Essay Example on The Godfather is a gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola









The Godfather is a gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola that was released March 24 1972 It is considered by many to be one of the all time great movies made It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won three Best Picture Best Actor and Best Writing Adapted Screenplay The movie is a story of a family with the obligations and ties to family and all the responsibilities It opens with the words I believe in America The movie begins in very low almost dark lighting The camera shows light only on one man s face and the background is almost totally dark The camera angles change dramatically throughout the movie Sometimes the angle is very fist person almost as if you are in the room when the scene is happening and then the camera pulls out and you see a massive scene from above where no one would actually be The cinematographer Gordon Willis used lighting that gave a lot of shadows He lighted Brando s face from the ceiling down creating high contrasting shadows over his eyes which made him more ambiguous in his thoughts because we never truly saw his eyes A lot of the interior scenes and almost all of don Corleone s office are dark which contrasts with the sudden light of family scenes like his daughter Connie s wedding 

The colors you see in the wedding remind me of old video from the 1940s and this also helps place the time period of the movie It is really at that point you feel that this takes place a long time ago Francis Ford Coppola said that the whole visual style was set out before we shot one foot of film We talked about the contrast between good and evil light and dark How we d really use darkness how we d start out with a black sheet of paper and paint in the light The use of shadow darkness light and close up angles and massive scenes do convey a tone to the movie that would not be there if everything were filmed in natural light and full room visual angles The baptism scene at the end of the movie shows amazing editing and is a favorite part The editing and the soundtrack come together to creat a dynamic effect Michael Corleone is in a church standing as godfather to his newborn nephew In a roughly five minute portion of the film Francis Ford Coppola used over sixty shots flashing back and forth between the holy ceremony taking place in the church to a seris of violent executions taking place in various parts of the country at the same time The whole series of scenes has an organ playing that provides both a backdrop to remind the viewer of what he is doing and it also creates distinct dram over the killings This scene also has close ups of Michael and the baby while panning out for most of the killings It is the final seal of Michael Corleone as the new don

You see the baby s consecration and hear the voice of the priest all while flashing to deaths Michael Corleone is promising before god and the church to be the baby s godfather and at the same time his orders and the deaths that are occurring make him The Godfather of the family Sound is used to enhance and emphasize throughout the movie both in the soundtrack misuc and the sounds within the movie Silence and the lack of sound are also used The nondiegetic score adds drama throughout and the organ from the baptism scene may cross both There is the impression that the organ played in church but it also plays over the killings that Francis Ford Coppola cuts back and forth to There are many scenes where the diegetic sound is important to the telling of the story Certain scenes like the gunshots in Louie s are the only sounds you can hear even the echo of the shots and the fade into silence focus the viewers attention on Michael as he realizes he still holds the gun and then in the silence to the bodies The sound of the explosion when Michael s wife was killed is more dramatic because there is no soundtrack and in the moments before she turns the key there is complete silence Additionally both Vito and Michael Corleone are soft spoken and they appear more in control while Sonny is loud and it helps to emphasize his rash and reckless personality 

The more soft spoken members of the family carried themselves with more authority The first line of the film from the funeral director is I believe in America The movie explores an American family and follows a war hero and his path to becoming a calculated violent organized mobster But in the beginning Michael Corleone was allowed by his family to have another life His older brother was the intended heir and the way he was suddenly forced to make decisions combined with his spontaneous and aggressive personality was too much Michael was nice and appeared gentle and reluctant to kill The transition started with the killing of the cop and The Turk and finalized with the murder of his wife in Sicily After that he was ready to do what he needed for the family to become don In the end Michael s loyalty to his family and their way of life require him to take over even if it was never the intent of his father brothers or himself He became a changed man and the only way he could have escaped would be been if Sonny lived Once Sonny died it was over for Michael He never appeared to resent or celebrate this but it was a slow steady acceptance and embracing of his family

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