Essay: An In-Depth analysis of Francis Ford Coppala’s The GodFather

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  • An In-Depth analysis of Francis Ford Coppala’s The GodFather
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An In-Depth analysis of Francis Ford Coppala’s The GodFather


Francis Ford Coppola, a man with a decent relevance to this paper, once said the setting of 1940’s New York was crucial to the thematic (take a drink every time the word thematic is said in this paper) purpose of the story.Within those parameters it become clear the fashion cycle we will be peddling in for The Godfather.In short, the movie has a “Godfather” look,but unfortunately that particular descriptor has been pushed off the proverbial table so we’ll have to go into more detail.The wardrobe of the film includes striped blazers,white dress shirts with popped out collars,butterfly ties,dress shoes and pants,Michael’s Veteran jacket,and for the scene’s in Sicily, te wardrobe is farmers like cloths including but not limited to Suspenders,clogs,wedding clothes,plaid shirts, and farmer pants.While one may say that the film’s wardrobe is nothing particularly interesting or at the very least it’s not one of the film’s strongest assets, however if one were to searching for hidden treasures within the fabrics sewn by the costume designers and the other wardrobe assistance, one would not be disappointed.Within The Godfather the colors of black and white are seen in various forms throughout the film and This continues throughout the costuming of the picture.Don,Tom,and Sonny all wear black suits in dark settings signifing the deeps with which they dwell,you can see this personified beautifully in the opening scene during the film.In contrast however Michael is wearing grey and in fact he wears grey throughout the film except during the assassination scene,any scene in Sicily where he white,or in the case of the wedding,black,and any scene after he becomes The Godfather. Michael’s grey zone status remains throughout the film as he wears significantly darker than most non-mob members.The non-mobsters are mostly just Kate and anyone at a wedding.Michael’s wardrobe weather it be black,white, or grey remains consistent with his emotional and conversally remains consistent with the multiple hats he wears throughout the film and how the audience is meant to see him.This being weather they see him as a hero in a cruel world,A villian in a world meant for him, or an outsider forced into something he truly doesn’t want.For each other character wardrobe remains consistent except for key differences.An example of this would be Don Corleone who wears black during every scene except his death scene,a scene which shows at one of the few times he’s truly at peace.


The Godfather himself Marlon Brando had done upon him one of the greatest if not at least most iconic make up jobs in Cinematic History. Don Corleone’s look is so eye catching and so memorable that him simply running his slightly closed hands across his cheeks has become a truly iconic image in film. His design commands a sense of mystery and never lose your attention.It shows Don as a man with a past one in which the audience becomes unknowingly tangled in unendingly glued to every word that escapes his mouth.Now that has a lot to do with Marlon Brando’s exquisite performance in the film,but to deny the impact that make up artist Phillip Leto and Dick Rhodes did in creating the look (with input from Coppalo) would be inane.The rest of the makeup is very good through nothing to write home about. Everyone in the film looks as they should,the blood,and any other effect look as they should for one of the greatest films in the world.


The Godfather’s main theme is one of the most poignant and sobering film scores ever to be recognizable,fitting givin’ the film’s odd standing amongst the most popular films in our pop culture.The score of course invokes classic Italian music.Composer Nino Rota works invokes the sound of a funeral and the weight and the mass of sorrow that comes with it.The Godfather’s soundtrack provides the film it’s authentic Italian scenery and also sense of importance,like any good score it ingratiates itself onto the film like a tailored suit,never too much to be removed from each scene but enough to notice and add to depths at which the actors,script,and director are pushing themselves.

Lighting/color palette

The greatest trick the The Godfather ever pulled was proving what a striking, deep, and unique lighting scheme can do for a film.In just the opening scene we are shown a into a world truly fantastical with black swirling over and ahead a haze of orange showing later to contrast with a cacophony of bright greens,pinks,and yellows in the harsh sunlight all providing a sharp and completely other wordly vision to the screen.The films lighting and color palette give the film a Grim fairlytale design or a renaissance painting . The picture formed from this coalition is something truly special.The Godfather looks sharper and clearer than most movies of its’ era ,with a more appealing look than that of film’s like Jaws or Star Wars even known it prosedes those by a few years. Cinematographer Gordon Willis uses underlit lighting and overexposure was revolutionary at the time and still has ripple effects through modern cinema.The film’s thematic strains lie in the simple binary concepts of what makes someone good or bad.In the scenes that take place in Don’s office the dark palette glows a dark black with a light orange everywhere it’s hard not see this setting as an analogy for hell and those who walk in making deals with the devil.This extends to the color of the film.The Godfather uses its’ unrealistic color palette and it’s warm colors to create a royal and fantastical style. A big reason why the The Godfather is such a popular film is because it’s a film that’s fantastical yet serious in a way that almost anyone can understand and relate to.All of this is ofcourse congruent to the script which is displays a excellent sense of scope almost unmatched by most films.


