(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)
(#20) The Godfather
Crime • dir. Francis Ford Coppola • 1972 • USA
I’ve only ever seen The Godfather twice. I know. Call myself a film fan? My Godfather view tally should be up in double figures by now, surely. (Still worse, I’ve never seen the much-maligned Part III.) If it’s not too shabby of me, let me offer a couple of things in my defense. One, like everybody else, I’ve seen bits of The Godfather many times. On just about all of the last seven Thanksgivings, for instance: it’s always on TV, and I always try and click over to it – whenever my father-in-law steps out the room and instead of interminable football. Two, both times I watched it properly, I paid to. On the big screen.
I watched, of course, in awed silence. That first time, as a film studies undergrad in Canterbury, at my beloved Cinema 3. I felt like a Catholic meeting the Pope. Even with the highest possible expectations, The Godfather didn’t disappoint. From Pacino’s mesmeric eyes to Brando’s commanding jowl, Coppola’s preternaturally assured direction (he made the film aged 32) to the consummate cinematography, editing and sound design: The Godfather is as good as film gets. Introducing it to the audience at Canterbury, a visibly nervous Film Society volunteer said, “I think you’ll all like this – I think it’s quite good.” Twelve years later, I still feel for him. Standing in front of The Godfather, you can’t hope to feel anything but small. It’s monumental. Like the Panama Canal. The riches of the Rockefellers. The Babe in ′27, swinging a red hot bat.