343 Interesting Facts About The Godfather (1972) Movie

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    1. During an early shot of the scene where Vito Corleone returns home and his people carry him up the stairs, Marlon Brando put weights under his body on the bed as a prank, to make it harder to lift him.
    2. Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) was so nervous about working with Marlon Brando that in the first take of their scene together, he flubbed some lines. Director Francis Ford Coppola liked the genuine nervousness and used it in the final cut. The scenes of Luca practicing his speech were added later.
    3. Animal rights activists protested the horse’s head scene. Francis Ford Coppola told Variety, “There were many people killed in that movie, but everyone worries about the horse. It was the same on the set. When the head arrived, it upset many crew members who are animal lovers, who like little doggies. What they don’t know is that we got the head from a pet food manufacturer who slaughters two hundred horses a day just to feed those little doggies.”
    4. James Caan improvised the part where he throws the F.B.I. photographer to the ground. The actor’s frightened reaction is genuine. Caan also came up with the idea of throwing money at the man to make up for breaking his camera. As he put it, “Where I came from, you broke something, you replaced it or repaid the owner.”
    5. There was intense friction between Francis Ford Coppola and Paramount Pictures, in which Paramount Pictures frequently tried to have Coppola replaced, citing his inability to stay on schedule, unnecessary expenses, and production and casting errors (Coppola actually completed the film ahead of schedule and under budget).
    6. Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look like a bulldog,” so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. For the actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist. This appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.
    7. The smack that Vito gives Johnny Fontane was not in the script. Marlon Brando improvised the smack and Al Martino’s confused reaction was real. According to James Caan, “Martino didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
    8. The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray that Coppola found while on the lot at Paramount Pictures, and was not originally called for in the script. So content was the cat, that its purring muffled some of Brando’s dialogue, and, as a result, most of his lines had to be looped.
    9. The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo (Connie’s husband) took four days to shoot, and featured more than seven hundred extras. The use of the garbage can lid was improvised by James Caan.
    10. Don Vito Corleone’s distinctive voice was based on real-life mobster Frank Costello. Marlon Brando had seen him on television during the Estes Kefauver hearings in 1951, and imitated his husky whisper in the film.
    11. According to Richard S. Castellano, he defended Gordon Willis during a disagreement Willis was having with Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola got revenge on Castellano by making him do twenty takes of the shots of Clemenza walking up four flights of stairs.
    12. The scene in which Enzo comes to visit Vito Corleone in the hospital was shot in reverse, with the outside sequence shot first. Gabriele Torrei (Enzo) had never acted in front of a camera before, and his nervous shaking, after the car drives away, was real.
    13. Whenever oranges appear in the film, they foreshadow death or a near death involving the Corleone family.
    14. Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.
    15. According to Al Pacino, the tears in Marlon Brando’s eyes were real, in the hospital scene when Michael pledges himself to his father.
    16. Al Pacino boycotted the Academy Awards ceremony, angry that he was nominated for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar, noting that his character had more screentime than his co-star, Best Actor winner, Marlon Brando.
    17. Cinematographer Gordon Willis earned himself the nickname “The Prince of Darkness,” since his sets were so underlit. Paramount Pictures executives initially thought that the footage was too dark, until persuaded otherwise by Willis and Francis Ford Coppola that it was to emphasize the shadiness of the Corleone family’s dealings.
    18. Note the attention to detail: most of the cars have wooden bumpers. Bumpers were removed by car owners during World War II, and replaced with wooden ones. The chrome ones were turned in to help with the war effort. After the war, it took several years for them to be replaced.
    19. Although there are many claims of real Mafiosi as cast members, Francis Ford Coppola stated in a May 2009 interview with Howard Stern that no organized crime members were cast or used as consultants. Coppola went on to explain there are expectations of reciprocity once one is provided a “favor” by an organized crime member or otherwise involved in a business action with the same. He specifically denied the connection of Gianni Russo to organized crime. The closest Coppola claims to have come to a real gangster during production, at least to his knowledge, was an interaction with Lenny Montana, who played Luca Brasi. Coppola said, when he asked if Montana knew how to spin the cylinder of the revolver, Montana replied, “You kiddin’?”
    20. One of the reasons why Francis Ford Coppola finally agreed to direct the film was because he was in debt to Warner Brothers, following $400,000 budget overruns on George Lucas’s THX 1138 (1971). Lucas urged him to take the job.
    21. The line “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” was selected by the American Film Institute on its list as one of the top 100 movie quotes. It was at number two, right behind “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”, from Gone with the Wind (1939).
    22. Al Pacino’s maternal grandparents emigrated to America from Corleone, Sicily, just as Vito Corleone had.
    23. Orson Welles lobbied to get the part of Don Vito Corleone, even offering to lose a good deal of weight in order to get the role. Francis Ford Coppola, a Welles fan, had to turn him down because he already had Marlon Brando in mind for the role and felt Welles wouldn’t be right for it.
    24. According to Francis Ford Coppola, the film took sixty-two days to shoot.
    25. The early buzz on this movie was so positive, that a sequel was planned before the film was even finished filming.
    26. Francis Ford Coppola insisted on the film being called “Mario Puzo’s The Godfather” rather than just “The Godfather”, because his original draft of the screenplay was so faithful to the novel, he thought Puzo deserved the credit for it.
    27. Richard S. Castellano ad-libbed the line “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
    28. For the scene where Clemenza is cooking, Francis Ford Coppola originally wrote in the script, “Clemenza browns some sausage.” Upon seeing this, Mario Puzo crossed out “browns” and replaced it with “fries”, writing in the margin, “gangsters don’t brown.”
    29. Moe Greene was modeled 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 eyeshot.
    30. 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 (1973). 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.
    31. Because Corleone, Sicily, was too developed, even in the early 1970s, the Sicilian town of Savoca, outside Taormina, was used for shooting the scenes where Michael is in exile in Italy.
    32. Francis Ford Coppola was reluctant to let his sister, Talia Shire, audition for the role of Connie. 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.
    33. According to Mario Puzo, the character of Johnny Fontane was not based on Frank Sinatra. However, it was widely assumed that it was, and Sinatra was furious. When he met Puzo at a restaurant, he screamed vulgar terms and threats at Puzo. Sinatra was also vehemently opposed to the film. Due to this backlash, Fontane’s role in the film was scaled down to a couple of scenes.
    34. 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.” When Michael returns from the bathroom, he continues in Sicilian with, “Everything all right? I respect myself, understand, and cannot allow another man to hold me back. What happened was unavoidable. 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.”
    35. Gianni Russo used his organized crime connections to secure the role of Carlo Rizzi, going so far as to get a camera crew to film his own audition and send it to the producers. However, Marlon Brando was initially against having Russo, who had never acted before, in the film. This made Russo furious, and he went to threaten Brando. 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.
    36. In 1974, the film premiered on NBC over two nights: Saturday, November 16, and Monday, November 18, from 9-11 p.m.. Both nights, at 11 p.m., New York City’s Municipal Water Authorities had some overflow problems from all of the toilets flushing around the same time.
    37. 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.
    38. Stanley Kubrick thought the film had the best cast ever and could be the best movie ever made.
    39. 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.
    40. 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).
    41. 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 (1984).
    42. 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.
    43. Al Pacino, James Caan, and Diane Keaton were all paid thirty-five thousand dollars for their work on the film.
    44. A young Sylvester Stallone auditioned for the roles of Paulie Gatto and Carlo Rizzi, but was not cast for either. Stallone instead decided to try his hand at writing, first completing the screenplay for the modestly successful The Lords of Flatbush (1974). He would later get his break in Rocky (1976), alongside Talia Shire, who portrayed Connie Corleone in this film.
    45. The very first scene to be shot was the one where Michael and Kay go Christmas shopping.
    46. 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.
    47. 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.
    48. The only comment Robert Duvall made about his performance was that he wished “they would have made a better hairpiece” for his character.
    49. 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. 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.
    50. Jewish actors James Caan and Abe Vigoda portrayed Italian characters (Santino Corleone and Salvatore Tessio), while Italian Alex Rocco portrayed a Jewish character (Moe Greene).
      John Cazale (Fredo) appeared in five feature-length movies. All five films were released during the New Hollywood era in the 1970s 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”.
    51. James Caan originally heard the phrase “bada-bing!” from his acquaintance, the real-life mobster Carmine Persico, and improvised its use in the film.
    52. 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. In addition, the final scene of Raging Bull (1980) features De Niro, as LaMotta, repeating Marlon Brando’s monologue from the end of On the Waterfront (1954). That role, like this one, earned Brando an Oscar.
    53. 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.
    54. When Marlon Brando won the Best Actor Oscar for this movie, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather (Marie Louise Cruz) to represent him at the awards ceremonies. The presenters of the award were Roger Moore and Liv Ullmann. When Moore offered the statuette to Littlefeather, she snubbed him and proceeded with her speech about the film industry’s mistreatment of Native Americans.
    55. According to Albert S. Ruddy’s assistant, Bettye McCartt, Ruddy was warned by police that the Mafia was following his car. Ruddy would switch cars with McCartt in an effort to lose them. One night, McCartt found her car with the windows shot out and a note that read, “Shut down the movie or else.”
    56. 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.
    57. Paramount executive Peter Bart bought the film rights to Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” before it was even finished. It was still only a 20-page outline.
    58. 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.
