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The Godfather at 50

Conceived as a quick payday fashioned from a lurid novel, the landmark gangster movie became a cultural phenomenon and quite possibly the greatest movie ever made
| By Marshall Fine | From The Godfather, March/April 2022
The Godfather at 50
A movie magnate awakes in his palatial home to find the severed head of his prized stallion tucked between his bloodstained sheets. A motorist tries to hurry through a toll booth only to be hemmed in and then mowed down by assassins with submachine guns. A patron retrieves a hidden pistol from a restaurant lavatory and uses it to dispatch his dinner companions—one of them still holding a forkful of veal. That level of gore—only halfway through the movie—sounds like the stuff of third-rate horror flicks. And yet The Godfather, which shocked audiences of the time, is revered a half-century later as a cinematic classic, a sweeping epic with Shakespearean overtones. …
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