Just the other day I picked up the phone and called the Godfather’s father, Francis Ford Coppola. I had one important question for him. I wanted to know how he felt today looking back 50 years to when he directed The Godfather. His answer?
“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse, and it changed my life.”
What he said immediately reminds us of one of the movie’s famous lines (“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,”) spoken by the Godfather himself, Don Vito Corleone, played masterfully by Marlon Brando, who won an Oscar for his performance. And just as that film changed Coppola’s life, it made an indelible mark on the American cinema landscape. It’s a movie that remains just as enduring and entertaining today as it was when it debuted five decades ago.
How can you beat a film that has such a star-studded cast (Brando, a then-unknown Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Talia Shire); incredible locations and sets; a story line that pulls you in and never lets you go and powerful music that sticks in your head? I’ve watched the movie many times over the years. It never gets old. I bet you feel the same way!
I can hear the music now. I visualize the restaurant murder scene, the bloody horse’s head in the bed and the toll booth massacre. I want to watch it again. Tonight.
Without The Godfather there may never have been the HBO series “The Sopranos,” Goodfellas or so many great Mob movies and shows. It defines the genre. And the film was a hit, grossing $1.6 billion worldwide (in today’s dollars) at the box office.
In this issue, we honor the classic movie, released in March, 1972, and celebrate its 50-year-anniversary. Our cover package begins on page 34, starting with the story behind how the movie was made.
But to truly understand The Godfather, it’s important to speak to the source, and that source is Francis Ford Coppola. On page 48 you will read how this movie came to be, excerpts from my in-depth interview and cover story that we published back in 2003. Coppola described how he physically took apart a copy of Mario Puzo’s novel, filled it with notes and reassembled it into a binder to make his first script, how he battled with the studio over casting, among other fascinating back stories, and just how painful it was to produce this masterpiece.
On our recent phone call, Coppola told me how much he enjoyed the interview. So much had been written about The Godfather, he said, so many books, so many articles—many that contain false information. He was happy to set the record straight through the interview.
Enjoy this cover package about our favorite movie. And I’m not the only one from Cigar Aficionado who loves it. Managing editor Greg Mottola has a ritual of watching it every Christmas season, senior features editor Jack Bettridge is known for quoting lines from the film at meetings and executive editor David Savona gets pulled in every time he sees it running on TV.
So select a great cigar from one of your humidors, sit in a comfortable chair and fall in love again when you read the inside story of The Godfather.
Consider this an offer you can’t refuse.