!!For the movies and novel:

* AdaptationDisplacement: The original novel by Mario Puzo is less well-known than the films. The way that the films are titled "Mario Puzo's The Godfather" were actually an attempt by director Francis Ford Coppola to avoid this.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: There's a [[http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=205771 fairly]] [[https://www.quora.com/The-Godfather-Part-II-1974-movie/Why-did-Michael-send-Rocco-not-just-a-button-man-to-kill-Roth popular]] [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071562/board/nest/243011708 fan theory]] that Rocco was involved in Roth's plot against Michael in ''Part II''. While there's little textual evidence for it, it would explain Rocco's failure to foil the assassination attempt or to bring the shooters in alive, and why Michael sends him on a suicide mission to kill Roth later in the film.
** When [[spoiler: Fredo]] is about to be assassinated, he is heard saying hail marys. Earlier in the film, he relates a story about how he said hail-marys while on a fishing trip and caught more fish than his brothers or his father and that he has continued the tradition ever since. It's possible he was saying them for the fish and had no idea he was about to be killed. The other option is that he knew what was in store for him and was praying before his death.
* AwardSnub:
** This might seem churlish in light of the fact the first two movies each won Best Picture and numerous other Oscars besides (though Coppola lost Best Director for the first one to [[{{Cabaret}} Bob Fosse]], he won for the second one), but amazingly enough, Gordon Willis' seminal camerawork in the first two movies wasn't even ''nominated.'' Think about that.
** Al Pacino's performances as Michael Corleone in Parts I and II (especially the latter) are considered to be among the best performances in film history. Yet, he received no Oscar for either one. He was even nominated in the wrong category (as Supporting Actor) for Part I when he was obviously the main character.
** A more jarring example: ''three'' actors from the first movie were nominated for Best Supporting Actor. They all lost.(Though to a well deserved winner, Joel Grey for 'Film/Cabaret'.)
** Additionally, three actors were nominated for Part II, but John Cazale wasn't among them, even with Fredo taking on an emotional crux in the latter portions of the film. Cazale deserves special mention: during his sadly short lifetime he appeared in five movies, all of which were at least nominated for Best Picture (he also appeared in StockFootage for a flashback scene in Part III, which was also nominated). No other actor can claim every role he made was in a Best Picture nominee.
* BadassDecay:
** When Sollozzo [[spoiler:has Tom held captive]], he says that [[spoiler:Vito and Luca]] would never have fallen for the ploys used if it were years earlier, trying to suggest that they've gotten soft.
** [[InUniverse In the book only]], we are [[InformedAbility Informed]] that Fredo was a tough guy who just took his eye off the ball during the attempted assassination of Vito and decayed after running the Family business in Vegas for a long time. None of this shows up in the movies, where he comes across as an incompetent boob. Given that Fredo's toughness was certainly an informed ability, [[PragmaticAdaptation perhaps that was for the best]].
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment:
** There was a quite lengthy subplot in the original novel about one of Sonny's mistresses who went out to Hollywood, became friends with Johnny Fontane, and eventually fell in love with a plastic surgeon who [[{{Narm}} performed reconstructive surgery on her vagina]] and then married her. Francis Ford Coppola later said he was so disturbed by this portion of the book that it almost put him off filming it. ''Part III'' ignores this entirely by introducing Vincent, who is the same mistress's son (the book makes a point of saying Sonny never knocked her up before he was killed).
** This subplot tied into a bizarre string of borderline poetic passages going to great lengths to romanticize Sonny having an abnormally large penis (to go with his girlfriend's abnormally large vagina), with other characters making cracks like "Sonny's cock is so large prostitutes charge him double!" and "Sonny's cock is so large his wife's glad he's having affairs!" Understandably, this was cut from the film as well. (Although, in the background of the wedding scene, you can see an allusion being made to it...)
** The Superman scene in ''Part II'', for similar reasons, though it at least ties in with the plot.
* ContestedSequel: ''The Godfather Part III''. Opinions range from "absolutely terrible" to "not terrible, but not as good in comparison to the two masterpieces that preceded it". Some people contend that ''Part III'' would be a great movie, if not for Sofia Coppola's performance(though in all fairness she was a last-minute replacement for WinonaRyder) as Michael's daughter. It would have also been nice to have Robert Duvall back as Tom Hagen. There are some who consider it just as good as the first 2; [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKda5wqspOA this video essay]] makes an argument for how the third film works if seen as the epilogue to the first two, as Coppola and Puzo originally intended.