    59. During pre-production, Francis Ford Coppola shot his own unofficial screentests with Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton at his house in San Francisco. 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.
    60. Paramount was in severe financial trouble in the early 1970s, and really needed a big hit. They specifically asked Francis Ford Coppola to make the film more explicitly violent.
    61. Despite lead billing, Marlon Brando’s total screentime is less than one hour.
    62. George Lucas used photos from real crime scenes in the Mattress Sequence. One of the most prominent photos shows two cops kneeling beside what looks like a man sleeping on the ground with his head propped up against a fence. That man is “The Enforcer” Frank Nitti, Al Capone’s right-hand man who had, in fact, committed suicide with a gunshot to the head.
    63. The film was set and shot in New York City, at over one hundred locations. Originally, the entire film was to be shot in the Hollywood backlots, in order to save production costs. However, Production Designer Dean Tavoularis threatened to add two stories to each backlot building in order to replicate the look of New York City, and the studio relented, and allowed for shooting in New York City.
    64. According to Francis Ford Coppola in the DVD commentary, in the scene where Captain McCluskey confronts Michael in front of the hospital, the officer who balks at arresting Michael (“He’s clean, Captain. He’s a war hero.”) is NYPD Detective Sonny Grosso, one of the detectives made famous by his involvement in breaking the “French Connection” case.
    65. 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 1940s and 1950s. Francis Ford Coppola rejected Mario Puzo’s original script, based on this idea.
    66. 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. Caan told TIME Magazine, “My best moon was on Second Avenue. 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.” Richard Bright claimed that it got to the point where every time you turned opened a door, you expected to see someone’s behind. 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.” The ultimate moon came when Brando and Duvall mooned four hundred cast and crew members during the shooting of the wedding scene. They planned it carefully and Caan, who overheard the plan, started to shout, “No, no, not here!” Everyone working on the production and most of the extras roared with laughter (some of the older ladies didn’t appreciate the view). Eventually, Brando was crowned best prankster, designated by a heavyweight-style leather belt with the title, “Moon Champion”.
    67. 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 (1972).
    68. 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.
    69. Francis Ford Coppola didn’t care for the horse head scene in the novel, but recognized that it was too iconic to delete.
    70. Mafia crime boss Joe Colombo and his organization, The Italian-American Civil Rights League, started a campaign to stop the film from being made. According to Robert Evans in his autobiography, Colombo called his house and threatened him and his family. Paramount Pictures received many letters during pre-production from Italian-Americans, including politicians, decrying the film as anti-Italian. They threatened to protest and disrupt filming. Producer Albert S. Ruddy met with Colombo, who demanded that the terms “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” not be used in the film. Ruddy gave them the right to review the script and make changes. He also agreed to hire League members (mobsters) as extras and advisers. The angry letters ceased after this agreement was made. Paramount Pictures owner Charlie Bluhdorn read about the agreement in The New York Times, and was so outraged, that he fired Ruddy and shut down production, but Evans convinced Bluhdorn that the agreement was beneficial for the film, and Ruddy was rehired.
    71. According to Albert S. Ruddy, Marlon Brando “loved the people on Mott Street and they loved him”. An enormous crowd gathered to witness the scene of the Don’s attempted assassination. When he collapsed, those assembled gasped, then cheered wildly. Reports suggest that the scene had to be re-shot numerous times, as the audience couldn’t control their applause at Brando’s performance. When it was completed, Brando bowed to a cheering crowd.
    72. All of the actors who played Marlon Brando’s sons (Robert Duvall, John Cazale, James Caan, and Al Pacino) were only between six and sixteen years younger than Brando, and Caan’s character, Santino, is supposed to be older than Pacino’s character, Michael. Caan and Pacino are the same age, being born only one month apart in 1940.
    73. 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.
    74. Marlon Brando based some of his performance on Al Lettieri, who plays Sollozzo. While preparing for On the Waterfront (1954), Brando became friendly with Lettieri, whose relative was a real-life Mafioso. Brando and Lettieri would later co-star in The Night of the Following Day (1969). Lettieri also helped Brando prepare for his Godfather role by bringing him to his relative’s house for a family dinner.
    75. Mario Puzo modelled the character of Don Vito Corleone on New York City mob bosses Joe Profaci and Vito Genovese. Many of the events in his novel are based on actual incidents that occurred in the lives of Profaci, Genovese, and their families. Puzo based Don Vito’s personality on his own mother’s.
    76. Marlon Brando and James Caan had to wear lifts for the movie.
    77. While filming the scene in which Carlo beats her, Talia Shire lost a shoe. Not wanting to have to restore the set and wait for the camera to be set up for a second time, she simply continued to play through the scene, even at the risk of cutting her foot on all the ceramics she had just destroyed.
    78. Martin Sheen and Dean Stockwell auditioned for the role of Michael Corleone. Oscar winner Rod Steiger campaigned hard for the role of Michael, even though he was too old for the part. Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, and Dustin Hoffman were all offered the part of Michael Corleone, but all refused. (Beatty was also offered directing and producing duties.) Suggestions of Alain Delon and Burt Reynolds were rejected by Francis Ford Coppola. Paramount Pictures Production Chief Robert Evans wanted Robert Redford to be cast in the part, but Coppola demurred, as he was too WASP-y. Evans explained that Redford could fit the role, as he could be perceived as “northern Italian”. Evans eventually lost the struggle over the actor he derided as “The Midget”. The Irish-American Ryan O’Neal then became the front-runner for the part, though it eventually devolved onto James Caan. Before being cast as Michael, Al Pacino was committed to starring in The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight (1971). Coppola, in a 2003 “Cigar Aficionado” interview, said that Paramount Pictures pulled some strings and managed to get Pacino released. The Paramount brass, particularly Evans, were adamantly opposed to casting Pacino, who did poorly in screentests, until they saw his excellent performance in The Panic in Needle Park (1971). Caan went back to his original role of Sonny when Pacino came on-board. Robert De Niro tested for Michael and Sonny, and was almost cast as Carlo, before being cast as Paulie. Then, De Niro was offered Pacino’s former role in “Gang”. With Coppola’s blessing, De Niro backed out to take the part. This, in turn, enabled De Niro to star as a young Vito in the sequel, which won him an Oscar, and made his career.
    79. Paramount Pictures senior management, dissatisfied with the early rushes, considered replacing Francis Ford Coppola with Elia Kazan, with the hope that Kazan would be able to work with the notoriously difficult Marlon Brando. Brando announced that he would quit the film if Coppola was fired, and the studio backed down. Paramount Pictures brass apparently did not know of Brando’s dismay with Kazan over his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s.
    80. James Caan hung out with various disreputable characters, in order to better understand the underworld lifestyle.
    81. At one point during filming, Robert Evans felt the film had too little action and considered hiring an action director to finish the job. To satisfy Evans, Francis Ford Coppola and his son Gian-Carlo Coppola developed the scene in which Connie and Carlo have their long fight. As a result, Evans was pleased enough to let Coppola finish the film.
    82. During filming, Francis Ford Coppola complained about the station wagon that picked him up, so he and Robert Evans made a bet that if the film made fifty million dollars, Paramount Pictures would spring for a new car. As the film’s grosses climbed, Coppola and George Lucas went car shopping, and bought a Mercedes Benz 600 stretch limousine, instructing the salesman to send the bill to Paramount Pictures. The car appears in the opening scene of American Graffiti (1973).
    83. The film makes use of a variety of Italian words: Paulie says “sfortunato”, which means “unlucky guy”. Michael explains that Tom is a “consigliere”, or counselor. Vito calls Johnny Fontane a “finocchio”, an offensive term for a homosexual. Sonny refers to Paulie as a “stronzo”, a term equivalent to “asshole”. Carlo and Connie both say “vaffanculo” during their fight, which means “fuck you”. Don Zaluchi says the sale of drugs to children is an “infamia”, or an infamy. Both Don Corleones use the word “pezzo novanta”, which means “.90 caliber”, or more accurately, an idiom meaning “big shot”.
    84. Michael’s speech to Apollonia’s father was originally written to be in Sicilian, as it was in the novel. Al Pacino, however, did not speak Sicilian fluently, and could not learn such a lengthy speech. Francis Ford Coppola re-wrote the scene at the last minute to have Michael speak English, and have Fabrizio translate for him.
    85. The scene where Michael visits his father in the hospital was scheduled to be Marlon Brando’s first. However, he missed his plane, and arrived on-set at 2 p.m., much too late to film a scene, with two or three hours of face make-up prep alone. According to Robert Evans, when Paramount Pictures sent Brando a check for twelve thousand dollars for looping the film, Brando called to inform them that they had given him four thousand dollars too much, because of his missed day, and asked where to send it back.
    86. While Sonny was driving alone in his car, he listens to the October 3, 1951 radio broadcast of Russ Hodges calling the Dodgers versus Giants playoff, a half-inning before Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”.
    87. There are approximately sixty-one scenes in the film that feature people eating and drinking, or just food.
    88. The only scene that Marlon Brando shared with Diane Keaton in the film was the scene with the family photo taken at Connie’s wedding.
    89. The ribbons on Michael Corleone’s Marine Corps uniform are the Silver Star, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and the Purple Heart on the top row, and the Asiatic/Pacific Campaign Medal with a service star and an arrowhead, the European/African/Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with a service star, and the World War II Victory Medal on the bottom row. In The Godfather: Part II (1974), however, Michael tells a congressional committee that he was awarded the Navy Cross during the war.
