BFI Classics: The Godfather

Author: Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis takes on Coppola’s original gangster masterpiece in this recent BFI Classic.

The book is divided into three sections. “I Believe in America” looks at the film itself – effortlessly beginning with the opening scene, and the opening line (which is also the chapter’s title). The author doesn’t just look at the story, but also at the intimate style of the visuals by breaking down the scripted shot lists. The script and its adaptation to the screen is looked it, even with a focus on the involvement of Robert Towne in the production.

The next chapter “I Believe in Hollywood” takes a closer look at Coppola’s dealings with the studio system and his career. Lewis also follows the film’s succession to the screen and its eventual success with both critics as well as at the box office.

The final chapter “I Believe in the Mafia” is a study of the context of the film, real life gangsters and also the Mario Puzo’s book. With this kind of research put in, I’ll look forward to The Godfather Part II.

Steven Hurst

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