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On March 24, 1972, The Godfather premiered in the United States and Canada. This year, the famous tape was again released on the screens. In honor of the 50th anniversary, Bemorepanda has collected 50 facts about the legendary film history.
Facts about the Godfather movie
The epic gangster saga The Godfather is considered one of the best films. The film has been quoted, imitated, and admired. The bright plot, the brilliant direction of Coppola, the fantastic performance of Al Pacino and Marlon Brando, the magnificent music - all this made the film "The Godfather" unforgettable.
1. In the 1960s, Mario Puzo was not the most successful writer. The father of five children suffered from gambling and was ruined. Creditors threatened to seriously injure him if the writer did not return $11,000 to them.
2. to get even with his debts, Puzo wrote the script for the film "Mafia" and brought it to the Paramount film studio. The author was advised to write a book and immediately forgot about him.
3. “I am ashamed to say, but I wrote The Godfather solely based on my literary research. I have never met a real crystal-clear gangster, ”the writer later admitted.
4. According to rumors, Puzo was inspired by Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov.
5. While the book was being prepared for publication, the publisher leaked information, and Paramount decided to make a film based on Puzo's novel. For the film rights, the writer received $ 2 million.
6. The studio did not expect much success from the gangster drama until the book The Godfather, published in 1969, became wildly popular.
7. A novel by obscure author Puzo stayed on the NY Times bestseller chart for over 60 weeks.
8. Director Francis Ford Coppola was practically nobody at that time. He even founded American Zoetrope with friend George Lucas to prove his worth. But success came to Coppola from the other side...
9. The film studio wanted to entrust Sergio Leone to shoot The Godfather. But he refused and later regretted it immensely. After 11 years, the director took revenge by telling his story about gangsters - Once Upon a Time in America.
10. Directors Elia Kazan and Costa-Gavras also said no.
11. Coppola, like Puzo, did not know anything about gangsters. Moreover, he did not even finish reading the book "The Godfather," which many admired, tired of the overabundance of erotic scenes. “A third of the book is devoted to the anatomical problems of a minor heroine,” the director admitted years later.
12. The producers signed a contract with Coppola, counting on his Italian origin and the unknown as a director (you could save on the fee).
13. Through negotiations, Francis increased the film's budget from $2.5 million to $6 million.
14. During filming, the producers were unhappy with Coppola. But this continued only until he received an Oscar for the script for the film Patton.
15. The prototype of Vito Corleone is the famous gangster Joseph "Joe" Bonanno.
16. Corleone is the name of a small town in Sicily.
17. Laurence Olivier, Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quinn, Raf Vallone, and Ernest Borgnine were predicted for the role of Don Corleone. It was rumored that they asked for the part of "godfather" Orson Welles and even Frank Sinatra.
18. Puzo saw only Marlon Brando as Don Corleone. Coppola was of the same opinion.
19. The producers were categorically against the participation of the stellar Brando (he had a reputation, frankly, not very good) and set three, as it seemed to them, impossible conditions: the actor works for free, in case of disruption of filming he pays a penalty of $ 1 million, participates in auditions for general grounds.
20. Coppola took two operators and went to Brando's house to make samples. Seeing footage with a "real gangster," the producers found no objection.
21. Contrary to the producers' fears, Marlon did not disrupt a single day of shooting.
22. Brando often joked and arranged practical jokes. For example, in the scene where the guests were photographed at the wedding of Don Corleone's daughter, the actor suddenly took off his pants and showed everyone his butt. At that moment, there were 500 actors and extras on set.
23. Samples of unknown James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton, the director, did in his home. Coppola's wife even cut the men's hair to make them look like heroes.
24. The role of Michael Corleone could be played by Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert de Niro.
25. "Unknown Ugly Shorty" Al Pacino did not suit anyone except Coppola. During filming, the producers could not understand for a long time when the actor would start acting.
26. Pacino agreed to a fee of $35,000.
27. Sinatra was considered the prototype of Johnny Fontaine. He thought that this image in the book was written off from him and even yelled at Puzo, meeting him by chance in a restaurant. So Fontaine practically does not appear in the film.
28. The scene where Sonny beats up Carlo takes four days to shoot. Seven hundred extras participated in it.
29. Real gangsters created the League for the Defense of the Rights of Italian Americans. One of the directions of their struggle was the eradication of the frequent use of the word "mafia." The producers of The Godfather were subjected to surveillance and intimidation. One of them even had to go to a meeting with gangsters. Fortunately, the word "mafia" appeared in the text only once...
30. The film "The Godfather" was filmed in 4 months.
31. A special secret show was arranged for the Mafiosi. The producers did not know about this "misconduct" at the film studio. However, the guests were delighted. The film became a cult classic for American gangsters.
32. The Godfather started on 400 screens at once. But people still paid resellers for tickets 3-4 times more to get to the session quickly.
33. On the day of the premiere, 32-year-old Coppola was nervous: “I think failure is inevitable. What I've done? Took a popular, full of piquancy and "strawberry" novel, and turned it into the endless chatter of a gang of bandits in dimly lit interiors.
34. Shortly before the premiere, Coppola joked in a conversation with the producers. If the film collects $ 50 million, they will buy him a Mercedes 600 limousine. When fees exceeded $ 100 million, Coppola went to order a car driven by the Pope and Francisco Franco.
35. A few months later, The Godfather became the highest-grossing film in US history, breaking the record for Gone with the Wind.
36. During the election campaign of Richard Nixon, he was compared to Vito Corleone. And it sounded like… a compliment. The term "godfather" also took root after the film's release.
37. At the Oscars in 1973, Coppola received the highest film award for the screenplay. And The Godfather became the best film.
38. Brando was named the best actor in 1972. But he refused the Oscar awarded to him, thus expressing a protest against discrimination against the indigenous population of America.
39. Composer Nino Rota was nominated for an Oscar for the best film score. Still, the nomination was canceled when it turned out that he did not write new music entirely but used and reworked his melodies from the film Fortunella.
40. According to the American Film Institute, "The Godfather" is ranked #1 in the list of the ten best gangster films.
41. Two years after the premiere, Coppola decided to build on the success and shot the film The Godfather 2.
42. The Godfather 2 won 6 Oscars.
43. In the Soviet Union, Roman Puzo first went to samizdat, until in 1987, it was published by the Znamya magazine.
44. The film "The Godfather" was one of the major hits in the underground video market of the USSR. But even those who did not have a "Vidik" knew him.
45. In 1985-1989. The USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs blocked Coppola's tape as "propagating a cult of violence."
46. The Soviet Union bought all parts of The Godfather only in 1990 when the third part of the legendary film saga came out. According to unofficial information, for $200,000.
The presentation of the film in the USSR took place at the Rossiya cinema. The sponsor spent 100 thousand rubles. The host was Nikita Mikhalkov, who is called Coppola's friend. Tickets cost 17-25 rubles.
48. The song "Speak Softly Love" to the melody of Nino Rota from the movie "The Godfather" was sung by Muslim Magomayev - in Italian, Sofia Rotaru - in Ukrainian, Renat Ibragimov, Emil Gorovets, and Nina Brodskaya - in Russian.
49. The restoration of the three parts of the film for the 50th anniversary of the premiere of The Godfather took three years. Experts studied 300 boxes of film. For more than 4,000 hours, they eliminated stains on negatives and restored color—more than 1000 hours of color grading.
50. The film was re-released in 4K Ultra HD.