My experience with watching the Godfather I for the first time was great but not as great as when I watched it for the second time. The first time I watched the Godfather I completely, I was in my grandparents’ house with my family and relatives in the living room. It was a Sunday afternoon and it was one of those days where we just wanted to watch a movie. While watching of course, not everyone was super concentrated. I had aunts talking to each other and almost everyone including me, kind of focused on food. So I guess the setting for watching a three hour film was just not the perfect one for me to really understand what was going on. However, with the gist of it all, I really enjoyed it. I knew it was a great film. Watching it for the second time was a better experience for me. I was a bit forced to watch it and that was fine because this gave me a chance to truly understand a great epic movie.
After watching the Godfather I in class, I felt that I knew so much about mafias. The mise-en-scene of the movie really contributed to this whole feeling. The outfit designs, the fusion of the settings of Italy and America, the time of those settings, the language and accents, and especially the role of each character were major aspects of making me believe that it was all real. The story’s drama juxtaposing the action is such an emotional craze for the viewers. What draws them to watch is the story of Italian families in a never ending battle between morals and desires; the desire for revenge and the desire for power. How each character presents him/her is so vivid that you get lost in their world. In addition, the story itself speaks of big influences and strong connections that could either lead to your supremacy or downfall or even worse, death.
No matter how compound the story was and no matter how many characters were built I still managed to really focus on one character throughout the movie who is Michael Corleone, youngest son of the Godfather, Vito Corleone. Although the story of the film talked about the life of mafias and their doings, for me, it circled around Michael Corleone’s life. Watching it for the second time and hearing my brothers talking about the movie so much, I already learned that Michael Corleone was a very important character in the movie and that was proven when I watched it again. In the beginning where it was Connie’s (youngest among the four children) wedding and Michael arrives late wearing a military uniform, I had a gut feeling that he seemed to be the “black sheep” and “apple of the Corleones’ eye” all at the same time. Wearing the military uniform already marked him different from the others wearing suits and black bow ties. As the film goes on, we begin to see that the life of a mafia wasn’t something he wanted for himself. This explains joining the military, his American girlfriend, Kay and not joining in family meetings with his father, eldest brother, Santino and consigliere, Tom Hagen. Here, I felt that he was being a good rebel because he didn’t want to get involved in tight situations that involved negotiations and killings. He seemed so quiet and soft spoken that it made me feel as if he did not have the same power like his father. But there was a transformation. And here, I saw how “apples do not fall far from the tree” and how anything to do with your family can really change you. After the assassination of Vito Corleone, this is where Michael gets involved. This is where, for me, he figured how his family was so important to him. Surprisingly, he then starts acting like a mafia, planning the next move, joining family meetings, basically sort of taking over. Slowly here, I begin to see another side of Michael, a stronger side. And although morally he was entering the dark side, I kind of liked how he seemed so in control with his intelligence. Being advised by his father, I was expecting at that moment that he would be as respected as his father. And when his father died, Michael took over even if it was dangerous and complicated. From the beginning knowing that Michael was a bit different, I wanted to follow the growth of his character waiting for him to be like the rest. And meeting my expectations, from being the black sheep, he became the king of the jungle.
I don’t know what was in the Godfather I that made me love it so much for the second time. Understanding it more made my experience so much stronger. Even if it was shot in the 70’s, I’d say that everything about it was almost perfect. The morals though may be questioned but putting that aside it doesn’t really influence the viewers to be like them. After watching, viewers were able to truly look at what happens in the inside and into their personal lives. And although they do immoral things, there’s some good in them somehow. The film did not make me want to be like a mafia. It made me fond of them.