The Godfather Trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is regarded as a classic cinematic masterpiece by film critics all over the world. The first film of the series was released in the year 1972 and is regarded as the best of the entire trilogy. The next two films were released because of the huge success of the first part and are considered equally important by film critics.
Based on Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”, the trilogy traces the rise of the Italian family, the Corleones, in America. The Godfather Trilogy, other than providing entertainment value, imparts values that cannot be overlooked. Amidst all the crime and wrongdoings that the Corleones are a part of, they hold close their family and are true to their word.
Importance of Family
Family plays a pivotal role in The Godfather Trilogy. Devout fans of the trilogy would be well acquainted with the famous quote by Vito Corleone, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Business, according to the Corleones, is not to be discussed with those outside the family. Vito and his successor, Michael Corleone, both, go to dangerous heights to protect their family from harm. Vito and Michael both show similar traits when it comes to protecting their loved ones. They seek vengeance every time peace and order within their family is disrupted.
Importance of Family lineage
For the Corleones, their family lineage is of utmost importance. Time and again, Vito Corleone speaks of his distaste for non-Sicilians. He truly believes the Sicilian men to be true Italians and superior to the other races. Vito Corleone is a man who is proud of his roots and believes all Sicilians to be truly devoted to their families. Throughout the Trilogy, Coppola uses numerous shots where the entire Corleone family is together, singing and dancing with joy. The Godfather Trilogy celebrates the rich and diverse culture of Italians. To be honest, The Trilogy instills in me pride, for I am proud of where I come from. Are you?
Realizing the American Dream
The Godfather Trilogy is an outstanding tale of how a poor Italian man realizes the American dream of power, wealth, and fame. The second part of the Trilogy traces Vito Corleone’s journey from a young boy in Sicily to becoming a local Mafia don. The Godfather II appealed to both, Italian and American audiences reminding them of their ancestral roots and their long struggle for success. For the audiences, an emotional connect was formed as Vito Corleone transformed his life from ruins to riches. The rise and eventual fall of both Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone are suggestive of what power and success do to people.
Division of spheres with respect to gender
Apart from the above mentioned themes, The Godfather Trilogy assigns specific roles to men and women. The men of the Corleone family are seen shutting the women at numerous occasions as they think women to be incapable of handling important things like business. Men handle the family business and the women are limited to the domestic sphere. In the Godfather Part II, when Kay approaches Michael to ask about his involvement in Fredo’s death, she is asked to stay out of it. Doors serve as a weapon of powerful imagery throughout the trilogy as they signify the division of spheres with respect to men and women.
Violence and Death
The Trilogy is incomplete without violence. Could you ever forget the iconic severed horse head scene in The Godfather? You wake up to find a severed horse head at the foot of your bed and are covered in blood. What could be more horrific? What is most interesting is that none of the murder scenes in Coppola’s Trilogy are rushed. Coppola makes us look closely at the suffering and pain that these characters endure during their death. Death casts a constant shadow on all the characters at all times. Vito Corleone dies in his family orchard while playing with his grandchild. His death is similar to his life most of which he spent surrounded by his family, guarding them and his legacy. Michael Corleone, though loved his family, ended up alone in the end. His death whilst sitting in a chair and then, falling off dramatically, signifies the kind of life he unconsciously chose for himself, as a consequence of his actions.
The Godfather Trilogy is a part of our lives because the morals that the Corleones’ believed in are essential in our lives. Our family is what defines us; they shape our understanding of the world. We might want to escape them at times but, do we really want to? The Godfather Trilogy makes us look into our souls and teaches us, above all, to respect, love, and value our family.