YMMV: The Godfather

For the movies and novel:

  • Adaptation Displacement: 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.
  • Award Snub: 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 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.
      • To Joel Grey for Cabaret, though.
    • 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 Stock Footage 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.
  • Badass Decay: When Sollozzo has Tom held captive, he says that Vito and Luca would never have fallen for the ploys used if it were years earlier, trying to suggest that they've gotten soft.
    • In the book only, we are 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, perhaps that was for the best.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: 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 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...)
  • Contested Sequel: 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 the comically bad performance of Sofia Coppola 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; 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.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The Theme.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: 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 double parking - seem so appealing.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: 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.
  • Even Better Sequel: This series has what most critics consider to be the Most Triumphant Example; Part II vs. the original.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The first and second films are regarded as some of the best films ever created. The third one, on the other hand... see Contested Sequel above.
  • Fight Scene Failure: 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.
  • Genius Bonus: 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.
  • Hype Backlash: 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.
  • It Was His Sled: It is basically impossible to watch this movie without already knowing some of the major plot twists, due to Popcultural Osmosis and Memetic Mutation. In fact, if you are on this website, reading these words, it is already too late.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • 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.
  • Memetic Mutation: 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 foist 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 Kiss of Death, as well as "I knew it was you, you broke my heart" is universally parodied.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Italian-Americans as a whole adore the movies.
  • Misaimed Fandom: 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.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • It's kinda hard to place one in a movie where The Mafia is involved, but what happens to that poor horse in Part I is unforgettably horrific... and it's done by the respective good guys. It's almost forgivable 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 Moral Event Horizon is much clearer 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 can be viewed as Michael's attempt to atone for the sin of fratricide by seeking salvation allying with the Catholic Church.
      • Fredo, though, at least had done something to deserve it. The starkest illustration of the moral emptiness at the heart of Michael's pretensions of family, is the casual murder of the prostitute to frame Senator Geary. She just happened to be the girl with him that night and her death was good for business.
    • Carlo viciously beating Connie in order to draw Sonny out and have him killed.
      • Followed by Mike 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.
  • Never Live It Down: The notion that Frank Sinatra used the mob to get his role in From Here to Eternity (that he got his Academy Award for) is not based on any evidence from Real Life, 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).
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page
  • Paranoia Fuel: 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: 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.
  • The Scrappy:
    • 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. Sofia fared MUCH better as a film director.
  • Sequelitis: 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 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... mixed, to say the least.
  • The Woobie: Fredo. Oh, Fredo. Though prior to his Moral Event Horizon (See above). After this, he is more a Jerkass Woobie.


For the games:

  • Anti-Climax Boss: While bosses may wear body armour and wield heavy firepower, a single Boom, Headshot will end them every time.
  • Demonic Spiders: Damn Tommy gun and shotgun mobsters will tear you a new one for a lot of the game if you're not careful.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Francis Ford Coppola did not approve of the game, accusing its makers of profiteering off of his work.
  • It's Easy, so It Sucks: 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. Elite Mooks, up to and almost including the family Don, were almost indistinguishable from ordinary buttonmen.
  • Moment Of Awesome: The cinematic of getting promoted to Don of the Corleones in the first game. That epic Kubrick Stare, that epic variation on the Godfather theme...it can send chills down a man's spine! See for yourselves.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Neither will win awards, but they are still solid and fun sandbox games.
  • Player Punch: It seems like nearly everyone you know ends up getting killed by other mobsters, or betraying you and then getting killed by you. 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.