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Overview of The Godfather Movies
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Today we're taking a look at one of the most
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Overview of The Godfather Movies
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Hi, I'm Jamal Andress for About.com and today we're taking a look at one of the most iconic film franchises ever: The Godfather.

Overview of The Godfather

The Godfather series follows the fictional Corleone family -- one of the Five Families that run organized crime in New York City. The series is based on the novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo and all three films were directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Basics About The Godfather

The first film was released in 1972 and stars Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as his son Michael Corleone in the 1940's. The film opens with the wedding of Don Corleone's daughter.

Later in the film, Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo, a drug baron, wants the Godfather's protection and investment which he refuses. Angered, The Turk has a hit put on the Don that puts him in the hospital. In revenge, Michael assassinates The Turk and flees to Sicily. Michael's older brother Sonny takes control of the family but is himself assassinated. Michael returns to America and leads the family. He attempts to make peace between the Five Families, but it is not possible and Michael orders hits on the heads of the other families.

The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II was released in 1974 and jumps ahead in the story of the Corleone family to 1958. Michael goes to Florida after an assassination attempt to meet with the gangster Hyman Roth. While meeting with Roth, Michael discovers his brother Fredo was behind the hit but will not kill him while their mother is alive. Their mother dies soon afterwards and Michael has everyone involved in the attempt, including Fredo, killed.

Part II has a dual storyline. Mixed in with the main story of Michael is the story of how a young Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro, came to the U.S. from Sicily and how he established one of the most powerful crime families in the country.

The Godfather Part III

Sixteen years after Part II, Coppola released The Godfather Part III in 1990. The film is set in 1979 where a now near 60 Michael Corleone has pretty much left the crime family and feels guilty for his violent rise to power and his trying to atone for it. Michael's illegitimate nephew, Vincent, played by Andy Garcia, is a member of the family and gets into a fight with the enforcer running the Corleones' crime activities and has an attempt made on his life.

Michael has begun buying up enough stock in a massive real estate company to become the largest shareholder, even trying to gain the Vatican's 25 percent stake by paying off $600 million in Vatican debt. After an attempt on Michael's life, Vincent organizes a hit on the Corleone enforcer and Michael later discovers the real estate deal is an attempt to swindle him out of his money. Michael makes Vincent the new Don and Vincent orchestrates a hit to take out everyone involved in trying to kill Michael. The film ends with Michael dying alone of old age in Sicily.

Legacy & Awards of The Godfather

The Godfather series is held in very high regard critically. The first film is often included among the best films of all time. The entire series garnered a total of nine Academy Awards out of 29 nominations. All three were nominated for Best Picture, the first and second both winning -- becoming the first time a film and its sequel both won the award. Marlon Brando won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the first film and Al Pacino was nominated for the same for the second. Robert De Niro won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the second film. And Francis Ford Coppola was nominated for Best Director for all three, winning for Part II.



And that's a look at the Godfather series. For more information, be sure to check out About.com.
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