Within the plot of The Godfather there is a sprawling narrative that involves several hundreds of people,multiple countries,millions of dollars,politains,and the fate of several 100 year old standing houses of Mob families.In most other films those many elements would be impossible to concentrate in one film,in fact The Godfather sometimes feels like an multi-episode spanning television series instead of a film,but even with that sense the nearly 3 hour sit never over barring or over stuffed,but a truly epic tale being told in its entirity.The reason for this is that the movie puts you square in the head of the three brothers Sonny,Don, and Michael.The film shows the everyday lifestyle of Don and Sonny and the world around reacts which is usually by the bending of their perspective wills.The Godfather stands head and shoulders above most films by also showing core of its’ characters.Sonny feels like a real leader ready to take up the family business at the drop of a hat, Don feels like a cunning lion,waiting for his chance strike, and Michael as to weather or not he can protect his family while also remaining the same person he was before.All of this works because the script is constantly challenging the characters and splashing their true colors on the screen for the audience to ooh at.This is where the films “EPIC” tone comes from,not the events themselves,but these interesting characters intense,intelligent,and above all interesting character choices.The script also works wonders at establishing the imense importance of every action.In the first act we see an example of this in how the Corleone’s get the studio to sign cousin into a movie.The scene with the horse head in the bed is effective for multiple reasons but one of those is to establish the kind of power the Corleone family has.Scenes are dedicated to how they cops and politicians in the palms of there hands and suddenly all of its’ drawn out when Don is shot. Don’s near death experience lights the spark that lights the fire that propels the rest of the story forward.It’s also important to mention the film’s knack for never letting anything go subtly or without a major impact.This doesn’t start and stop at Don’s shooting but also Sonny shooting,the deaths at the end of the film and the beating of Connie’s husband.When transition to Michael’s perspective is also very natural.We join P.O.V’s with michael with him visiting his father in the hospital,to him trying to protect him to him taking a more proactive role in the business as he plans to shot the people who shot his family.The film does a wonderful job establishing michael new found status in the film to move from Don’s perspective to Michael’s through Michael’s action and not simply because the script demands him to be.


The Godfather use sound to it’s benefit to create an intimacy with its’ audience that most films simply don’t.The Gunshot fire were realistic and that includes everything else in the film.The film also uses music build contrast within the tone and emotion of a particular scene.Sound is wielded by the filmmakers to create vivid portraits of the life of a gangster.This is exemplified during Sonny’s death scene which brillantly uses no music and an intense use sound to become a vividly iconic scene.The Godfather doesn’t employ simple many normal sounds but that only helps add to the films fantastical tone. The Godfather also has great effect with sounds in others areas.Every shattered plate of glass,fallen piece of heavy wardrobe,and hit leaves such an impact,you feel like you’re in the same room as the event that has just taken place.The sound like everything else in the film feels like it was designed specifcally to cause as many gasps as humanly possible,and sound,importantly,is one of them.


The Godfather is not a kids film,that may be the cinematic understatement but it’s true the film posses such a gravity, such a sensationally dark tone that it might be to much for some adults.The film is seldom humor of any kind and this keeps the film from slipping,and not knowing what it wants to be these are all precise choices made by everyone behind the scenes of the film and it goes without saying that it works in spectacular fashion.


It goes without saying that the Godfather was a game changing phenomenon that completely put everything else in the Drama genre to shame.The film completely reinvented and in some sense completely invented the gangster genre.This film also skillfully uses drama in many respects which have been gone over before,but in some specific respects their are still certain untouched grounds to discuss how films are made after this one came out.On a purely aesthetic level,The Godfather’s uses of dark colors was taken up by several other films which is why so many drama’s have a dark. The Godfather also influenced the way films approuched dark characters.While other films had dark characters,The Godfather was SEEN by such a wide audience that it truly changed perspectives on who and what can be a main character.

Why is the Godfather Remembered as one of the Greatest films of all time ?

I believe the reason why the godfather is remembered is because of how it drew from our collective interest in royalty exhibited by Shakespeare and simply interesting characters made The Godfather a truly unique once in a lifetime experience that everyone at the time had find out what exactly it was. The Godfather also indulges in the idea of the gangster being a fantasy. The film does not endorse gangster life but it does give main characters a noble leg to stand on compared to other gangster’s in movies in years.Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful directing also transends most films. As mentioned before The Godfather had a unique look when compared to its’ for the time and of even a lot of modern cinema.One of the greatest things about The Godfather is that every element is individually crafted with such expert precision that even if you hate gangster films,crime dramas,and “bloodline” stories it’s still incredibly hard to deny the film is constantly cracking together a larger and larger story one that won’t let go of it’s hold on you for hours after the film is done.And that ladies and gentlemen is the mark of a great film,the mark of one of the greatest films of all time…the mark of The Godfather.Thank you for reading.

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