Film Follies, How Have You Not Seen That?

How Have You Not Seen That-The Godfather

It is an impossible task to try and rank the greatest films of all time. Films are works of art and entertainment that seek to tell a specific story and elicit a particular set of reactions. Comparing a psychological thriller like Vertigo to the near-perfect action movie Die Hard is not only foolish but completely unfair to both films. Having said that, if you were to put together a list of the greatest films of all time, such a list would be incomplete if it did not include the subject of today’s How Have You Not Seen That? Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece The Godfather.
This is a film that features some of the greatest actors of their generation guided by one of the most influential directors in the history of American cinema, Brando, Pacino, Duvall, Caan, Keaton, and Talia Shire all under the direction of Francis Ford Coppola. More than that this is the film that made their careers. Al Pacino went from unknown up an comer to one of the biggest names in Hollywood following this picture’s release. Diane Keaton and Talia Shire would use this as a launching pad for their own careers, parlaying their roles here into star-making turns in Annie Hall and Rocky respectfully. Brando would use this film to relaunch his career, reminding everyone of his genius after years of being labeled too difficult to work with. Coppola himself was in debt and coming off a flop when this film came along and changed his entire life trajectory and turned him into a living legend.
This is a film that was at the time the highest grossing film in history as well as a best picture winner. Acting, directing, writing, even cinematography; if there was an award to be won The Godfather won it. And now there is not a single list out there of greatest films ever made that does not include The Godfather in its top ten. Hell even the books written about this film win awards (Tom Santopietro’s The Godfather Effect is an excellent read, once you’ve seen the film that is).
This is a film that, for good or ill, defined what it meant to be an Italian immigrant in America. It invented the term “Godfather” which was then adopted by the mafia itself so taken in by this film were they. “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”, “On this the day of my daughter’s wedding”, “Go to the mattresses” “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” “Never take sides against the family” If you’re telling me you’ve never heard one of these quotes you’re either lying to me or yourself because these are some of the most iconic lines in cinema history and have become a common part of our everyday vernacular.
This is the film that inspired films like Goodfellas and Casino. Without The Godfather, Coppola doesn’t have the clout to make Apocalypse Now. Pacino doesn’t make Dog Day Afternoon or play Tony Montana in Scarface. The entire history of 70’s Hollywood, one of the most influential decades of cinema looks completely different. Without The Godfather there is no Sopranos, HBO doesn’t invest in original programming and the golden age of television never emerges.
Knowing all that, if you are a full grown adult who owns a television or has ever been to the theater to see a movie and we talk and you tell me you have never seen this most essential of American movies you be certain that I’m going to ask you in a voice dripping with incredulity: The Godfather, How Have You Not Seen That.

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