MNA Culture & Entertainment Desk: The Godfather’s cast, and director Francis Ford Coppola, reunited to celebrate the film’s legacy, 45 years down the line; reflecting on what it’s like to be part of what’s frequently considered the greatest film of all time.
Al Pacino was considered too short, Marlon Brando was required to do a screen test, and director Francis Ford Coppola was almost fired.
Coppola, Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Talia Shire and Robert Duvall watched back-to-back screenings of “The Godfather” (1972) and “The Godfather: Part II” (1974) along with an audience of 6,000 on the closing night of the Tribeca film festival.
“I haven’t seen these movies for years,” Coppola said. “I found (watching) a very emotional experience. I forgot a lot about the making of it and thought about the story, and the story used a lot of family and my personal stuff.”
The two films won nine Oscars and their tale of how an orphan from Sicily emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and formed the Corleone crime family became movie classics.
But the film had a less than auspicious start. Coppola recalled that Hollywood studio Paramount wanted to set the movie in the 1970s and make something “cheap and quick.”
Coppola was almost fired several times and met stiff resistance to the casting of both Pacino as Michael Corleone and Brando as the titular Godfather.
Brando, who died in 2004, had made several box-office flops after a stellar career in the 1950s and had a reputation for being difficult.