* DoNotDoThisCoolThing: As long as you don't look too closely, the mob life looks ''very attractive'' when you can live it like Michael and Fredo and the rest. Even all the shady stuff - killings, fights, wife abuse, prostitution, drugs, animal cruelty, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking double parking]] - seem so appealing.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Luca Brasi is only in the first film for a few minutes, and has less than five minutes of screentime. He's also very popular, and in the first video game, was featured prominently as a sort of mentor. Al Neri is also popular despite saying virtually nothing in the first two films.
* EvenBetterSequel: This series has what most critics consider to be the Most Triumphant Example; ''Part II'' vs. the original.
* EvilIsCool:
** Don Vito is such a cool character that many real-life mobsters changed their methods of operations after the film came out to emulate his [[NobleDemon code of honour.]] His origin story in ''Part II'' is just one CrowningMomentOfAwesome after another, culminating in his murder of [[spoiler:Don Ciccio]].
-->''[[PreMortemOneLiner My name is Vito Andolini, and this is for you!]]''
** Michael Corleone fits this trope every bit as well as his father, as demonstrated when [[spoiler:he has his troops wipe out the heads of all the Five Families during the church ceremony near the end of ''Part I'' while [[ChurchgoingVillain he himself promises to renounce the Devil and his works]] and becomes a literal godfather to his nephew]]. Or just listen to this quote from ''Part II'':
-->''If there's one thing that's certain in this world, if there's one thing history has taught us, it is that you can kill anybody.''
* FanonDiscontinuity: The first and second films are regarded as some of the best films ever created. The third one, on the other hand... see ContestedSequel above.
* FandomRivalry: This movie's fandom has one with Film/TheDarkKnight's, and now, Film/TheShawshankRedemption's, over which movie deserves to be #1 on IMDB's Top 250 movies of all time list, see Shawshank's YMMV page for full details.
* FightSceneFailure: When Sonny beats down Carlo, one of his punches very obviously misses by a mile, but comes with an impact sound effect and reaction. Ironically, James Caan really did injure Gianni Russo during the filming of this scene.
* FranchiseOriginalSin: Much of what critics attacked with ''Part III'' was already present in ''Part II''. Long-lost Corleone family friends emerging from nowhere (Don Altobello)? Hello, Hyman Roth and Frank Pentangeli! Historical background woven into the main plot (the Vatican Bank scandal)? Remember Michael testifying before the Kefauver Committee and visiting pre-revolutionary Havana? And Coppola's casting family members goes back to the original: Talia Shire, his sister, played Connie in all three films.
* GeniusBonus: The establishing shot of the meeting between Vito and the heads of the other five families shows that it is being held in the Federal Reserve.
* GenreTurningPoint: This was one of the most groundbreaking and important movies in American history:
** Until ''Film/TheGodfather'', gangster pictures and crime movies were seen as disposable genre movies, and famous stars who started their careers in popular gangster films such as Creator/HumphreyBogart and Creator/JamesCagney won critical acclaim, in their day and age, for their non-genre performances[[note]]James Cagney for instance won his only Oscar for the musical biopic ''Film/YankeeDoodleDandy'', Bogart who started playing gangsters, then played detectives in many FilmNoir, eventually won an Oscar for ''Film/TheAfricanQueen'' where he played an ordinary seaman[[/note]]. Yet after Coppola's film, an instant-classic and commercial powerhouse, gangster movies and crime dramas was raised in profile and esteem and started getting bigger budgets and more elaborate production design than ever before.
** It also did this for Italian-American and ethnic Americans in general. Before Film/TheGodfather, Italian-Americans were usually considered FunnyForeigners in Hollywood movies and the general look of Hollywood was fairly [=WASPy=]. While films feature Italian-Americans and other hyphenated immigrant Americans did exist before, it was usually seen as a niche film. Film/TheGodfather brought the immigrant experience to the mainstream, and its critical, sympathetic and down-to-earth portrayal of Italian Americans, while ironically catering to TheMafia stereotype, broke all the cliches with American audiences identifying with Michael Corleone to the same extent they once identified with [[Film/GoneWithTheWind Scarlett O'Hara]].
* HilariousInHindsight: Bank robber John Wojtowicz had seen the film the same day as his famous hostage situation, and said it was an inspiration for some of his tactics. Al Pacino would go on to play him in the film adaptation of the event, ''Film/DogDayAfternoon'', with John Cazale as his accomplice.
* HypeBacklash: Because so many people consider it to be '''the''' greatest movie of all time, it's inevitable that some people will walk away from it wondering what the big deal is. Though considering how it retains popularity with each new generation, it is slightly averted, and ''The Godfather'' is one of the few old movies that is regularly seen by new audiences.
* ItWasHisSled: It is basically impossible to watch this movie without already knowing some of the major plot twists, due to PopculturalOsmosis and MemeticMutation. In fact, if you are on this website, reading these words, ''it is already too late''.