    90. Although the dark photography of Gordon Willis was eventually copied by many other films, when the developed film came back from the lab, Paramount Pictures executives thought the look was a mistake. They ordered a different look, but Willis and Francis Ford Coppola refused.
    91. When Sonny beats up Carlo, a truck in the background and a wooden box on the sidewalk are strategically placed to hide anachronistic objects in the background.
    92. The character of Hollywood mogul Jack Woltz’s was patterned after Warner Brothers chief Jack L. Warner. His personality was based on MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who was a great racing aficionado, and owned a racing stable. Mayer abandoned the activity, reportedly after his son-in-law William Goetz, who was his partner in the stable, got involved with the Mafia and fixed a race. Mayer’s horse was the favorite to win.
    93. After Robert Evans insisted that James Caan be cast as Michael, Carmine Caridi was cast in the role of Sonny. According to Evans, he told Francis Ford Coppola that he could cast Al Pacino as Michael as long as he cast Caan as Sonny. Although Caan had been Coppola’s first choice, he decided that Caridi was better for the role, and did not want to re-cast Caan. Evans insisted on Caan because he wanted at least one “name” actor to play one of the brothers, and because the 6’4″ Caridi would tower over Pacino on-screen. Caridi was later given a small part in The Godfather: Part II (1974). There is a rumor that Burt Reynolds was originally cast as Sonny Corleone, but Marlon Brando wouldn’t act with him, considering him more a television star.
    94. Marlon Brando wanted Al Martino replaced, as he felt the singer’s acting was wooden.
    95. Mario Puzo gave Vito’s eldest son the nickname of “Sonny” after the nickname given to the son of Al Capone. The similarities end there. Sonny Capone did not enter his father’s business.
    96. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) go to see The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945). The sequel to Going My Way (1944), it was the first sequel to be nominated for Best Picture. The second was The Godfather: Part II (1974).
    97. Originally, Francis Ford Coppola was against directing the film, as he felt it glorified the Mafia and violence, and it would reflect poorly on his Italian-Sicilian heritage. However, he eagerly took the job, once he thought of making it an allegory of American capitalism.
    98. According to Ardell Sheridan, Mafia Captain (and future boss) Paul Castellano visited the set and spoke with Richard S. Castellano. It was not until after Paul was killed in 1985, did Richard reveal to her that Paul was his uncle.
    99. Frankie Avalon and Vic Damone, both established and experienced singers, auditioned for the role of Johnny Fontane. Francis Ford Coppola was most impressed with Damone, and gave the role to him, but Al Martino was cast by the producers, and used his organized crime connections to ensure he kept the part. Ironically, Fontane sings “I Have But One Heart”, which was Damone’s first hit song.
    100. Robert Duvall received $36,000 for eight weeks work.
    101. The meeting between the heads of the Mafioso was filmed in the boardroom of the Penn-Central Railroad. This explains the train mural seen behind Don Barzini (Richard Conte).
    102. The opening wedding celebrations were filmed over a period of a week, and employed over seven hundred fifty extras.
    103. After Marlon Brando’s death, his own annotated script for the film fetched twelve thousand eight hundred dollars at a New York City auction, the highest amount ever paid for a film script.
    104. Mario Puzo was very proud of one particular line from the novel, “A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns”. He was adamant that it be used in the film, but Marlon Brando felt it was too preachy, and it was excised.
    105. James Caan and Al Pacino were only ten years younger than Morgana King, who plays their mother. John Cazale was only five years younger.
    106. Francis Ford Coppola had a background in theater, and used it to prepare the script. He would take pages out of the book and paste them into a notebook, which gave him enough room to make detailed notes on the scenes he wanted to use, what he had to do to make them work, and what pitfalls to avoid. (One example: “Italians who-a talk-a like-a dis.”)
    107. James Caan was at first considered to play first Tom Hagen (for what he actually auditioned), and then Michael Corleone, before being eventually being cast as Sonny Corleone.
    108. The 45th Academy Award winner as Best Picture, it was the first winner to be even partially set in Los Angeles, the first to depict the film industry, and the first in which an Oscar statuette is visible.
    109. Real-life gangsters responded enthusiastically to the film, with many of them feeling it was a portrayal of how they were supposed to act. Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, the former underboss in the Gambino crime family, stated: “I left the movie stunned. I mean I floated out of the theater. Maybe it was fiction, but for me, then, that was our life. It was incredible. I remember talking to a multitude of guys, made guys, who felt exactly the same way.” According to Anthony Fiato after seeing the film, Patriarca crime family members Paulie Intiso and Nicky Giso altered their speech patterns closer to that of Vito Corleone’s. Intiso would frequently swear and use poor grammar, but after the movie came out, he started to articulate and philosophize more.
    110. For the long exterior shots of Tom entering the studio lot, and Tom and Jack Woltz walking around the grounds, the second unit filmed extras with wigs and hats in order to avoid having to pay Robert Duvall and John Marley.
    111. Nino Rota was originally nominated for an Oscar for his score but the nomination was withdrawn when it was realized that he had substantially re-worked parts of his earlier score for Fortunella (1958).
    112. The baptism scene was filmed in two churches. The interior shots were filmed at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in New York City, and the exterior shots were filmed at the Mount Loretto Church in Pleasant Plains, Staten Island.
    113. Francis Ford Coppola’s protégé, George Lucas, who also served as co-editor on this film, admits to having paid homage to two scenes in his Star Wars series. First, the garroting death of Luca Brasi was the inspiration for Princess Leia strangling Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). Secondly, the Baptism scene, in which Michael’s vows are inter-cut with the murders of the rival dons, inspired the scene in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), in which Palpatine declares the formation of his Empire while Darth Vader kills the separatist leaders. The infant in the original scene is Sofia Coppola, who also appeared as a handmaiden in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), and who directed Hayden Christensen in The Virgin Suicides (1999).
    114. While filming Sonny’s tryst with Lucy, Eleanor Coppola went into labor. Francis Ford Coppola went to the hospital after the scene was completed, and Sofia Coppola was born.
    115. The name of the traditional Sicilian hat (worn, for instance, by Michael’s bodyguards) is “coppola”.
    116. Francis Ford Coppola originally planned to open the film with the wedding, immediately introducing all the characters. Then a friend pointed out how interestingly he had written the opening scene of Patton (1970). Coppola then re-wrote the opening with the Bonasera scene.
    117. The technicians who attached the squibs to James Caan’s body told him he had never attached that many squibs to anyone before. Caan replied “You didn’t have to tell me that right now.”
    118. While filming a scene with Marlon Brando, Lenny Montana opened his mouth to speak and stuck out his tongue, which had on it a “fuck you” note. Brando, always one for a good joke, laughed uproariously.
    119. The film takes place from 1945 to 1955.
    120. Each of the weddings guests who makes a request of Vito Corleone is called upon later in the film to return the favor. Nazorine the Baker asks for help arranging for Enzo to stay in America and marry his daughter. Enzo himself later arrives at the hospital, first with flowers, and then helps Michael to bluff McCluskey’s assassination attempt. Johnny Fontaine, in return for a film role that revives his career, is signed to appear at Michael’s casinos. Bonasera, who comes to avenge the attempted rape and beating of his daughter, is called upon to prepare Sonny’s body for his funeral.
    121. When writing the novel, Mario Puzo either directly or indirectly borrowed ideas from real-life Mafia stories. Specifically, he borrowed a lot of from the life of New York City gangster “Crazy” Joe Gallo, including the dynamics of he and his brothers. In the movie, Sonny is the “hot head” (Like Crazy Joe), Michael is the thoughtful and intelligent one (Like Larry Gallo), and Fredo is the dimwit (Like Michael Gallo). Also, terms like “Sleeping with the fishes” and “Hitting the mattresses” came from the lives of the Gallos. An associate of the Gallos was killed while on a fishing trip with friends, and the Gallos were sent a fish wrapped in a box just as when Sonny gets Luca Brasi’s bulletproof vest with a fish. When the Gallos revolted against their boss, Joe Profaci, they went to war and rented apartments stocked with mattresses. In real-life, after Joe Gallo saw the movie, he actually considered suing Mario Puzo and Paramount Pictures for ripping off details of his life for their story. However, this never came to pass, as “Crazy” Joe Gallo was murdered on April 7, 1972, almost a full month after the movie’s New York City premiere.
    122. Sonny’s death scene offers up a clue to the fact that Carlo set him up. When Sonny beat up Carlo, he finished by kicking him in the face. After Sonny has been shot dead, one of his killers kicks him across the face.
    123. In the novel, Don Cuneo’s first name is Ottileo, but in the film he was known as Carmine Cuneo, an homage to Carmine Coppola.
    124. In the scene in Jack Woltz’s bedroom with the bloody horse head, there is an Oscar statue sitting on his bedside table.
    125. Though Francis Ford Coppola wanted to portray Italians authentically, he cast many actors in the Corleone family who were not Italian: Marlon Brando was of Dutch ancestry, James Caan is German and Jewish, and Abe Vigoda was Russian-Jewish. Nevertheless, he wanted someone with Sicilian looks to play Michael, which is why he fought for Al Pacino, despite a strong desire on Paramount Pictures’ part to cast a “name”, like Ryan O’Neal or Robert Redford, and Coppola’s own concession that many Italians are blonde-haired and blue eyed, like Redford and O’Neal.
