How the Legacy of Godfather Runs Even Today

What do Kamal Hassan’s Nayakan, Amithabh Bachan’s Sarkar or Gangs of Wasseypur have in common? They are all amongst the top rated gangster films by Indian film makers. Gangster films have always been enjoyed by audience all across the world in the previous decade and also the current decade. The euphoria created by such films amongst audience members are always greater than other genres of cinema. The Gangster film usually tends to project the inner desires of a man’s antagonism or in other words it glorifies the evil and villainous traits of the protagonist. Moreover such films usually explore the grey area of a human being more, compared to other genres of films. Though there have been many gangster films throughout the world in various languages, it is an evident truth that the historical influence of the 1972 American gangster film by Francis Boyd Coppola named “The Godfather” had the greatest traction towards the future of gangster films ever made in any part of the world. The film itself was inspired from the book of the same name written by Mario Puzo. The film dealt with the Italian Mafia in the 1940s New York City with the story revolving around the infamous Corleone family.

The Godfather initially traversed the point of view of the father, Don Corleone (immortalised by Marlon Brando) and later after his death focused on his youngest son Micheal’s bloody and ruthless ascension to power. Micheal was played by Al Pacino. The film was so great, that all the future gangster films ever released had the influence of the Godfather effect. With the film shedding light on the functioning of Italian Mafia of the 1940s, it became a touchstone for other gangster films throughout the world. The greatness of the film lies in its deep and anatomical level portrayal life of the Italian American immigrants as it actually resonated with many Italian Americans at that time. Such portrayal influenced film makers to use such techniques in their film where a specific race or people in a certain area turned out to be an important characteristic of the plot. Vito or Don Corleone was the character who delivered the infamous dialogue, “ I’ll make you an offer that you can’t refuse”. The same dialogue is the second most influential movie dialogues of all time and it is even reported to be used by actual gangsters. In a way, the future gangster films all peppered their villains with such cold, blunt yet powerful dialogues in the context such of making them legendary.

Though there are many types even in the same gangster genre, it is actually the sombre and almost stoic atmosphere of the film that has inspired the most of the future made gangster. The famous American director, Martin Scorsese has famously mentioned that not only his upcoming film “Goodfellas” but also any film produced in the same genre will inevitably have some elements from Godfather. Even with the concept of morality in the film, many people have been sympathetic towards the character Micheal Corleone who actually portrays a war hero turned Mafia boss due to the inevitable circumstances in his life. Initially, in the film we can see that he wished to lead a civilian life and was against the Mafia doing of his family. But ever since the near fatal attack on his father and the death of his brother Sonny, he takes charge against the wishes of his wife Kay and eventually turns out be a more ruthless Mafia Don compared to any other in his family. Thus, the key idea of a good civilian turning into a brute was also explored in many other future films.

There have been many adaptations of “The Godfather” in many languages. The film fraternity has also witnessed many spin-offs and many altered stories with the same concept. The hype of the movie even entered the online gaming experience and even in that arena, it had found raving success. It is not only the adroit efforts put by the cast and crew but also by the actual writer of the novel, Mario Puzo. Without whose script, the plot would not have gained such a big name amongst the audience. Thus, with its substance, style, performance and flavour, it attained the paramount station of films produced in the same genre and eventually turned to be a cult classic for the future films of the genre to follow.

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