The Godfather (film series)

The Godfather
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola (2–3)
Albert S. Ruddy (1)
Written by Mario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola
Based on The Godfather
by Mario Puzo
Music by Nino Rota
Carmine Coppola
Cinematography Gordon Willis
Edited by Peter Zinner (1–2)
Barry Malkin (2–3)
William H. Reynolds (1)
Richard Marks (2)
Lisa Fruchtman (3)
Walter Murch (3)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • 15 March 1972 (1972-03-15)
  • (The Godfather)
  • 20 December 1974 (1974-12-20)
  • (The Godfather Part II)
  • 25 December 1990 (1990-12-25)
  • (The Godfather Part III)
Running time
549 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $73.5 million
Box office $574.8 million

The Godfather film series consists of three crime films directed by Francis Ford Coppola inspired by the novel of the same name by Italian American author Mario Puzo. The series follows the trials of the Corleone family, Italian Americans whose patriarch, Vito Corleone, rises to be a major figure in American organized crime. His youngest son, Michael Corleone, becomes his successor. All three films were distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in 1972, 1974 and 1990. The series achieved success at the box office, with the films earning over $550 million worldwide. The first two films have received wide acclaim since release; the former, The Godfather, is seen by many as one of the greatest films of all time. Its sequel, The Godfather Part II, is viewed by many as the best sequel in cinematic history. The series is heavily awarded, winning 9 out of 29 total Academy Award nominations.

Film series

The Godfather

Main article: The Godfather

The Godfather, the first film in the franchise, was released on March 15, 1972. The feature-length film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The plot begins with Don Vito Corleone declining an offer to join in the narcotics business with notorious drug lord Virgil Sollozzo, which leads to an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Vito's oldest son Sonny takes over the family and Michael strikes back for the assassination attempt by killing Sollozzo and a corrupted police captain, forcing Michael to go to Sicily in hiding. While in Sicily, Michael travels around the country and meets a young woman whom he marries, but who is eventually killed in a car bombing. Michael returns to America after the news of his brother Sonny's murder. After returning, Vito turns over the reins of the family to Michael. Michael plans to move the family business to Las Vegas; but before the move, he plots the killing of the heads of the five families on the day of his nephew's baptism. Other subplots include Vito's daughter's abusive marriage, Johnny Fontaine's success in Hollywood, and Vito's second oldest son Fredo's role in the family business in Las Vegas.

The Godfather Part II

Main article: The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II, the second film in the franchise, was released on December 20, 1974. The feature-length film was again directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo's novel of the same name. The film is in part both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, presenting two parallel dramas. The main storyline, following the first film's events, centers on Michael Corleone, the new Don of the Corleone crime family, trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily in 1901 to his founding of the Corleone family in New York City.

The Godfather Part III

The Godfather Part III, the third film in the franchise, was released on December 25, 1990. Francis Ford Coppola returned as director for the feature-length film, while also writing the screenplay with the help of the author Mario Puzo. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire. The film also weaves into its plot a fictionalized account of real-life events, which include the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981 and 1982, and links them with each other and with the affairs of Michael Corleone.

Compilations for video and television

In addition to the three films that were released to theaters, three compilations were created by Coppola and editors Barry Malkin and Walter Murch:


