Mt. Carmel St. Cristina Society

The Godfather and the Image of the Mafia

Did you know...

That a choice group of Italian-American film directors - Vincente Minnelli, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Michael Cimino, Quentin Terantino, and Stanley Tucci - have had a significant impact on how we have viewed the post war world.

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit but was raised in Queens, N.Y. After attending a school of music he became fascinated with film and studied in UCLA. After film school in 1962 at the age of 23 he directed his first movie "Dementia 13" which was a horror movie. In 1966 he directed "You're a Big Boy Now" and the blockbuster "Patton" in 1970. But the big movie came in 1972 with "The Godfather." Coppola did not like the novel written by Mario Puzo and didn't want to direct the movie but Coppola needed the money! So the movie and history was made.

Many Italian-American organizations protested the book and the film which they felt degraded the image of Italians. The Italian-American Civil Rights League demanded that all references to the Mafia and Cosa Nostra be deleted! They were, but no one was fooled.

The film was a huge financial success and it helped create the image of the Mafia that persists to this day. The Godfather went on to win the Oscars for best picture, best actor, and best screen play. Coppola went on to make other films but never equaled what he achieved with The Godfather, The Godfather II in 1974, and The Godfather III in 1990.

P.S. Academy Award winner Nicholas Cage is Coppola's nephew and was helped in his early career by his famous and generous uncle!