* MagnificentBastard:
** Vito. Michael flirts with it but lacks the raw charisma to truly clinch the deal.
** Hyman Roth almost took down Michael and the Corleone family while dying from heart disease.
** Likewise, Barzini sets in motion all the turmoil the Corleones face, gets the access to the political muscle the Corleones had that we wanted, chips away at their territory and convinces several of their associates to turn. And even Don Vito doesn't realize it's him until more than half through the film. It's only when he tries to put them away for good does he overreach himself.
* MemeticMutation: Many phrases and mafia tropes originate from these movies, to the point that people who haven't seen the movie don't even realize that they're referencing a specific movie. Some examples:
** The line "an offer he can't refuse," as well as "the day of my daughter's wedding", "may your first child be a masculine child," and "leave the gun. Take the cannoli" have become so common many don't even realize they're referencing a movie.
** The horse's head scene is ripe for parody.
** The first known use of the phrase "badabing!", and many more.
** Part II has the "I don't want to know you or what you do" speech.
** Michael giving Fredo the KissOfDeath, as well as "I knew it was you, you broke my heart" is universally parodied.
** Willie Cicci's "The Family had a lot of buffers!" is frequently applied to real-life business or political scandals.
** From the third movie, "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."
* MisaimedFandom:
** More than a few people have, when discussing the film, referred to Michael as the ultimate Bad Ass. Smart, powerful, decisive, etc. That is not the point of his character arc. His story is a tragedy. Real-life mobsters are huge fans of the trilogy.
** Series/KeyAndPeele noted that the film is very popular with black and Latino audiences, despite the fact that Sicilian gangsters have a reputation for being extremely racist. In fact, several scenes (from Sonny and Pentangeli using ethnic slurs to the Mob commission calling blacks "animals") make it clear the mobsters hold African-Americans in very low regard.
* MoralEventHorizon:
** It's kinda hard to place one in a movie where TheMafia is involved, but [[spoiler:what happens to that poor horse in ''Part I'' is unforgettably horrific...]] and it's done by the respective ''good guys''. [[spoiler:It's almost forgivable [[KickTheSonOfABitch because the horse's owner, Woltz, is revealed as a pedophile using his position as film producer to seduce young women and sexually molesting a twelve-year-old girl during Tom Hagen's visit.]]]]
** ''Part II'''s MoralEventHorizon is much clearer [[spoiler:where Michael has his own brother Fredo killed for unwittingly betraying Michael to Hyman Roth. Even when it's become obvious that there was no need for the killing.]] It's so painful that ''Part III'' [[spoiler:can be viewed as Michael's attempt to [[TheAtoner atone]] for the sin of fratricide by seeking salvation allying with the Catholic Church.]]
*** For some it's even earlier than that when he has [[spoiler: [[BadBoss one of his own prostitutes killed]] just to have some dirt on a {{Jerkass}} Senator]]. Up until that point the Corleone family only targeted gangsters or other combatants, and generally tried to avoid violence, especially against civilians.

** In the same film, Kay deliberately crosses this in Michael's eyes by [[spoiler: aborting his to-be son]], to ensure he couldn't forgive her and wouldn't stop her from leaving him. It's pretty ballsy considering what he's had done to people that cross him - possibly, the only reason he left her alone was his traditional values forbidding him from hurting his family.
*** In the Winegardner sequels, Kay [[spoiler: upbraids Michael for killing the family physician Jules Segal (who is absent from the films but a supporting character in Puzo's novel) simply because Michael ''thought'' Segal was the one who performed the abortion]].

** Carlo viciously beating Connie [[spoiler:in order to draw Sonny out and have him killed.]] Followed by Mike [[spoiler:openly lying about sparing Carlo for info on his enemies only to have him brutally strangled mere minutes later. Did Carlo deserve it? Yes. But the lie, combined with becoming Carlo's son's godfather ''that day'' and neglecting how it would wreck Connie's life, shows how ruthless Michael has become. It's topped off by lying straight to his own wife's face about it.]]
* NeverLiveItDown: The notion that Frank Sinatra used the mob to get his role in ''Film/FromHereToEternity'' (that he got his UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for) is not based on any evidence from RealLife, but this book and movie. Incidentally Sinatra claimed he would have played Vito had Coppola asked him, and was originally cast as Don Altobello (who was later played by the man Sinatra replaced in ''Eternity'', Eli Wallach).
* NightmareFuel: [[NightmareFuel/TheGodfather Has its own page]]
* OneSceneWonder: Moe Greene has precisely two scenes (one consisting of him [[spoiler: being shot in the eye]]) yet manages to be among the first film's most memorable characters.