Character Film
The Godfather[2] The Godfather Part II[3] The Godfather Part III[4]
Michael Corleone Al Pacino
Vito Corleone Marlon Brando Robert De Niro[N 1]
Oreste Baldini (child)
Tom Hagen Robert Duvall  
Sonny Corleone James Caan  
Peter Clemenza Richard S. Castellano Bruno Kirby[N 2]  
Captain McCluskey Sterling Hayden  
Jack Woltz John Marley  
Emilio Barzini Richard Conte  
Kay Adams-Corleone Diane Keaton
Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone Simonetta Stefanelli   Simonetta Stefanelli
(archive footage)
Virgil Sollozzo Al Lettieri  
Salvatore Tessio Abe Vigoda Abe Vigoda
John Aprea[N 3]
Connie Corleone Talia Shire
Carlo Rizzi Gianni Russo  
Fredo Corleone John Cazale[N 4]
Carmine Cuneo Rudy Bond  
Johnny Fontane Al Martino   Al Martino
Calo Franco Citti   Franco Citti
Carmela Corleone Morgana King Morgana King
Francesca De Sapio[N 5]
Luca Brasi Lenny Montana  
Paulie Gatto Johnny Martino  
Amerigo Bonasera Salvatore Corsitto  
Al Neri Richard Bright
Moe Greene Alex Rocco  
Bruno Tattaglia Tony Giorgio  
Nazorine Vito Scotti  
Theresa Hagen Tere Livrano
Philip Tattaglia Victor Rendina  
Lucy Mancini Jeannie Linero   Jeannie Linero
Sandra Corleone Julie Gregg  
Fabrizio Angelo Infanti  
Vitelli Saro Urzi  
Enzo Aguello Gabrielle Torrei   Gabrielle Torrei
Victor Stracci Don Costello  
Don Zaluchi Louis Guss  
Hyman Roth   Lee Strasberg
John Megna (young)
Frank Pentangeli   Michael V. Gazzo  
Pat Geary   G. D. Spradlin  
Fabrizio Fanucci   Gastone Moschin  
Rocco Lampone Tom Rosqui  
Genco Abbandando Franco Corsaro
(deleted scene)
Frank Sivero  
Deanna Dunn-Corleone   Marianna Hill  
Signor Roberto   Leopoldo Trieste  
Johnny Ola   Dominic Chianese  
Bussetta   Amerigo Tot  
Merle Johnson   Troy Donahue  
Willi Cicci Joe Spinell  
Vito's mother   Maria Carta  
Francesco Ciccio   Giuseppe Sillato  
Marcia Roth   Fay Spain  
FBI Man   Harry Dean Stanton  
Carmine Rosato   Carmine Caridi  
Tony Rosato   Danny Aiello  
Vincenzo Pentangeli   Salvatore Po  
Mosca   Ignazio Pappalardo  
Strollo   Andrea Maugeri  
Vincent Mancini   Andy García
Osvaldo Altobello   Eli Wallach
Joey Zasa   Joe Mantegna
B J Harrison   George Hamilton
Grace Hamilton   Bridget Fonda
Mary Corleone   Sofia Coppola
Cardinal Lamberto   Raf Vallone
Anthony Corleone Anthony Gounaris James Gounaris Franc D'Ambrosio
Archbishop Gilday   Donal Donnelly
Frederick Keinszig   Helmut Berger
Dominic Abbandando   Don Novello
Andrew Hagen   John Savage
Mosca   Mario Donatone
Don Tommasino Corrado Gaipa Mario Cotone Vittorio Duse
Licio Lucchesi   Enzo Robutti
Spara   Michele Russo
Lou Pennino   Robert Cicchini
Armand   Rogerio Miranda
Francesco   Carlos Miranda
Anthony Squigliaro   Vito Antuofermo
Francesca Corleone Jeanne Savarino Pesch
Kathryn Corleone Janet Savarino Smith
Albert Volpe   Carmine Caridi
Frank Romano   Don Costello
Leo Cuneo   Al Ruscio
Matty Parisi   Mickey Knox


Box office performance

Film Release date Revenue Rank Budget Reference
North America Other territories Worldwide All time
North America
All time
The Godfather March 15, 1972 $134,966,411 $110,100,000 $245,066,411 #310
#398 $6,500,000 [5]
The Godfather Part II December 20, 1974 $57,300,000 $135,700,000 $193,000,000 #1,416 - $13,000,000 [6]
The Godfather Part III December 25, 1990 $66,666,062 $70,100,000 $136,766,062 #947 - $54,000,000 [7]
Total $258932473 $315900000 $574832473 - - $73,500,000 [8]
List indicator(s)
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the films received 99%, 97%, and 67% scores respectively. Metacritic, based on its ratings for each film (100%, 80%, 60%), lists the series as receiving "Generally Favorable Reviews" with its 80% average.