    126. Along with Mario Puzo’s source novel, Francis Ford Coppola based many of the characters on members of his own family.
    127. There is a fish etching on the front door of the nightclub, foreshadowing Luca Brasi’s fate.
    128. In the novel, Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto) is the last person who is allowed to see Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), while Nazorine, The Baker (Vito Scotti), was first. The change to Bonasera being first for the film was to show the way that Nazorine requests a favor is the more appropriate and to suggest that Nazorine heard about Bonasera’s lack of respect.
    129. The scene between Tom and Sollozzo was shot in an abandoned diner. The snowstorm when they exit the diner was real.
    130. The novel delves more into the roots and history of the Sicilian Mafia: Corleone had the highest murder rate in the world. In Mario Puzo’s first draft, Apollonia gave Michael a running commentary on the ways of the Sicilian Mafia as they walk through the region.
    131. It is often thought that Michael fails to comply with Clemenza’s instruction to come out of the bathroom shooting after he gets the pistol to kill Sollozo and McCluskey. However, while Michael is in the bathroom, as he waits to come out he hears the scream of the elevated train going by outside the restaurant. When he returns to the table, he waits until another elevated train goes by and fires his pistol at the moment of maximum noise from the train. It is possible that while in the bathroom he changed his plan to kill his victims at the point of time when there was the most exterior noise to mask his actions.
    132. James Caan credits the stage persona of “insult comic” Don Rickles for inspiring his characterization of Santino Corleone.
    133. According to Francis Ford Coppola, it was George Lucas who helped him solve the lack of filmed empty corridors in the hospital scene by using the ends of shots that had been filmed after Coppola had called, “Cut”.
    134. One of Marlon Brando’s first scenes was the meeting with Sollozzo at his office. Paramount Pictures executives were not impressed with his acting in that scene, and complained to Francis Ford Coppola about it. However, when he asked if they wanted him to re-shoot the scene, they declined. Coppola feared that he was about to be fired, but also knew that he would not be fired until the weekend. It being a Wednesday, he knew he had time to recover. He identified four crew members; including an assistant director, whom he thought might have been reporting on him to the studio, and fired them. With new crew members, he re-shot the scene.
    135. The studio originally wanted to scrap the now-iconic “puppet strings” logo (which was first created by Graphic Designer S. Neil Fujita for the novel’s release) with Mario Puzo’s name above the title for the movie release, but Francis Ford Coppola insisted on keeping it, because Puzo co-wrote the script with him.
    136. Paramount Pictures wanted the film to appeal to a wide audience, and threatened Francis Ford Coppola with a “violence coach” to make the film more exciting. Coppola added a few more violent scenes to keep the studio happy. The scene in which Connie smashes crockery after finding out Carlo has been cheating was added for this reason.
    137. Francis Ford Coppola cast Diane Keaton for the role of Kay Adams, due to her reputation for being eccentric.
    138. Tommy Lee Jones was considered for the role of Michael Corleone.
    139. Francis Ford Coppola inserted the detail of people eating Chinese food out of white takeout containers, a memory from his childhood.
    140. Al Martino was generally felt to be too old to play teen idol Johnny Fontane.
    141. While filming the hospital scenes, doctors and nurses kept sneaking through for a peek at Marlon Brando.
    142. Ernest Borgnine, Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, Danny Thomas, Richard Conte, Anthony Quinn, Don Ameche, and George C. Scott were considered by Paramount Pictures for the role of Vito Corleone. Burt Lancaster wanted the role, but was never considered. When Paramount considered casting Italian Producer Carlo Ponti, Director Francis Ford Coppola objected, as Vito had lived in America since childhood, and thus wouldn’t speak with Ponti’s Italian accent. When asked for his opinion by the Paramount brass, Coppola said he wanted to cast either Laurence Olivier or Marlon Brando as the Don. In a September and October 2003 “Cigar Aficionado” Magazine cover story, Coppola said, “I wanted either an Italian-American or an actor who’s so great that he can portray an Italian-American. So, they said, ‘Who do you suggest?’ I said, ‘Lookit, I don’t know, but who are the two greatest actors in the world? Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando. Well, Laurence Olivier is English. He looked just like Vito Genovese. His face is great.’ I said, ‘I could see Olivier playing the guy, and putting it on.’ Brando is my hero of heroes. I’d do anything to just meet him. But he’s forty-seven, he’s a young, good-looking guy. So, we first inquired about Olivier and they said, ‘Olivier is not taking any jobs. He’s very sick. He’s gonna die soon and he’s not interested.’ So, I said, ‘Why don’t we reach out for Brando?'” Frank Sinatra, despite his reported distaste for the novel and opposition to the film, had discussions with Coppola about playing the role himself and at one point, actually offered his services. Coppola, however, was adamant in his conviction that Brando take the role instead. This would be the third time Brando performed in a part sought by Sinatra, after playing Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954), and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955). Brando’s previous film, Burn! (1969), had been a terrible flop, and he could not get work in American pictures, being considered by many producers as “washed up”. Paramount Pictures executives initially would offer Marlon Brando only union scale for the role of Don Corleone. Finally, the studio relented and paid Brando three hundred thousand dollars, according to Coppola’s account. In his autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture (2002), Robert Evans claims that Brando was paid fifty thousand dollars, plus points, and sold back his points to Paramount before the release of the picture for an additional one hundred thousand dollars, because he had female-related money troubles. Realizing the film was going to be a huge hit, Paramount Pictures was happy to oblige. This financial fleecing of Brando, according to Evans, is the reason he refused to do publicity for the picture, or appear in The Godfather: Part II (1974).
    143. The mansion of Jack Woltz was also used as the mansion of Alan Stanwyk in Fletch (1985).
    144. In his 1994 autobiography “Songs My Mother Taught Me”, Marlon Brando said he turned the film down repeatedly because he did not want to glamorize the Mafia.
    145. Frank Albanese, who played Uncle Pat Blundetto in The Sopranos (1999) and the smiling lawyer for a young Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990), was one of the two hitmen (with a machine gun) who jumps into the bedroom, rubbing out one of the Dons with his mistress, while Michael eliminates the other Dons during the baptismal scene.
    146. Diane Keaton based much of her portrayal of Kay Adams on Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, Eleanor Coppola.
    147. John Martino ad-libbed the words “Madone'” (Madonna) and “sfortunato” (unfortunate), when Paulie talks about stealing the wedding purse.
    148. According to Francis Ford Coppola in his “Cigar Aficionado” Magazine interview, he had a meeting at his house in 1969 with Producers Albert S. Ruddy and Gray Frederickson to discuss The Conversation (1974). He had sent the script to Marlon Brando, who called him during the meeting to politely turn it down. Right before the meeting, Coppola took note of a newspaper advertisement for an upcoming novel titled “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo. Just a few months later, all five people would meet to discuss a film version of the novel.
    149. According to Alex Rocco, he originally auditioned for the role of Al Neri, but Francis Ford Coppola insisted that he play Moe Greene instead. Rocco, an Italian-American, felt that he would not be able to play a person of Jewish descent. According to Rocco, Coppola told him, “‘The Italians do this’, and he punches his fingers up. ‘And the Jews do this”, and his hand’s extended, the palm flat. Greatest piece of direction I ever got. I’ve been playing Jews ever since.”
    150. In 1990, this film was selected for the National Film Registry, Library of Congress.
    151. Mia Farrow auditioned for the part of Kay.
    152. This is the fourth of five films as of 2014 in which three actors were competing for the same Oscar for the same film, which were Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall. The other films were: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), in which Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone competed for Best Actor, On the Waterfront (1954), in which Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger competed for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Tom Jones (1963), in which Diane Cilento, Edith Evans, and Joyce Redman competed for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and The Godfather: Part II (1974), in which Robert De Niro, Michael V. Gazzo, and Lee Strasberg competed for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (which De Niro won).
    153. The film took seventy-seven days to shoot, six days less than the original schedule of eighty-three days.
    154. According to an August 1971 article by Nicholas Pileggi in The New York Times, Paramount Pictures planned to release a line of spaghetti sauce bearing the “The Godfather” logo to promote the film. It also planned Godfather restaurant franchises that would sell pizza, hero sandwiches, Italian ices, Italian breads, and pastries. A spin-off television series was also planned, but none of these ideas came to fruition.
    155. In the original novel, the sequence of Don Corleone granting people requests on his daughter’s wedding day is extended, and has more people asking for favors. Interestingly, one of the people seeking an audience with the Don looking for money to run a pizza restaurant, has the surname of Coppola.
    156. Anna Magnani and Anne Bancroft turned down the role of Mama Corleone.
    157. The casting of Richard Conte was an idea by the mother of Martin Scorsese, who asked Francis Ford Coppola if he could be in the movie.
    158. The slow camera movement that opens the film, which starts with a close-up of Bonasera’s face and ends up behind Vito’s head, takes more than two minutes to complete. This was created with a recently invented computer-timed lens, which could be programmed to zoom for specific time increments. There are actually very few zoom shots in the picture, as Francis Ford Coppola and Gordon Willis eschewed them for dramatic effect.
    159. To add a sense of reality to the wedding scene (and because he only had two days to shoot it), Francis Ford Coppola had the cast freely act out and improvise in the background of the wedding scene. He then shot specific vignettes amongst the action.
