Did you know that...
In Francis Ford Coppola's acclaimed Best Picture winner The Godfather (1972), the word "Mafia" is never used because the real Mafia did not allow it.
Written by Mario Puzo based on his own best-selling novel of the same name, The Godfather chronicles ten years in the life of a fictional New York crime family. Academy Award winner Marlon Brando played the patriarch, Vito Corleone, while Al Pacino co-starred as his younger son Michael, who goes from being a reluctant family outsider to a ruthless mafia boss. The cast also included James Caan, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, Sterling Hayden and Richard Conte. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, The Godfather was a massive critical and commercial success, eventually becoming the highest-grossing film of 1972. It won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay, receiving additional nominations for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Pacino, Caan and Duvall).
|Al Pacino and Marlon Brando in The Godfather. Brando was only 16 years older than Pacino.|
Due to its subject matter, The Godfather originally faced great opposition from Italian-Americans to filming on location in New York. In addition, the Italian-American Civil Rights League, recently created by real-life mobster and Joe Colombo, "cast a weary eye over the script." The league, whose goal was to combat pejorative stereotypes about Italian-Americans, demanded that all mentions of "Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra" be removed from the dialogue. Colombo also requested that all the profits earned on the film's opening night be donated to the league's fund to build a new hospital. According to Coppola, Puzo's screenplay only contained two instances of the word "Mafia" being used and there was no reference whatsoever to "Cosa Nostra." After those two used were deleted and replaced with other terms, the league gave its support of the film.
"25 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About The Godfather" | "They're Having a Ball Making 'Godfather'" by Jerry Parker for The Toledo Blade (1971)