The series appears in many "Top 10" film lists, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association's Top 10 Films, IMDb top 250, Time magazine's All-Time 100 Movies, and James Berardinelli's Top 100.[9]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Godfather 99% (84 reviews)[10] 100 (14 reviews)[11]
The Godfather Part II 97% (72 reviews)[12] 80 (10 reviews)[13]
The Godfather Part III 67% (57 reviews)[14] 60 (19 reviews)[15]


The three films together were nominated for a total of 29 Academy Awards, of which they won 9. For the Best Supporting Actor award, both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II had three actors nominated for the award, which is a rare feat. Both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II won the award for Best Picture in their respective years. The Godfather Part II won the most Academy Awards with six to its credit. The Godfather Part III was nominated for seven Oscars, but failed to win any.

The Godfather film series at the Academy Awards[16][17][18]
Award Awards won
The Godfather The Godfather Part II The Godfather Part III
Actor in a Leading Role Won (Marlon Brando) Nominated (Al Pacino)
Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated (James Caan) Won (Robert De Niro) Nominated (Andy García)
Nominated (Robert Duvall) Nominated (Michael V. Gazzo)
Nominated (Al Pacino) Nominated (Lee Strasberg)
Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated (Talia Shire)
Art Direction Won Nominated
Cinematography Nominated
Costume Design Nominated Nominated
Directing Nominated Won Nominated
Film Editing Nominated Nominated
Music (Original Dramatic Score) Won
Music (Original Song) Nominated ("Promise Me You'll Remember")
Picture Won Won Nominated
Sound Nominated
Writing (Adapted Screenplay) Won Won

Fourth installment

Following the reaction from the third installment, Coppola stated that the idea of a fourth picture was discussed, but eventually never went into production as Puzo died before they had a chance to write the film, stating he and Puzo discussed a potential script told in a similar narrative to Part II, seeing De Niro reprise his role as a younger Vito Corleone in the 1930s with a young Sonny Corleone gaining the families' political power, and a latter story featured during the 1980s seeing Andy García reprise his role as Vincent Corleone haunted by the death of his cousin Mary, running the family business through a ten-year destructive war and eventually losing the families' respect and power, seeing one final scene with Michael Corleone before his death.[19] García has since claimed the film's script was nearly produced.[19] Puzo's portion of the potential sequel, dealing with the Corleone family in the early 1930s, was eventually expanded into a novel by Ed Falco and released in 2012 as The Family Corleone.[20] The estate of Puzo had sought to keep Paramount Pictures from producing a feature film based on the novel.[21] This has been resolved, with Paramount gaining the rights to make more Godfather films.[22]

Video games

Three video games have been released to supplement the film series. The releases include: The Godfather, The Godfather: The Game and The Godfather II.


  1. The character Vito Corleone appears in The Godfather Part II as a younger version than in The Godfather and played by another actor, Robert De Niro.
  2. The character Peter Clemenza appears in The Godfather Part II as a younger version than in The Godfather and played by another actor, Bruno Kirby.
  3. The character Salvatore Tessio appears in The Godfather Part II as a younger version than in The Godfather and played by another actor, John Aprea. The original actor Abe Vigoda makes a cameo appearance at the end of The Godfather Part II.
  4. The character Fredo Corleone played by John Cazale appears in The Godfather Part III during a brief flashblack. Archive footage from The Godfather Part II is used.
  5. The character Carmela Corleone appears in The Godfather Part II as an older version played by Morgana King and a younger version in flashbacks played by Francesca De Sapio.


  1. Malta, J. Geoff (2006). The Godfather 1902–1959: The Complete Epic.
  2. "The Godfather (1972)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  3. "The Godfather, Part II (1974)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  4. "The Godfather, Part III (1990)- Cast & Crew". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  5. "The Godfather (1972)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  6. "Box office / business for The Godfather: Part II". IMDB. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  7. "The Godfather Part III (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  8. "The Godfather at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  9. James Berardinelli. "Berardinelli's All-Time Top 100". Reelviews. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
  10. "The Godfather". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  11. "The Godfather". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  12. "The Godfather II". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  13. "The Godfather II". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  14. "The Godfather III". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  15. "The Godfather III". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  16. "1972 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  17. "1974 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  18. "1990 Academy Awards® Winners and History". AMC Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  19. 1 2 Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. Wilson, Craig (6 May 2012). "Prequel lays out life before 'The Godfather'". USA Today. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  21. Schulder, Michael (4 September 2012). "CNN Profiles: Ed Falco's prequel to 'The Godfather'". CNN Radio. Retrieved 2 October 2012.

Further reading

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