Reviewed by: Owen Batstone
About the Ten Commandments of the Bible
Have you kept each of the Ten Commandments? Are you good enough to go to Heaven? Answer
Marlon Brando … Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino … Michael Corleone
James Caan … Santino “Sonny” Corleone
Diane Keaton … Kay Adams
Robert Duvall … Tom Hagen
Richard S. Castellano … Peter Clemenza
Sterling Hayden… Capt. McCluskey
John Marley … Jack Woltz
Richard Conte … Don Emilio Barzini
Al Lettieri … Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo
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|Director:||Francis Ford Coppola|
Francis Ford Coppola
“An offer you can’t refuse.”
This film attracts a world-wide, almost cult-like following, with its depth, design and artistic boldness that has shined from the moment of its release, right through to present day. I will review the film from a particular angle: The broad-way slide to destruction.
“The Godfather” Part I is beautifully directed and methodically scripted. The antithesis of its gentle filming approach weaved in the explosive and gripping content, is the head of the hammer that hit 70’s cinema hard.
The film exclusively follows the lives and events of the Corleone Family—a mid-twentieth century mafia clique in New York. Audiences are magnetically drawn to every aspect of their day-to-day struggles. Formed by Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), this dysfunctional family has everything the gangster genre asks for. Olive-oiled hair, Italian accents, riches, power, weapons, women, cars, catch-phrases and charisma—we see it all.
From the moment the notoriously chilling “Nino-Rota” soundtrack strikes, audiences are seduced to the screen from start to finish. The narrative takes nearly three hours to unfold, yet with its depth, desires to end are rarely heard.
The adult certificate would be laughed at by today’s standards, but we must remain theologically based, and with a significant handful of verbal profanities, two mild-sexual references, and numerous counts of often graphic murders—take heed. The mafia life always entails temporary highs and pompous riches built off a foundation of lies, deception, violence, lusts and treachery.
With their religious jewelry, rituals and recitals, these men have a “form of godliness, but deny its power thereof” 2 Timothy 3:5.
Playing god-like roles themselves, they freely take lives and break all of God’s commandments with bitterness and hatred. The mafia system has a hierarchy of human importance—with the Godfather sitting at the throne; however, in Romans 3:10 we are told,
“There is none righteous, no, not one”.
Worth noting is the slip into corruption by the lead character Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and the parallels it connotes to the Christian walk. Michael begins the film vowing to fiancée Kay Adams (Diane Keaton), that he would never join his family lifestyle. He tries to stand alone, but unarmoured, finds himself in frequent compromising situations. Christians are told to fight the battle of Christ equipped with the armour of God (Eph. 6:13), lest we slip away. Michael slowly begins to peer into the gangster world from what he feels is a safe distance, like Lot in Genesis 13:12 who, “pitched his tent towards Sodom.” This is a dangerous approach, and in this film has obvious repercussions.
Christians and seekers, we must be on guard, to avoid the whirlpool of sin and be sure to ruthlessly cut it away. As the Godfather unravels, Michael’s takes some obvious lunges into sin, and his journey becomes deeper and darker, entering a dangerous area of a silenced conscience. Christians,
“The Godfather” is fictionally entertaining—not a gentle meal to digest, but hosts relevant connotations to any living soul. It remains a definitive and interesting cinematic giant.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.