Tuesday, September 1, 2009

BOOK VS MOVIE: The Godfather

In this new monthly feature, I will be examining the book and movie and see what's worth checking out. This week: the immortal crime classic The Godfather. And it's not going to be easy not to give away too much.

The book and movie focus on the Corleones, an Italian-American Mafia family. The leader of the family is wise and aging Vito. He has four children; arrogant and cocky Sonny; Fredo, whom everyone assumes isn't too bright; Michael, who doesn't want anything to do with his family's business; and Connie, the youngest child of Vito.
The plot of the book and movie is about a gang war between the Corleones and the other four families of New York. After turning down a deal with drug dealer Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo, Vito is gunned down. Sonny becomes head of the family with Michael helping to keep the family together, despite his wishes.

The movie, which came out three years after Mario Puzo's book was published, would later become one of the greatest movies ever made. It started the careers of several actors in the movie (or, in Marlon Brando's case, re-started), as well as Francis Ford Coppola's career as a director. Once you hear that lone trumpet playing the first notes of the opening music, you just know you're watching something ledgendary.

One notable difference between the book and the movie is the ending. In the book, Kay accepts Michael's role as the Don. However, the movie paints a different and more dreary picture. The movie's ending shows Kay's realization of what Michael had done since becoming the Don.

What's worth checking out?: Both are definitely musts for anyone.

5 comments:

  1. I'd honestly say that this is one of those rare times where the movie is actually better than the book. I think Coppola was able to take the best parts of a good book and turn them into a brilliant movie.

    I'd actually been planning to write about this for my "Ehh... The Movie is Better" feature that I do on my blog. Its been awhile since I have read the book or watched the movie though. I still might do a write up on it once I get the chance to read it again.

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  2. Agreed. Both are superb pieces of work. Godfather, the movie, certainly ranks as one of the greatest movies ever made. Godfather, the book, might not be as heavily laurelled, but is immensely popular nonetheless. The book, however, had a lot of subplot that perhaps could have been done without.

    As an aside, I loved Puzo's Sicilian, which was an extension of Micheal's stay at Sicily and focused on a legendary outlaw who Micheal must help while he's there, far more that I liked his Godfather. Give it a shot if you haven't read it already.

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  3. The film is definitely better than the book. There was quite a lot of unnecessary details given in the book which the film very adeptly left out. The music, the performances and the mood just set it apart from every other film made in the genre. I think The Godfather is literally the godfather of all mafia films. Love!

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  4. The book is better. It provides details that a movie cannot, especially as to the motivations of the characters. We learn in the book, fo example, much more about Luca Brasi than in the movie. Also, the ending is just as dreary as the movie's: Kay is resigned that Michael will go to Hell and is compelled to go to church daily to pray for his immortal soul. The real difference is that movies present well-contrived visuals that are easier to remember than the relatively dry prose in the novl.

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  5. Both are equally good in my opinion. Its like the chicken vs the egg debate. Mike is way nicer in the book hes a cold calculated kingpin in the movie. The book ends on a very high note while the movies especially pt2 ends sadly. Puzo and Ffc are legends I thank them both.

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