* OutOfTheGhetto:
** This was the first gangster movie to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It also ranks among the very few crime dramas to ever win the top award: ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'' won the year before, ''Film/TheSting'' won shortly after, ''The Godfather Part II'' won later, and after that one had to wait until ''Film/TheSilenceOfTheLambs'' and most recently ''Film/TheDeparted'' before a crime movie was considered "worthy" of the award.
** Likewise, Creator/MarlonBrando became the first actor to win an Oscar (albeit his second one) for starring in a genre film (at least it was considered as such before release). And its also the only franchise in film history to win two best picture awards.
* ParanoiaFuel: Woltz has this realisation in the novel after that (in)famous scene, recognizing that if The Mafia could sneak onto his grounds and do the deed they did... In the sequel novels written by Mark Winegardner, when Tom Hagen is obligated to pay Woltz a visit several years later, he finds that much of the tasteful statuary and landscaping on the property have been removed and replaced in favor of greater visibility and security, giving the house a stark, almost fortress-like feel.
** The sheer amount of people that betray the Corleones is staggering: [[spoiler: Paulie, Fabrizio, Carlo, Tessio, Fredo, Hyman Roth, Pentangeli, Willi Cicci, and Don Altabello]] to name a few. It breeds so much mistrust in Michael that by the end of Part II, Michael trusts no one and it's kind of hard to blame him.
* ReplacementScrappy: B.J. Harrison in ''Part III''. Besides being a stand-in for Tom Hagen, he [[FlatCharacter doesn't have a discernible personality of his own]] beyond "officious lawyer."
** Frankie Pentangeli in ''Part II'' is a notable aversion. Despite being a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute for Clemenza, he's a distinct, engaging character in his own right and well-liked by franchise fans.
* RetroactiveRecognition: The singer at the New Years Eve party in Part II is Ivonne Coll, now well known as Alba in ''Series/JaneTheVirgin''. Also, a very early but noticeable bit part for Danny Aiello.
* TheScrappy:
** Fredo is this to a lot of fans for being such a weak, incompetent, pathetic character, and his betrayal in the second movie doesn't help.
** Mary Corleone. Sofia Coppola's performance as Mary in the third film is hated by nearly all. Compounding the issue is the apparent nepotism of her casting. She was actually cast only because Winona Ryder backed out at the last minute and there was no time to get another actress. [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap Sofia fared MUCH better as a film director]].
* {{Sequelitis}}: [[EvenBetterSequel Averted with the second]], but played straight with the third. Coppola felt the Coreleone saga was finished with the second and only made the movie [[MoneyDearBoy due to financial issues]], hence the movie coming out sixteen years after the last film. As opposed to the universally beloved originals, the third's reception is... [[ContestedSequel mixed]], to say the least.
* TheWoobie: Fredo. Oh, Fredo.
** In the first film at least he's clearly one in-universe as well. When he filled in for Paulie as Vito's bodyguard the two assassins completely ignore him even though he's armed (for a second until he pathetically fumbles the gun). Under the "rules" he was not a civilian and they'd have been perfectly justified in shooting him. However while killing Vito was business, killing Fredo would've likely been seen as murdering a helpless innocent man and would've been unforgivable making the business hit on Vito pointless.

----
!!For the games:

* AntiClimaxBoss: While bosses may wear body armour and wield heavy firepower, a single BoomHeadshot will end them every time.
* DemonicSpiders: Damn Tommy gun and shotgun mobsters will tear you a new one for a lot of the game if you're not careful.
* DisownedAdaptation: Francis Ford Coppola did not approve of the game, accusing its makers of profiteering off of his work.
* ItsEasySoItSucks: A charge often leveled at the sequel. Players often didn't bother with the "hunting the rival family's made men" sidequests because the benefit was negligible when it came time to take down the family compound. EliteMooks, up to and almost including the family Don, were almost indistinguishable from ordinary buttonmen.
* MomentOfAwesome: The cinematic of getting promoted to Don of the Corleones in the first game. That epic KubrickStare, that epic variation on the Godfather theme...it can send ''chills'' down a man's spine! [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zexcWVUwZdo See for yourselves.]]
* NoProblemWithLicensedGames: Neither will win awards, but they are still solid and fun sandbox games.
* PlayerPunch: It seems like nearly everyone you know ends up getting killed by other mobsters, or betraying you and then getting killed by you. [[spoiler:Luca Brasi, Paulie Gatto, Frankie, Sonny, Monk, Tessio, and Jaggy Jovino (and Sergeant Ferreira in the Wii version)]]. YMMV because you never see these characters outside of missions anyway, so it's hard to get attached to them. Still, you gotta give the game some credit for trying.