turned in an initial Director's Cut running two hours and six minutes. Paramount Pictures production chief Robert Evans rejected this version, and demanded a longer cut with more scenes about the family. The final release version was nearly fifty minutes longer than Coppola's initial cut.

Stanley Kubrick thought the film had the best cast ever and could be the best movie ever made. At the meeting in the restaurant, Sollozzo speaks to Michael in Sicilian so rapidly that subtitles could not be used. He begins with, "I am sorry. What happened to your father was business. I have much respect for your father. But your father, his thinking is old-fashioned. You must understand why I had to do that. Now let's work through where we go from here. I respect myself, understand, and cannot allow another man to hold me back.

What happened was unavoidable.

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I had the unspoken support of the other family dons. If your father were in better health, without his eldest son running things, no disrespect intended, we wouldn't have this nonsense. We will stop fighting until your father is well and can resume bargaining.

No vengeance will be taken. We will have peace. But your family should interfere no longer. George Lucas put together the "Mattress Sequence" the montage of crime scene photos and headlines about the war between the five families as a favor to Francis Ford Coppola for helping him fund American Graffiti He asked not to be credited. Lucas used photos from real crime scenes.

The one pictured is Frank Nitti aka "The Enforcer" , Al Capone 's right-hand man who had not been murdered, but actually shot himself. During the scene, Coppola's father, Carmine, is the piano player.

He felt she was too pretty for the part, and did not want to be accused of nepotism. Only at Mario Puzo 's request did Shire get a chance to audition. Both nights, at 11 p. Lucas urged him to take the job. The scenes of Michael and Kay at the wedding at the beginning were shot at night. Due to the rushed schedule, Francis Ford Coppola had to get their scenes in the bag. Cinematographer Gordon Willis was furious at having to rig up so many lights. John Cazale Fredo appeared in five feature-length movies. All five films were released during the New Hollywood era in the s and each one was nominated for Best Picture.

Additionally, all five were selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Francis Ford Coppola held improvisational rehearsal sessions that simply consisted of the main cast sitting down in character for a family meal.

The actors and actresses couldn't break character, which Coppola saw as a way for the cast to organically establish the family roles seen in the final film. The three-year-old child actor, Anthony Gounaris , responded best when his real name was used while shooting the film. That is why Michael's son's name is Anthony.

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Stallone instead decided to try his hand at writing, first completing the screenplay for the modestly successful The Lords of Flatbush He would later get his break in Rocky , alongside Talia Shire , who portrayed Connie Corleone in this film. In many of the Sicily scenes, Michael wipes his nose with a handkerchief.

The novel explains that McCluskey's punch did damage to his sinuses. Despite lead billing, Marlon Brando 's total screentime is less than one hour.


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Francis Ford Coppola worked with relatives in this film, making it a family film in many contexts. In chronological order of appearance: his sister, Talia Shire , portrayed Connie Corleone throughout the saga, his mother, Italia Coppola , served as an extra in the restaurant meeting, his father, Carmine Coppola , was the piano player in the Mattress sequence and, he composed the music, his sons Gian-Carlo Coppola and Roman Coppola , can be seen as extras in the scene where Sonny beats up Carlo, and he is at the funeral, and his daughter, Sofia Coppola , is the baby, Michael Rizzi, in the baptism she was three weeks old at the time of shooting.

Moe Greene was modelled after Jewish mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, although Siegel was not known for wearing glasses. Both were assassinated with a shot through the eye, with the glasses worn by Greene being necessary in order to accomplish the special effect eye shot.

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Sergio Leone was approached to direct the film, but turned it down since he felt the story, which glorified the Mafia, was not interesting enough. He later regretted refusing the offer, but would go on to direct his own critically acclaimed gangster film, Once Upon a Time in America Al Pacino wore a foam latex facial appliance that covered his entire left cheek and was made up with colors to match his skin tone and give the effect of bruising, to simulate the effect of having his jaw broken by Captain McCluskey.

Paramount Pictures' original idea was to make this a low-budget gangster film set in the present, rather than a period piece set in the s and s. Francis Ford Coppola rejected Mario Puzo 's original script, based on this idea. The very first scene to be shot was the one where Michael and Kay go Christmas shopping.

Radio personality Howard Stern has said that he would gladly have any cast member of this film as his guest, and they can show up at his studio unannounced.

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Though over the years, cast members such as Robert Duvall and James Caan were pre-scheduled guests, his "just show up" policy was never taken up until Gianni Russo arrived one day. Stern immediately had him escorted into his studio, even though he was in the midst of other guests at the time, and interviewed him.

James Caan originally heard the phrase "bada-bing! James Caan was angry that scenes giving Sonny more depth such as his reaction to his father's shooting were cut from the film. He confronted Robert Evans at the premiere and yelled at him, "Hey, you cut my whole fuckin' part out". Caan claimed that forty-five minutes of his character were cut.

The film's opening scene, a three-minute zoom-out of Amerigo Bonasera and Don Corleone, was achieved with a computer-controlled zoom lens, which had earlier been used in Silent Running Robert Evans was unimpressed by them, and insisted that official screentests be held. The studio spent four hundred twenty thousand dollars on the screentests, but in the end, the actors and actresses Coppola originally wanted were hired. The Don's wife, Carmella Corleone, is seen singing at the wedding.

Morgana King , who played Carmella, was a gifted jazz singer, and portraying Carmella was actually her film debut, as well as her acting debut. Paramount was in severe financial trouble in the early s, and really needed a big hit. They specifically asked Francis Ford Coppola to make the film more explicitly violent. When Vito Corleone has his brush with death, there is a poster of Jake LaMotta hanging on a building wall behind the fruit vendor.

Robert De Niro won an Oscar for playing both of those characters on film. That role, like this one, earned Brando an Oscar. Gordon Willis was forced to use overhead lighting for Marlon Brando 's scenes, because of his make-up. He decided to extend it throughout, which is one reason the movie is so dark. There was a great deal of mooning on-set, started by James Caan and Robert Duvall.

In an effort to break some tension during a rehearsal for the first scene, the pair mooned Francis Ford Coppola , Marlon Brando , and Salvatore Corsitto. Bob Duvall and I were in one car and Brando was in another, so we drove up beside him and I pulled down my pants and stuck my ass out the window. Brando fell down in the car with laughter. Even Al Pacino got in on the act, as he told Ladies' Home Journal, "In a scene where I sit behind a desk, wardrobe made a big fuss about getting me a shirt with a smaller collar. So while everyone was looking at the shirt, I took off my pants.

When I came out from behind the desk, I got a laugh, even though we had to do the scene over.

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They planned it carefully and Caan, who overheard the plan, started to shout, "No, no, not here! Eventually, Brando was crowned best prankster, designated by a heavyweight-style leather belt with the title, "Moon Champion". Marlon Brando was only 47 years old when he played Don Vito Corleone. Despite heavy make up, some critics felt he still looked too young for the part. While filming the scene in which Carlo beats her, Talia Shire lost a shoe.