    160. During the 45th Anniversary reunion in 2017, Al Pacino, to Diane Keaton’s amusement, revealed that during the filming of the wedding scene, they both “got back” as it was “chaos”, and he thought that the film would not do so well. He stated: “we started drinking and we were just talking about ‘where do we go from here? We’re done. It’s the worst film ever made.'”
    161. In the infamous horse head scene, an Oscar statue can be seen on Jack Woltz’s nightstand. This Oscar was given to Francis Ford Coppola for writing Patton (1970).
    162. According to Associate Producer Gary Fredrickson, Lenny Montana (Luca Brasi) had worked as a Mafia bodyguard, and had also bragged to Frederickson about working for the Mafia as an arsonist.
    163. Al Pacino really had his jaw wired shut for the first part of the shoot after Michael is punched in the face.
    164. Jerry Van Dyke, Bruce Dern, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and James Caan auditioned for the role of Tom Hagen.
    165. Franco Corsaro filmed a scene as the dying consigliere Genco Abbandando, but it was deleted. In the scene, which takes place after the wedding, Vito Corleone and his sons go to the hospital to pay their respects to Genco, who is dying of cancer. They attempt to console him, and Genco begs Vito to stay with him as he is dying. The scene does appear in some television airings of the film (in place of edited versions of the murder scenes) and is in The Godfather Saga (1977). Genco is still mentioned in the film, when Sonny complains to Tom about not having a wartime consigliere.
    166. Production began on March 29, 1971, but Marlon Brando worked on the film for thirty-five days between April 12 and May 28, so he could honor his commitment to Last Tango in Paris (1972).
    167. Robert Evans apparently screened the films about gangsters that Paramount Pictures had released before he arrived at the studio, including The Brotherhood (1968). He noticed that most of the films were unsuccessful, and also that they had not been written nor directed by Italian-Americans, and said that he hired Francis Ford Coppola in part, because he wanted to “smell the spaghetti”.
    168. Voted number two on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies 10th Anniversary Edition.
    169. Screenwriter Robert Towne wrote the scene on the patio between Don Corleone and his son Michael.
    170. Francis Ford Coppola cast Simonetta Stefanelli after skipping away from her screentest like a young girl. She summed up her part, “I met him, I married him, I died.”
    171. According to Talia Shire, her therapist urged her to start asserting herself in the family, which is why she tried out for the film.
    172. In the scene where Carlo is beaten by Sonny, a poster bearing the name “Thomas Dewey” can be seen on a wall. Thomas E. Dewey was first the appointed Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and later elected District Attorney of New York County in 1937. Dewey successfully pursued gangsters in both jobs. He was elected Governor of New York in 1942, and was serving as Governor during the period portrayed in this film. Dewey lost the elections for President of the United States in 1944 and 1948.
    173. Robert Evans hated Nino Rota’s original stab at the score. Francis Ford Coppola threatened to quit over this, until Evans backed down.
    174. Elvis Presley, an avid fan of the book, auditioned for the role of Tom Hagen, though he really wanted to play Vito Corleone.
    175. This was Richard Conte’s final American studio film before his death on April 15, 1975 at the age of 65.
    176. Visitors to the set often assumed Abe Vigoda was a Mafioso.
    177. Al Pacino made just thirty-five thousand dollars for starring in the film (the same as James Caan and Diane Keaton and one thousand dollars less than Robert Duvall). However, having made runaway hits Scarecrow (1973) and Serpico (1973), Pacino managed to command a six hundred thousand dollar salary for The Godfather: Part II (1974), as well as a ten percent cut of the movie’s adjusted-gross income.
    178. The “Wedding Scene”, due to its size, was filmed on several locations on the same street that the house used for the exterior shots of the “Corleone Family Compound”, which is located on Longfellow Avenue, Todt Hill, Staten Island, New York. The house had a low stone perimeter fence, which was enlarged to give the impression of a “family compound”. The famous gate that marks the entrance to the Corleone compound was built for the film, and was torn down after shooting.
    179. The Corleones are based on the Borgias, a Spanish family that emigrated to Rome in fifteenth century Europe. The patriarch, Rodrigo, became Pope Alexander VI. Rome at that time, like New York City in the 1940s, had five powerful families. The other families in Rome were the Colonna family, the Medici family, the Orsini family, and the Sforza family. The real New York City families were the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese families.
    180. Of the cast, there’s several groups of actors and actresses who share a birthday: Al Pacino and Talia Shire (April 25), Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall (January 5), James Caan and Sterling Hayden (March 26), and Abe Vigoda, Saro Urzì and Al Lettieri (February 24). Dominic Chianese, who appeared in The Godfather: Part II (1974), also has a birthday on February 24.
    181. Ardell Sheridan, who plays Mrs. Clemenza, was Richard S. Castellano’s girlfriend at the time, and Castellano had lobbied Francis Ford Coppola for her to get the role, which would be Sheridan’s film debut. Sheridan and Castellano also portrayed husband and wife in The Super (1972), and they would later marry in real-life, too.
    182. When Michael and Kay are having dinner together, the song on the radio is Irving Berlin’s “All of My Life”.
    183. Michael and Kay reconcile in 1951. This is judging by the fact that in The Godfather: Part II (1974), Kay refers to his promise to make the family legitimate, stating that it was seven years ago.
    184. Abe Vigoda got the part of Tessio by answering an open casting call and beat out hundreds of other actors.
    185. According to Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando considered Salvatore Corsitto’s performance to be the best in the film, because it was the most genuine.
    186. In the novel, when pleading his case to the Don, Johnny explicitly explains why Woltz doesn’t like him. Francis Ford Coppola changed this, preferring to have the explanation come from Woltz’s tirade.
    187. When Mrs. Corleone is being coaxed into singing, for a split second a bald man with a moustache is seen. Michael V. Gazzo, the bald man with the moustache, played Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather: Part II (1974).
    188. Anthony Perkins auditioned for the role of Sonny Corleone.
    189. Fred Roos cast John Cazale after seeing him in an off-Broadway play called “Life”, which co-starred Richard Dreyfuss (who invited Roos). Roos recalled, “We were looking for a Fredo at that time, and I had no idea who John Cazale was. He knocked me out. First chance I got, I brought him in and I said, ‘Francis, this is Fredo, we don’t need to look any further, this is him'”.
    190. Moe Greene’s death scene was inspired by Battleship Potemkin (1925).
    191. On August 3, 2009, The British Daily Telegraph newspaper described the film as “a vision of the hollowness of American capitalism, and its effect on the family, like Death of a Salesman with spaghetti and a criminal empire.”
    192. Before the film was in production, Paramount Pictures had been going through an unsuccessful period. Their latest mafia based movie, The Brotherhood (1968), had been a box-office bomb. In addition, the studio had usurped their budget for their recent films: Darling Lili (1970), Paint Your Wagon (1969), and Waterloo (1970). The budget for the film was originally two and a half million dollars, but as the book grew in popularity, and Coppola argued for a larger budget, the budget was raised to six million dollars.
    193. Al Martino had a rough time on-set. Because of his inability to conjure up emotion, his lines were constantly being re-written, and most of his scenes were shot from behind.
    194. No cannolis are mentioned in the novel or the shooting script. Francis Ford Coppola included this detail from his memories of the particular white boxes of cannolis that his father would bring home from work.
    195. The hospital scenes were filmed in two different locations: the exterior scenes were filmed at a side entrance to the Bellevue Hospital, and the interior shots were filmed at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in Manhattan, New York.
    196. The Mount Loretto Church in Staten Island, where the exteriors for the baptism scene were filmed, burned down in 1973.
    197. Cinematographer Gordon Willis initially turned down the opportunity to work on the film, because the production seemed “chaotic” to him. After Willis later accepted the offer, he and Francis Ford Coppola agreed to not use any modern filming devices, helicopters, or zoom lenses. Willis chose to use top-light in the majority of the scenes due to Marlon Brando’s eye make-up. He made use of shadows throughout the film and applied sepia tones to several scenes. Willis and Coppola agreed to interplay light and dark scenes throughout the film.
    198. Frank Sivero appears as an extra in the scene where Sonny beats up Carlo Rizzi. He would later appear in The Godfather: Part II (1974) as Genco Abbandando.
    199. Film debut for Joe Spinell, in the uncredited role of Willi Cicci.
    200. Burt Reynolds was considered for the part of Sonny Corleone by Coppola, but Marlon Brando refused to work with him, considering him a second-rate actor. Also, there was supposed animosity dating back to when Reynolds did an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959) years earlier, in which he spoofed Brando’s persona. Brando reportedly was not amused by the episode, and had never liked Reynolds since.
    201. Clint Eastwood was the presenter who announced and handed the Best Picture Oscar to Producer Albert S. Ruddy. Thirty-two years later, the two of them would win Best Picture for Million Dollar Baby (2004).
    202. According to an August 1971 article by Nicholas Pileggi in The New York Times, a supporting cast member became so committed to his role, that he accompanied a group of Mafia enforcers on a trip to beat up strike breakers during a labor dispute. But the enforcers had the wrong address, and were unable to find the strike breakers. The actor’s name was not revealed.
    203. Voted #7 in TV Guide Magazine’s list “50 Greatest Movies on TV and Video” (August 8-14, 1998 issue). The sequel The Godfather: Part II (1974) took top honors, ranking #1.
    204. Nino Rota composed a piece titled “The Pickup”, which was to play during Tom Hagen’s arrival in Hollywood. The studio felt the piece did not fit the scene and had it replaced with a jazz standard titled “Manhattan Serenade”. Rota’s original piece appeared on the soundtrack album.
