The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola – Movie Analysis

Movie Analysis - The Godfather
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The Godfather in brief

Story&Drama analyzes and comments for you The Godfather, a 2h56 feature-length film by Francis Ford Coppola, released in 1972, whose 120 page script written by Coppola and Mario Puzo adapts the 1969 best-selling novel by Puzo.

  • Title: The Godfather
  • Year of release : 1972
  • Scriptwriters: Mario Puzo et Francis Ford Coppola
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Genre: gangsters, drama, family epic, tragedy, romance
  • Sequences: 15
  • Plots: 27
  • Characters playing at least 2 actantial roles: 15
  • Total of actantial roles: around 100
  • Character playing most roles : the 8 most important characters (Michael, Vito, Barzini, Tattaglia, Sollozzo, Hagen, Clemenza and Sonny) cumulate 61 roles, half of the total number of actantial roles

One of the most critical and commercial successes of all time in cinema, The Godfather showcases the talents of actors such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton and mixes a variety of different genres: gangster story, drama, family epic, tragedy, with elements of period drama, action movie, and romance.

The Godfather tells the dynastic transition from around 1945 to around 1955 amongst the Corleon, a family of Italian gangsters who are part of a cartel  who oversee a series of illegal activities in New York City. The story opens with the reign of the aging patriarch Vito Corleone, then tells the fight of the Corleone clan against the alliance Sollozzo/Tattaglia/Barzini. It focuses in on the reign of Vito’s younger son Michael who sits at the periphery but finds himself thrust to the head of the family business when his father is shot.

The Godfather tells its story with near perfect virtuosity:

  • A complex and intricate narrative composition
  • Unforgettable, endearing and charismatic, contrasted and deep main characters
  • A seizing hyper-density of highlights and emotionally strong moments,
  • A quasi permanent suspense
  • Some genius theatrical strikes
  • A masterful concealment of essential information
  • A huge quantity of drama and narration special effects

Our analysis offers you to learn from the scene by scene study of the movie, which allows to see the deep structures, to get inspired from the technical mastership of highly-skilled scriptwriters.

Our analysis provides you:

  • A detailed and commented summary of the movie, scene by scene, listing all the remarkable narrative and dramatic effects.
  • A detailed commentary about the plots.
  • A commentary about the characters and their actantial and thematic roles.
  • A study of the story parameters: timeduration, timelines, places
  • A study of the themes related to the characters and storylines.
  • A study of genres, registers and colours used.
  • A study of focusing and views.

Learn to write movie scripts from the best scriptwriters.

Table of Contents


Full scene by scene summary and commentary

Synthesis – plots, characters and story settings

General conclusion

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