7 Little-Known Facts About the Godfather
In the movie The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, is the founder and mob boss of the Corleone Family. In the film’s opening scene, Don Vito Corleone is seen holding a cat on his lap while he sits in his office during his daughter’s wedding ceremony.
Francis Ford Coppola, the film’s writer and director, found the stray cat while walking through the lot at Paramount studios. Originally, the cat was not in the script at all, but right before the scene was filmed, Coppola gave the cat to Brando to see how it would play out.
Evidently, the scene was left with the cat, which ended up creating one of the more memorable images from the Godfather films. The cat did create a problem, though, because its purring muffled some of Brando’s lines, which meant they had to be looped over.
The placement of the cat is often seen as representing the hidden claws beneath The Don’s warm facade.
The idea was that if the movie was a flop, people would at least know how to make spaghetti sauce!
The scene where Clemenza makes spaghetti sauce is in the original novel, but the actual recipe is not.
In the movie, though, Clemenza gives the recipe while he cooks.
The DVD commentary explained that the recipe came from Francis Ford Coppola, the director.
He said that in case the movie flopped, at least people would know how to make spaghetti sauce.
Specific measurements aren't given, but if you pay attention, you can tell how much of each ingredient Clemenza uses in the scene.
He was not told that a real horse head, which was obtained from a dog food company, was going to be used.
Something similar happened in Back to the Future when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) drank real booze while thinking it was water.
The word “Mafia” is not uttered once in The Godfather.
The first rule of the Mafia: don’t talk about the Mafia. Despite the fact that the entire movie is about the exploits of an Italian family crime syndicate, this familiar label is never applied to their dealings. If you find the lack of this five-letter M word in the film to be bizarre, you are right. The reason the word is never spoken is because the Italian-American Civil Rights League requested that “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” be removed from the film’s script! In retrospect, I think this makes The Godfather even cooler - it’s like the one word that could best sum up the entire film is considered to be taboo among its characters.
You can still find a healthy dose of racial slurs, however - the 1972 Best Picture does not shy away from the usage of potentially offensive words such as “greaser,” “wop,” “dago,” and “guinea.”
In the Godfather trilogy, the presence of oranges in a scene signifies an upcoming death or assassination attempt.
Film buffs believe this to be true despite the fact that production designer Dean Tavoularis claims the fruit was just used to brighten up an otherwise darkly-shot film. This cause-and-effect sequence (oranges followed by death) occurs far too many times throughout the three movies for it not to have been done intentionally.
We don’t want to spoil anything for those of you that haven’t watched these classic films, so if you want to see a list of the orange-related incidents throughout the trilogy, check out this site.
The American Film Institute created 100 Heroes and Villains. It is a list of the 100 greatest screen characters of all times created in 2003, with 50 heroes and 50 villains. It was part of the 100 Years…Series done by AFI from 1998 to 2008.
AFI was established as a non-profit organization in 1967 as a national arts organization. Their 100 Years…Series included 100 Movies, 100 Stars, 100 Thrills, 100 Laughs, and more. The presentation program was even nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special.
In the 100 Heroes and Villains list, Gary Cooper was the only person to make the list three times, all for heroic roles. Al Pacino and Arnold Schwartzenegger are the only actors to be on both the Hero and Villain list.
Schwartzenegger made the lists as the Terminator from two different Terminator movies. If you remember, he played an evil Terminator in the first movie, and a modified good one in the second one. Al Pacino was celebrated as heroic NYPD officer Frank Serpico. He was also named in the villains list for playing Michael Corleone in the Godfather part II.
In the late '60s Marlon Brando's career was taking a turn for the worse. He hadn't had a commercial hit in a few years, and he was building a bad reputation for being difficult to work with. Apparently, he was very unwilling to memorize his lines on set and often confronted directors with odd requests.
However, he had a couple of fans in director Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo, who wrote The Godfather with Brando in mind. Coppola had Brando submit a make-up test and felt electrified by what he saw. He really wanted Brando to play Vito Corleone.
Paramount Studios, however, did not want to deal with the temperamental actor. Eventually, though, the studio heads saw the screen test and decided to allow Brando to work on the movie. The rest is history, it was a mid-career turning point for Brando, who went on to achieve even bigger fame than he had before.