    205. Richard Conte appears in only four scenes, and only has dialogue in one: the meeting of the Dons.
    206. Michael’s description of how his father launched Johnny Fontaine’s singing career was not in the shooting script, nor was Fredo’s introduction.
    207. In the novel and the shooting script, Luca Brasi’s death is a flashback.
    208. Francis Ford Coppola wanted to cast Timothy Carey, but Carey turned the part down, so he could film a television pilot.
    209. Francis Ford Coppola’s mother Italia Coppola had a scene as a Genco Olive Oil Company switchboard operator, but it ended up on the cutting room floor.
    210. The series of murders committed during the film, starts and ends with a strangulation.
    211. Film debut of Morgana King, who portrayed Mama Carmella Corleone.
    212. Originally, Vito was supposed to grab Johnny by the hair. But, because Al Martino wore a toupée, it was changed to slapping his face.
    213. Public Enemy sampled the line, “They’re animals anyway, so let them lose their souls” for their song “1 Million Bottlebags” on their 1991 album “Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Black”.
    214. This was voted the “Greatest Film of All Time” by Entertainment Weekly.
    215. William Devane was in the running for the part of Moe Greene.
    216. David Carradine and Dean Stockwell screentested for the role of Michael Corleone.
    217. While the novel names Santino as the eldest son of Vito and Carmela, The Godfather trilogy indicates Fredo is the eldest. Edited in chronological order, the first child of the two is shown as Fredo being treated for pneumonia. Santino is later shown once the stolen rug is in the Corleone flat. In addition, Coppola is quoted in The Godfather trilogy as depicting Fredo is the eldest.
    218. The first of four successive years that Al Pacino was nominated for an acting Academy Award. A Best Supporting Actor nomination for this film was followed by Best Actor nominations for Serpico (1973), The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
    219. Peter Donat, Martin Sheen, Roy Thinnes, Barry Primus, Robert Vaughn, Richard Mulligan, Keir Dullea, Dean Stockwell, Jack Nicholson, and James Caan were considered for the role of Tom Hagen. John Cassavetes and Peter Falk also sought the role. Of those actors, only Donat ultimately appeared in The Godfather: Part II (1974), in the role of Questadt.
    220. The opening scene with Bonasera’s request arguably foreshadows the rest of the film. Bonasera is a law-abiding man who wants nothing to do with organized crime, but has to turn to Don Corleone when he is denied justice for the sexual assault on his daughter. Similarlly, Michael is a law-abiding war hero who wants nothing to do with the family business, but it forced to take part when his father is nearly assassinated.
    221. While filming in Little Italy, Marlon Brando developed a taste for the spicy squid with hot sauce from Vincent’s. In the scene where Vito leans over Sonny’s dead body, Brando is holding a carton of the delicacy out of range.
    222. The film cast includes seven Oscar winners: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Sofia Coppola, Carmine Coppola, and Gray Frederickson; and five Oscar nominees: Talia Shire, James Caan, John Marley, Richard S. Castellano, and Roman Coppola.
    223. The Corleone house was constructed for the film to include two stories, complete with a living room, dining room, full kitchen, panelled study, and a foyer with stairs leading to the bedroom.
    224. The scene of Michael and Kay Christmas shopping required one hundred forty-three extras, in addition to period cars. The streetlights were replaced to match the period at one thousand dollars a pop, as well as street signs. Sixty crew members were present.
    225. Before the sit-down meeting, and before the journey in the car to “New Jersey”, the group meets in front of a restaurant called Dempsey’s Manassa Restaurant. Jack Dempsey, the “Manassa Mauler” was born in Manassa, Colorado, lending the town’s name and part of his nickname to the restaurant.
    226. In one scene, Sonny makes the expression “Going to the mattresses”. This is slang for a war with a rival gang.
    227. A promotional board game titled “The Godfather Game” was released in 1971.
    228. Francis Ford Coppola was hired by Robert Evans to direct the movie after Peter Bogdanovich, among others, turned it down.
    229. A diary about the film’s production, “The Godfather Journal” by Ira Zuckerman, was published as a mass market paperback by Manor in 1972.
    230. Producer Albert S. Ruddy later said that “It was the most miserable film I can think of to make. Nobody enjoyed one day of it.”
    231. Six cameras were used to shoot the wedding sequences, including four in the garden to capture cinema verite shots, as well as a soundman wandering around to record improvised dialogue. There was also a camera in a helicopter, but many of these shots were too jumpy, and weren’t used.
    232. The actual backstage of the Corleone house set served as the set for the backstage of Woltz International Pictures.
    233. Exterior shots of the Woltz estate are actually Harold Lloyd’s house. Interior scenes were shot at the Guggenheim estate in Long Island. Guards had to be hired for the priceless art, and the bed was a rental.
    234. For the Don’s funeral, twenty limos and one hundred fifty extras were used, with flowers costing over one thousand dollars each.
    235. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the number two Greatest Movie of All Time, after Citizen Kane (1941).
    236. It is possible that the dinner conversation between Tom Hagen and Jack Woltz occurs during Passover. This is evidenced by a tray of matzoh near Woltz’s plate.
    237. Michael and Kay are seeing The Bells of St. Mary’s at Radio City Music Hall while Don Corleone is shot. Contemporary newspaper ads show that is in fact the movie that was playing there during the Christmas 1945 season.
    238. In the wedding scene, when they are singing “Che Le Luna” the camera cuts to a man with his arms around two young girls. Louis Prima recorded the song.
    239. Simonetta Stefanelli who played Michael Corleone’s first wife, Apollonia, in Sicily who also appears topless in the film was only 16. Her birth date is November 30, 1954 and principal photography for the film took place from March to July 1971, making Simonetta age 16.
    240. Francis Ford Coppola hired Production Designer Dean Tavoularis having been impressed with his work on Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Little Big Man (1970).
    241. Robert Evans originally wanted Henry Mancini to do the music.
    242. The film begins and ends with important events in the life of Connie Corleone. It start with her wedding, has it’s climax at her daughter’s baptism and ends with her confronting Michael about her husband’s murder. Yet she has few scenes in the rest of the film.
    243. Two nights after the hospital exterior scenes were shot, Francis Ford Coppola won an Oscar for co-writing Patton (1970), but he did not attend the ceremony.
    244. Voted number one on Empire’s 500 Greatest Movies of All Time (September 2008).
    245. Olivia Hussey was considered by Casting Director Fred Roos for the role of Apollonia. Francis Ford Coppola originally wanted Stefania Sandrelli, but she turned it down.
    246. The Lumen Martin Winter mural of Empire Express 999 seen during the meeting of the five families in the old New York Central Rail Road boardroom had been in the possession of The Pennsylvania State Historical and Museum Commission. In the fall of 2014, it was deaccessioned by the commission, and put up for auction. It was purchased by an avid fan of the movie, and is now in his private residence.
    247. George Lucas put together the “Mattress Sequence” (this montage of crime scene snaps and headlines) as a thank you to Francis Ford Coppola for helping him fund American Graffiti (1973). Lucas used photos from real crime scenes. The one pictured is Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, Al Capone’s right-hand man who had not been murdered, but actually shot himself. During the scene Coppola’s father Carmine Coppola is the piano player.
    248. Sir Laurence Olivier was originally offered to play Vito Corleone. Unfortunately, due to his failing health, he had to decline, leading to Marlon Brando being cast.
    249. James Caan was felt by some to be miscast, as he did not “look Italian”.
    250. Voted number three on AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies.
    251. Ranked number one on the American Film Institute’s list of the ten greatest films in the genre “Gangster” in June 2008.
    252. Vito’s assassination attempt was originally meant to be a flashback. Michael and Kay would see the newspaper announcing the shooting, which would lead to the event.
    253. Clemenza’s wife was played by Richard S. Castellano’s real-life wife, Ardell Sheridan.
    254. Associate Producer Gary Fredrickson once said that Lenny Montana told him he had worked as a Mafia bodyguard and arsonist.
    255. During the famous restaurant scene in which Michael Corleone shoots Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey, the screeching sound of an elevated train can be heard throughout the sequence. The sound effect was added in post-production by Francis Ford Coppola and film editor Walter Murch in order to heighten the scene’s tension. Unbeknownst to them, there is an actual set of elevated train tracks right in front of the filming location, 3531 White Plains Road in the Bronx.
    256. The Woltz International Pictures lot is actually Paramount’s lot in Hollywood. This was not Production Designer Dean Tavoularis’ choice, he detested the look of it, and even suggested the Warner Brothers lot as an alternative, but it was used for budgetary reasons. It was also the location for the Paramount Pictures backlot scenes in Sunset Boulevard (1950).
    257. The producers wanted Al Pacino to wear lifts.
    258. The version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas played in the movie contains the lyrics “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough”. These lyrics were not written until 1957, when Frank Sinatra asked Hugh Martin to re-write the lyrics for the album “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”. The song originally appeared in the Judy Garland film Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).
    259. If you look carefully on the store window behind Don Corleone as he is buying the oranges (just before the approach of the gunmen), you’ll see a yellow boxing flyer advertising a boxing match featuring Jake LaMotta. Ironically, Robert De Niro, who portrays the young Don Corleone in The Godfather: Part II (1974), also portrayed LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980).
