Rarely can it be said that a film has defined a genre, but never is that more true than in the case of The Godfather. Since the release of the 1972 epic (which garnered ten Academy Award nominations and was named Best Picture), all "gangster movies" have been judged by the standards of this one (unfair as the comparison may be). If a film is about Jewish mobsters, it's a "Jewish Godfather"; if it's about the Chinese underworld, it's an "Oriental Godfather"; if it takes place in contemporary times, it's a "modern day Godfather."
If The Godfather was only about gun-toting Mafia types, it would never have garnered as many accolades. The characteristic that sets this film apart from so many of its predecessors and successors is its ability to weave the often-disparate layers of story into a cohesive whole. Any of the individual issues explored by The Godfather are strong enough to form the foundation of a movie. Here, however, bolstered by so many complimentary themes, each is given added resonance. The picture is a series of mini-climaxes, all building to the devastating, definitive conclusion.
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