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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

War on Drugs


Plot Overview

By Italian tradition, “no Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter's wedding day.” A magnani­mous Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), head of the Corleone Mafia family, aka “God­father,” has his hands full with suppli­cants. He patiently explains to an oppor­tun­is­tic under­taker who couldn't find justice in America, that, no, he does not “do murder - for money,” but out of friend­ship he will see to it that his abused daughter is avenged. A would-be actor asks the God­father to secure a part for him. A Holly­wood producer had locked him out for personal reasons, who was the obvious pick. The guy needed to use his horse sense.

It's late summer, 1945, in New York City. The Don's youngest son Michael (Al Pacino), a decorated World War II hero returned from service in the Marines, is regaling his girl­friend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) at the wedding with anecdotes about his family's exploits while assuring her, “That's my family, Kay, that's not me.” When the “future” arrives in the form of a business opportunity for the Corleone family to branch out into narcotics, and Vito declines and further will not allow the other five families to avail them­selves of the cops, judges, and poli­ticians in his pocket, an inter-family war threatens to break out and Michael heeds his call to duty. The movie-going consumer's naïveté is tweaked as he follows the ins and outs of gang war­fare with shifting loyalties, trying to second guess what's just business and what's personal.


In the world of “The Godfather”—which we inhabit for 3 hrs.—America ain't no land of justice, what with all the cops, judges, and politicians being in some­one's pocket, but there exists a pseudo–human-justice in the person­age of a benign god­father—just don't get on the bad side of him. Sure, the Corleone family runs “liquor, gambling, and even women,” but in the real America those things have been tolerated … at least in certain places at certain times. “But drugs, that's a dirty business.” For the Corleone family to take such a stand puts them on the side of the angels in the soon to develop war against drugs, and Michael in a war­time morality.

“The Godfather” opens at the mother of all (Italian-American) weddings and winds up at a full flung baptism of Michael's new god­child establishing a “very religious, close, sacred relation­ship” between the two. I can't speak for the Catholic Church here, but artistic­ally this sacred sphere is presented with impact, and the ceremony can also be aligned with one of the liturgical Psalms of Degrees: Psalm 125:1, the family on the side of the angels being divinely established, as Michael confesses (“I do”) that he “believes in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

The camera cutting back and forth between an enveloping infant baptism and Michael's emissaries out in the town tying up loose ends is a graphic illustration of God's all encompassing protection, Psalm 125:2, earlier evoked by the mountains and people about the Sicilian village where Michael had cooled his heels under their protection when things got too hot for him in America. Cinematic­ally, the trans­position of heaven and earth is illustrated, as spoken of by St. Justin Popovich, “Man's invisible thoughts, his invisible feelings, his invisible desires and wishes are trans­formed into visible works, visible actions, and visible achieve­ments. ¶“[T]he foundation of every­thing that is visible is the invisible; of man, his invisible soul; of the world, the invisible God. ¶“[T]he visible is the material­ization of the invisible. But around the visible, and behind the visible, there extends the end­less sea of the invisible” (11–12).

This intervention on the side of the angels was necessary; otherwise the Corleone family would have been rail­roaded into supporting an illegal drug trade, Psalm 125:3.

God's blessing on them per Psalm 125:4 was also evoked with the contem­porary song: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with the words “From now on your troubles will be out of sight.”

And of course, when Michael in the ceremony “renounces Satan and all his works,” his nemeses venturing into drugs become history per Psalm 125:5.

Production Values

“The Godfather” (1972) was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Its screenplay was done by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, based on Mario Puzo's novel, The Godfather. It stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and Diane Keaton, whose acting along with every­one else's was fault­less. In an epic like this one, the three hour run­time did not seem over­long. The wedding scenes were price­less. The music was energizing. The shock material was not over­done.

Review Conclusion w/ Consumer Recommendation

“The Godfather” is an invaluable piece of Americana. I once befriended a dignified older gentle­man whom I would meet from time to time at a certain restaurant. It wasn't until I was about to leave town that I learned from my friends he was the head of all the organized crime in those parts. They have their stories, too, and while this one isn't a documentary, it's a classic.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few very suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

St. Justin Popovich. “The Invisible in the Visible.” Orthodox Heritage. Vol. 03, Issue 11. Pages 11–12.

Have Yourself Merry Little Christmas" was introduced in the 1944 musical: "Meet Me in Saint Louis.”