    260. Frank Puglia was originally cast as Bonasera, but had to back out due to illness.
    261. Don Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) slap on his godson (Al Martino) at Connie Corleone’s (Talia Shire) wedding wasn’t originally in the script, but Francis Ford Coppola kept it in the film.
    262. According to a production assistant, between takes of the restaurant scene, Sterling Hayden snacked on fruit and milk, as he only ate natural foods. He read “Dear Theo”, a collection of letters from Vincent van Gogh to his brother. He then mysteriously disappeared. He had taken a stroll, fallen asleep down by the river, and was awakened by boys throwing rocks at him.
    263. Francis Ford Coppola invited Italian superstar singer Mina to play Kay Adams. She turned down the offer as she was not interested in an acting career. The role ultimately went to Diane Keaton.
    264. William Reynolds edited the first half of the film, Peter Zinner the second.
    265. Orson Welles lobbied for the role of Vito Corleone, even offering to lose weight for the role, but Francis Ford Coppola, despite being a fan of Welles, felt that he would not be convincing as the aging Mafia boss, and had his mind set on Marlon Brando. Welles later lamented that he would have given his soul to be in the film.
    266. Screenwriter Robert Towne did uncredited work on the script, particularly on the garden scene between Vito and Michael.
    267. Included among the American Film Institute’s 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
    268. In the scene where Clemenza, Rocco and Paulie Gato drive through New York, stock footage from the early 1940s is used, as the production staff could not recreate main thoroughfares and skyscrapers from a bygone era. When the shots the script demanded were found, the staff just needed to find a car that matched the model and duplicate its license plate.
    269. Features James Caan’s only Oscar nominated performance.
    270. Despite having his Oscar nomination withdrawn by the Academy upon discovery that he had reused the same theme from his previous score for Fortunella (1958), composer Nino Rota was still awarded the Golden Globe, BAFTA and the Grammy for Best Original Score. Oddly enough, Rota won the Oscar for Best Original Score for the sequel The Godfather: Part II (1974), even though the score used the same love theme from the original film.
    271. Francis Ford Coppola initially offered the part of Don Vito Corleone to retired Maltese actor Joseph Calleia, but the offer was turned down by Calleia due to health reasons.
    272. Bill Butler did some uncredited cinematography for the film, namely in the scenes shot in Los Angeles, as Director of Photography Gordon Willis was busy filming in the main locations in New York City.
    273. In the novel and the shooting script, it is Michael who tells Kay about the Sicilian tradition of never refusing a request on a daughter’s wedding day.
    274. Vic Damone was originally cast as Johnny Fontaine, but dropped out, ostensibly because he couldn’t in good conscience play a character so anti-Italian-American. He later revealed it was because of the poor pay.
    275. Rudy Vallee coveted the part of Tom Hagen, but was deemed too old.
    276. Peter Bogdanovich was approached to direct, but he also declined the offer because he was not interested in the Mafia. In addition, Richard Brooks, Sidney J. Furie, Costa-Gavras, Lewis Gilbert, Larry Peerce, Otto Preminger, Franklin J. Schaffner, and Fred Zinnemann were all offered the position, but declined.
    277. In April 1972, Paramount Pictures took out an ad in the trade papers which read, “In less than four weeks of national distribution, The Godfather, is already the twelfth highest grossing film, domestically, of all time. No motion picture has grossed so much in such a short period of time.”
    278. This is the second Best Picture Oscar winner in which Marlon Brando won the Academy Award for Best Actor, also in which three of Brando’s co-stars were nominated for Best Supporting Actor but none of whom received the award. The first film was On the Waterfront (1954). Coincidentally, the story of both films is about organized crime set in the New York City-Hoboken area. A key difference between the two however is that Brando’s character (Terry Malloy) in the earlier film fights against organized crime. Whereas in the latter film, Brando’s character (Vito Corleone) is the head of a major organized crime family.
    279. Ten percent of the film was shot on soundstages at Filmways Studio lot in New York City.
    280. According to Francis Ford Coppola, Gordon Willis’ favorite shot was an overhead shot of the Sicilian countryside.
    281. When Paramount Pictures approached Otto Preminger to direct, he wanted Frank Sinatra to play Don Corleone.
    282. Marlon Brando had to lose weight in order to play Don Vito Corleone.
    283. Charlie Bluhdorn, the President of Gulf + Western, wanted Charles Bronson to play Michael Corleone.
    284. The First Act ends at 00:45:15. The Second Act ends at 02:16:32.
    285. Sidney J. Furie was originally in line to direct. Producer Albert S. Ruddy had just come off Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970) with Furie, and was handed the task of producing after that film had been brought in under budget and under schedule. Ruddy personally requested Furie to direct the picture, but Francis Ford Coppola’s Italian heritage won the day.
    286. Despite the fading light, Francis Ford Coppola was under orders from Paramount Pictures to keep shooting. The shot in which Michael appears to the right of Kay were all shot at night, with lamps blazing down to keep continuity with the bright sunlight of other shots.
    287. Included among the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, edited by Steven Schneider.
    288. James Caan, who played Italian-American mob underboss Santino “Sonny” Corleone, is Jewish. Alex Rocco, who portrayed Jewish mob boss Moe Green, was Italian-American.
    289. Salvatore Corsitto was hired from an open casting call.
    290. Jill Clayburgh, Susan Blakey, and Michelle Phillips screentested for the role of Kay. Francis Ford Coppola also considered Geneviève Bujold, Jennifer Salt, and Blythe Danner.
    291. Voted number two on Empire Magazine’s top 301 films of all time (July 2014).
    292. Aram Avakian was originally hired as the film’s editor, but was fired after disagreements with Coppola.
    293. The film that inspired Chris Columbus to become a filmmaker when he first saw it at the age of fifteen.
    294. James Caan and Al Pacino were only ten years younger than the American Jazz singer Morgana King, who played their mother. John Cazale was only five years younger than her.
    295. In the novel and the screenplay, Sonny’s death was a flashback. Sonny drives to the tollbooth, then Tom calls Bonasera to reclaim the Don’s favor, and then the assassination occurs.
    296. James Caan and Robert Duvall appeared in numerous television and movie productions together, most notably Countdown (1967), The Rain People (1969) (also written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola), The Godfather (1972), and The Godfather: Part II (1974).
    297. James Caan and Alex Rocco appeared together in two additional films following The Godfather (1972). Those films were Slither (1973) and Freebie and the Bean (1974).
    298. The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be also nominated for Best Costume Design.
    299. Aldo Ray was considered for the role of Sonny Corleone.
    300. The movie at Radio City Music Hall, that Michael Corleone & Kay Adams are coming out of when he reads the news about his father’s assassination is The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), released February 26, 1946.
    301. The earliest known Hollywood reference to a mob boss being called a godfather was in Pocketful of Miracles (1961), where Dave the Dude (Glenn Ford) is said to have a lot of experience as a godfather. This reference even predates Joe Valachi’s use of the term in his U.S. Senate testimony in 1963.
    302. Despite being ranked consistently amongst the greatest films of all time (top ten in many lists), it’s the only Best Picture Oscar winner of the 1970s to not win the Academy Award for Best Director.
    303. In the scene where Don Corleone is shopping for fruit, there is a poster promoting an upcoming fight: LaMotta vs Bell, Jan 11. This is consistent with the timeline outlined in the dialogue (Xmas holidays, 1945). The LaMotta/Bell fight was held on Jan 11, 1946 with LaMotta winning a unanimous decision over Bell in ten rounds.
    304. According to a 1982 interview done for the U.K., Jack Nicholson turned down the role of Michael Corleone because he felt the lead should be Italian and also because the draft of the script given to him did not include scenes with him and Marlon Brando.
    305. Luis García Berlanga directed the Spanish Castilian dubbing.
    306. Franco Nero met with Francis Ford Coppola in London over playing Sollozzo.
    307. The film is included on Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies” list.
    308. At the TriBeCa Film Festival screening of the movie and discussion afterwards on April 29, 2017, Francis Ford Coppola called the novel a “potboiler”, and that one third of it had to do with Lucy Mancini’s anatomy.
    309. In one scene Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) is walking by the fruit stand there is a poster promoting Jake LaMotta, who is portrayed by Robert De Niro in Raging Bull (1980). Robert De Niro goes on to portray a young Don Corleone in The Godfather II (1974).
    310. Ben Key and Eddy Westcott are both huge fans, and have even said in interviews that they based their characters in The Two of Us (2018) on Al Pacino and Marlon Brando in this movie, respectively.
    311. James Caan and Sterling Hayden share the same birthday, 26th March.
    312. Al Pacino and Talia Shire share the same birthday, 25th April.
    313. Gray Frederickson: The film’s Associate Producer as the cowboy in the studio when Tom Hagen encounters Studio Head Woltz for the first time.
    314. During filming, James Caan and Gianni Russo did not get along, and were frequently at loggerheads. During filming Sonny’s beating of Carlo, Caan nearly hit Russo with the stick he threw at him, and broke two of Russo’s ribs, and chipped his elbow.
    315. During rehearsals, a false horse’s head was used for the bedroom scene. For the filmed shot, a real horse’s head was used, acquired from a dog food factory. According to John Marley, his scream of horror was real, as he was not informed that a real head was going to be used.
    316. Gordon Willis insisted that every shot represent a point of view, usually setting his camera about four feet off the ground, keeping the angle flat and even. Francis Ford Coppola managed to get him to do one aerial shot in the scene when Don Vito Corleone is gunned down, telling Willis that the overhead shot represented God’s point of view.
