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The Godfather, Which Francis Ford Coppola, which was supposed to be made in 1971, is considered by many to be the greatest film of all time. With an overwhelming box office hit, three Academy Awards, and an enthusiastic fan base, production soon began with a sequel – and then a third episode. Whether you’re a fan of the Mafia franchise or haven’t seen all three films, enjoy this look back at film history.
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Director Francis Ford Coppola on the set of The Godfather. Coppola had already made a name for itself after directing it Finian’s rainbow in 1968 and Patton 1970. However, he achieved meteoric success when The Godfather Premiere in 1972.
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Actor Marlon Brando took on the role of head of the family Don Vito Corleone in the first film.
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Al Pacino, who played Michael Corleone, smiles in a portrait on the set The Godfather.
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Pacino, James Caan and John Cazale, who play the Corleone Brothers, pose with Brando (second from left) on the set of the first film.
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Marlo Brando (second from left of the bride) poses in character with the rest of the Corleone family as he films the film’s iconic wedding scene.
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Speaking of the wedding scene … Brando is said to have played quite a prank on his co-stars while filming. In retaliation for Hijinx by Caan and Duvall, Brando pulled his pants down and mooned them along with the rest of the cast and crew.
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Pacino poses as Michael Corleone during a movie photo shoot. The young actor rose to fame playing the Mafia son, but he wasn’t Paramount’s first choice for the role. The studio originally dealt with more established actors like Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.
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Diane Keaton was cast as Michael Corleone’s love interest Kay Adams. It was her first major film role.
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Caan was originally tested for the role of Michael Corleone but was instead cast as Sonny Corleone.
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Brando and Pacino, both strict method actors, take the direction on the set.
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The Hearst Mansion in Beverly Hills, California was the filming location for Jack Woltz’s home in The iconic horse scene. If you know you know.
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Michael’s marriage to Apollonia during his refuge in Sicily is one of the film’s main highlights. While the production for the scenes traveled to Sicily, they couldn’t film in the city of Corleone because it was too developed. They chose the much smaller towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agro outside Taormina. You can still visit the Bar Vitelli church, where their wedding was filmed.
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It’s hard to imagine anyone but Brando playing Corleone, the head of the criminal family. Rumor has it that the studio wasn’t interested in the actor until Coppola set up a screen test for him.
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The production team took over Mott Street in New York’s Lower East Side in a pivotal scene where Brando steps into the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company, which was filmed in real life in the historic Mietz building.
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The production takes care of Brando’s hair while filming. The movie’s stylists used hair cream to keep his character’s combed look in place while filming.
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Producer Albert S. Ruddy speaks to Brando on a set in New York’s Little Italy neighborhood.
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The film caused a stir in the neighborhood and even got residents to watch from their fire escape.
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Brando is seen with fake blood on his lip while filming a scene on Mott Street in New York City.
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Brando’s appearance as Don Corleone enlivened his career. In 1973, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, but turned it down to protest how Hollywood portrayed Indians and to raise awareness of the stalemate at Wounded Knee.
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Coppola and his family attend the 1973 Academy Awards. The Godfather won three awards including best adapted screenplay, best actor (Marlon Brando) and coveted best picture.
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Before the Oscars, Pacino shows a photo of himself from the film in addition to his daytime look. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in The Godfather.
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Fresh from the monumental success of The Godfather, Coppola and most of the original cast returned in 1974 for the sequel.
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One of the film’s newest cast members was a young Robert De Niro, who played a young Don Vito Corleone in the film’s flashbacks.
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De Niro is filming a scene for The Godfather: Part II with Giuseppe Sillato.
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The second film was a prequel and a sequel to the life of Michael Corleone after starting his own family and taking over the family business.
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Coppola can be seen on the set in the East Village while filming the sequel. On his right is his wife, Eleanor Coppola.
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Coppola gives De Niro the direction during a street scene. De Niro said he approached the role of young Vito Corleone like a “science experiment” to do justice to Brando’s performance.
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De Niro walks the streets with a costar while filming a scene on New York’s Lower East Side.
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Coppola relaxes for a minute on the set of the second installment of the franchise.
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Coppola chose East 6th Street between Avenue B and Avenue C as the block to be converted into New York City in the late 1910s.
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