What’s the Big Deal About The Godfather?

The problem with the Godfather, for first-time viewers, anyway, is that it can't possibly live up to the hype it has generated in the past four decades.

"After having been told all your life how great The Godfather is, it’s unlikely that you’ll come away from your first viewing of it thinking, “Why, yes, that IS the greatest movie of all time!” It suffers from Citizen Kane Syndrome, in that it can’t possibly live up to the expectations created by being placed atop so many lists for so many years," writes Film.com.

"... If someone compels you to make a list of the best movies ever made, well, something has to be at the top, so you probably go with one of the usual choices: Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Casablanca, etc. I doubt anyone, gun to his head, could honestly declare that ANY one movie is the greatest of all time. If you’re being reasonable, you’d list five or six candidates and insist it’s impossible to rank them.

"So never mind the whole 'best movie ever made' thing with The Godfather. It gets that designation because it’s more modern than Citizen Kane, and people got tired of always saying Citizen Kane. The Godfather is a terrific movie, sure. The glowing contemporary reviews, massive box office, and numerous awards are indicators of that.

"But what makes it a Big Deal is its enduring impact: how it offered a new perspective on an old genre, how it provided an indelible image of an American subculture, and how its tone of moral ambiguity reflected the changing values of society. And, not for nothin’, how it provided so many useful catchphrases."