    317. According to Francis Ford Coppola on the DVD commentary, the intercutting of the baptism scene with the gang killings during the movie’s climax did not really work until Editor Peter Zinner added the organ soundtrack.
    318. Don Corleone’s death scene, while it featured in the novel, was originally not to appear in the film because studio executives felt that the audience would see the funeral and know what had happened. Francis Ford Coppola shot the scene with three cameras in a private residence in Long Island (the makeshift garden itself was created from scratch and torn down immediately after shooting), with Marlon Brando ad-libbing his lines.
    319. During the scene in the study when the family decides Michael Corleone needs to kill Sollozzo and McCluskey, Santino Corleone is seen idly toying with a cane. The cane belonged to Al Pacino, who had badly injured his leg while filming Michael’s escape from the restaurant.
    320. According to interviews in the Coppola Restoration DVD set, the film was originally planned with an intermission due to its three-hour length. The intermission would have happened immediately after Michael murders Solozzo and McClusky, which explains the operatic instrumental that begins playing when Michael is shown fleeing the restaurant, as well as the ensuing “newspaper” montage, which would have been the first scene post-intermission.
    321. According to Al Pacino in The Godfather Family: A Look Inside (1990), he nearly got fired midway through filming. At the time, Paramount Pictures executives only saw the early scenes of Michael at the wedding and were exclaiming, “When is he going to do something?” When they finally saw the scene where Michael shoots Sollozzo and McCluskey in the restaurant, they changed their minds, and Pacino got to keep his job.
    322. Francis Ford Coppola shot Sonny’s assassination scene in one take with different cameras positioned at each shot. This was because there were one hundred forty-nine squibs taped onto James Caan’s body to simulate the effect of rapid machine gun fire, and they couldn’t shoot another take.
    323. Body count: eighteen (including the horse).
    324. McCluskey’s death was achieved by building a fake forehead onto Sterling Hayden’s head. A gap was cut in the center and filled with fake blood, then capped off with a plug of prosthetic flesh. When the scene was being filmed, the plug was quickly yanked out using monofilament fishing line which doesn’t show up on film. The effect was to make it look like a bloody hole suddenly appeared on Hayden’s head.
    325. Fabrizio, Michael’s Sicilian bodyguard who planted the bomb that killed Appolonia, was supposed to be found by Michael at a pizza parlor he opens in America, and subsequently blown away with a shotgun at the end of the movie as per the novel. This scene was filmed, but ultimately cut, because the make-up artists plastered Angelo Infanti with so much fake blood, that the scene looked ridiculous. Photos of Michael Corleone with a hat, shotgun blazing, appeared in many magazines, despite the scene’s eventual excision. Fabrizio’s death was filmed again, for The Godfather: Part II (1974), this time by car bomb (as the ultimate form of poetic justice), but that scene was also deleted from the theatrical version. It was restored in The Godfather Saga (1977).
    326. Moe Green’s execution by a bullet through his eye was accomplished by a hidden pellet shooter in the glasses’ frame that smashed the lens outward.
    327. To add suspense to the scene where Michael shoots Sollozzo and McCluskey, there are several instances in that scene where Michael fails to follow Clemenza’s instructions. Clemenza tells him to “come out blasting” after retrieving the gun, instead, he sits down and continues to listen to Sollozzo. Clemenza tells him “two shots in the head apiece”. Michael kills Sollozzo with a single shot, then fails to kill McCluskey with the first shot, requiring a second. Clemenza tells him “don’t look nobody in the eye, but don’t look away neither.” Michael actually makes eye contact with several patrons in the restaurant. Clemenza tells him to “drop the gun right away”. Michael actually takes several steps with the gun still in his hand before he drops it. Finally, Clemenza instructs him to let the gun drop from his fingers so people will still think he has it. Michael flicks the gun away as though he’d forgotten to leave it.
    328. The presence of oranges in the Godfather trilogy indicates that a death-related event will soon occur (even though Production Designer Dean Tavoularis claimed the oranges were simply used to brighten up the darkly shot film). In chronological order of such events: Hagen and Woltz negotiate Johnny Fontane’s position at a table with a bowl of oranges on it, and later Woltz discovers his horse’s severed head. Don Corleone buys oranges right before he is shot. He does not die, but his missing driver and bodyguard, Paulie, does die. Sonny drives past an advertisement for Florida Oranges before he is assassinated. At the Mafioso summit, bowls of oranges are placed on the table (specifically in front of those Dons who will be assassinated). Michael eats an orange while discussing his plans with Hagen for assassinating the other Dons. Before Don Corleone dies, he puts an orange peel in his mouth to playfully scare his grandson. Tessio, who is executed for attempting to betray Michael, plays with an orange at Connie’s wedding. In fact, he reaches across the table to grab it, indicating that he will “cross” the Corleones. In a slight twist, there are no real oranges for Carlo Rizzi, but Rizzi does wear an orange suit right before Sonny beats him up, then helps to arrange Sonny’s death, and is himself garroted in retribution for Sonny’s death later.- The only deaths in the film that don’t appear to have oranges foreshadowing them are the assassinations of Sollozzo, McCluskey, and Apollonia. It appears as if oranges do not presage Paulie’s death, but they do, when he is “out sick” as the driver and bodyguard for Don Corleone, and the Don decides to buy oranges before the attempted, but unsuccessful, assassination, thereby causing Santino to order Paulie’s death. In Paulie’s first scene, he gives Clemenza a pitcher of wine with oranges floating in it. Clemenza, who tells him to “do his job”, also takes him on the drive where he is killed for not doing his job faithfully.
    329. Robert De Niro was originally cast as the ill-fated driver Paulie, while Al Pacino had accepted a role in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). Francis Ford Coppola wanted Pacino so badly for the role of Michael, that he persuaded the producers of the other film to release him from his contract. This meant he had to provide a replacement, so De Niro was released from his contract on this film.
    330. Sonny Corleone’s death scene at a highway toll booth was to take place on the Jones Beach Causeway, but was filmed on a small airport runway at Mitchell Field on Long Island. The scene was the most expensive in the movie to set up and film, for it cost over one hundred thousand dollars to set up, and was finished in just one take from four or five different camera angles. The large billboard next to the toll booth was set up to hide the appearance of a modern high-rise building in the background. According to Joe Gelmis, one hundred ten brass casings containing gunpowder squibs and sacks of blood were deployed all over James Caan’s body. Plus there were over two hundred drilled holes in his car, a 1941 Lincoln, filled with squibs to simulate the ambush attack.
    331. The relationship between Francis Ford Coppola and Gordon Willis was highly combustible. They would often have screaming rows, with a few broken props as a result. After one incident, such a loud noise exploded from Coppola’s office that the crew thought that Coppola had shot himself (he had only broken a door). They also conflicted because Willis was very hard on the actors and actresses about hitting their marks, with his low lighting scheme, if they missed, they would be filmed in total darkness. Coppola, on the other hand, considered himself a protector of actors and actresses. He felt that he could get the most out of them by nurturing them.
    332. Sonny’s death scene was inspired by the ending of Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
    333. At Connie’s wedding, Sonny is seen in close quarters with Lucy Mancini (Jeannie Linero) Connie’s maid of honor at the event (wearing a pink dress). According to the novel, Sonny takes Lucy as his mistress (she is “that young girl” Don Corleone mentions to Sonny. She is also seen before Sonny visits Connie). The novel and film trilogy differ on her fate, though. In the film, she eventually moves on, settling down with a Las Vegas doctor. She is briefly seen in The Godfather: Part III (1990), with her son Vincent playing a major role.
    334. Don Vito Corleone died on July 29, 1955.
    335. The make of car Apollonia is driving when she is killed is a 1946 Alfa Romeo.
    336. Michael Corleone continually drinks water in the first two films, hinting that he is diabetic. He later suffers a diabetic coma in the third film.
    337. Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo and Captain Marc McCluskey were murdered in January 1946.
    338. Nearly all of the deaths are foreshadowed by seen oranges. Even Fredo’s death in The Godfather: Part II (1974) is already foreshadowed in this movie. In the scene were Fredo is alone with Vito Corleone in his room, after his return from the hospital, there is a small tree full of oranges placed on the table right beside Fredo.
    339. Two other orange references can be seen in the wedding scene. Clemenza drinks from a jug of wine with orange slices floating in it, while telling Paulie to “do his job”. Clemenza later takes Paulie out to be killed, for not doing his job. When Sonny runs off to have sex with Lucy Mancini, there is a shot of his wife gesturing with her hands (demonstrating the size of his genitals). In front of her is a dish of oranges. Sonny is, of course, killed later in the film.
    340. After Michael does the assassination, they originally planned an intermission, but director Francis Ford Coppola thought that it would just slow down the pace of the film.
    341. In 2008, this film has been included in the list of Hollywood non-Reproduction Movies of all time among the greatest one hundred scripts in history.
    342. The name of the beheaded horse was Khartoum. Khartoum was also a city in the Sudan where, in 1885 General Charles Gordon and his troops were besieged during a Muslim revolt. The town fell to the Muslim army and General Gordon was killed and beheaded.
    343. After Clemenza and Tessio are turned down by Michael, Clemenza shakes right hands with the Godfather, but Tessio uses his left hand to shake Michael’s right hand.
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