Details In The Godfather You've Probably Missed

Sep 16, 2021Ionut

We know that The Godfather is one of the most beloved movies of all time, but there are still quite a lot of people who don’t know about this amazing piece of history. We want to change that with the following list. And even if you're one that has seen the movie plenty of times, we're pretty sure that the following facts and details will surprise you.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather: Part II

It Was Supposed to Be Set in the 1970s

Here’s one decision that could have changed the whole movie, and maybe not for the best. At first, the studio wanted the film to be set in the 1970s to be closer to contemporary times. But director Francis Ford Coppola insisted on making it take place right after World War II, following the setting of Mario Puzo’s novel that the film is based on. We certainly believe it was the right choice, as in the end, it showed people an era where values and ways of life were different. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Jack Woltz’s Luxurious Mansion Wasn't Just a Set

Jack Woltz’s big luxurious house was not just a film set. It was an actual house, and it is located in the amazing Beverly Hills, California. In case you’re looking to live inside an awesome piece of movie history, the home was put on the market in 2014 for $135 million. It's a crazy price for most of us, but considering the area that it's located in, along with the legacy it represents, the price might be just right. It just needs the right buyer, as well. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Marlon Brando's Makeup Routine

Marlon Brando was only 47 years old when The Godfather was released. In order to play the role of an old man, he had to sit through a long makeup session every day. He also had to wear a custom dental fixture that made his jaw protrude and helped in the making of the character’s signature raspy voice. We assume all this routine, along with the prosthetic, weren't very comfortable for Marlon Brando, but a good actor does whatever it takes to play the best role they can. 

Image Credits: IMDb - Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

John Cazale's Legacy

John Cazale, who played the tragic Fredo Corleone in the Godfather movies, appeared only in five feature films in his entire career. And all five of them had received Oscar nominations for Best Picture. Cazale played major roles in all of these movies, and his success would have probably continued if his career didn't suddenly end. The actor is still celebrated and remembered to this day, and his amazing contribution to the Godfather movies will forever be a part of his legacy.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather Part II

Vic Damone Was Almost Johnny Fontane

The famous singer was originally cast in the role of Johnny Fontane in the movie. He gave it up afterward, bringing up as a reason his pride of being an Italian, although he later admitted that it was actually about the money. The role of the singer is much more important in the source material created by Mario Puzo.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Marlon Brando Sent a Replacement to Accept His Oscar

Marlon Brando had managed to win Best Actor at the 1973 Oscars, but he decided not to show up at the ceremony. Instead, he sent in his place the Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather. While accepting the award, she spoke about the many historical mistreatments of her own people. The actor wanted to use this opportunity to raise awareness about an issue that sat close to his heart and wanted to do something about it. He definitely raised a lot of questions at the time with his bold move. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Bettmann/Bettmann

Studio Executives Didn't Want Marlon Brando

The studio executives in charge of the movie, initially refused the idea of Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone, as the actor was considered washed up at the time. Sadly, he wasn't experiencing any distinguishable success during that period. But then Francis Ford Coppola managed to trick Marlon Brando into doing a screen test for the main character, and upon seeing it, the people in charge were quite impressed with his acting and changed their minds. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather


Every time oranges would make an appearance in the film; they foretold a grim event that was about to happen to a character. And besides that, they were also used to make such a darkly-lit movie more colorful. The production designer added the fruit in the movie for a touch of color. So, they weren't there just to symbolize the coming of a bad omen; they had a design role to play on the set as well. We bet you didn't even notice them most of the time. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Robert DeNiro Wanted to Play Sonny

Robert De Niro auditioned for the role of Sonny Corleone, but he didn't manage to get the part. The rejection turned out to be a very good thing for the actor, as he was then able to play the part of young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II. He won an Academy Award for his performance and became famous due to his successful portrayal of Vito. The actor ended up making cinema history, and many of us still connect him with the role even after all these years. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather Part II

The Words "mob" or "mafia" Were Never Used

We are aware of The Godfather's crime profile as a movie; nevertheless, the words: mob and mafia never appear in the film. Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo purposely avoided in the script the use of these words in order to avoid backlash from the Italian-American Civil Rights League. They didn't want to upset anyone or offend any citizens of the U.S. by using the controversial terms in the film.

Image Credits: IMDb - Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Dinners in the Family

In addition to always support and encourage improvisation on the set, Francis Ford Coppola held so-called character dinners for the entire cast of the movie. All the actors would enjoy a meal together and trying not to break character so they could get to know better their roles outside of the script. We can all agree that "family" dinners are a great way to bring closer to each other, and considering the end result, we can't dismiss anything from contributing to it. 

Image Credits: IMDb - Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Marlon Brandon Didn't Learn His Lines

For his famous method acting, Marlon Brandon decided not to memorize any of his lines for the movie. He felt that it would help him remain more true to the role and more present in the moment. For every scene, a member of the movie crew had to stand out of the frame close-by and hold Brando’s parts of the script on cue cards. This wasn't the first movie that he did that in, and it sometimes created funny situations due to the creative ways they had to place the cards around the set.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

The Cat Wasn't Supposed to Be There

Improvisation and unexpected events are often seen when working with professional actors, but this one fact about The Godfather is more cute than interesting, maybe. The cat in Vito Corleone's lap was not part of the movie script. The actor found a stray on the set, and as he got attached to it, he decided to incorporate the little one in the movie alongside him. The cat has become part of one of the most famous movie scenes ever, and probably it is now one of the most famous cats as well.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Frank Sinatra's Backlash

Many have wondered if the fictional character of the singer Johnny Fontane was based on a real-life entertainer. Many had speculated that he was based on the famous Frank Sinatra. There isn’t any actual proof to support this, but Frank Sinatra himself was quite angry when the movie character brought up rumors about him having connections to organized crime. He went berserk, and the singer was quite unhappy with the event, which we believe that it was a bit of an exaggeration. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

An Authentic Wedding

Director Francis Ford Coppola wanted as much authenticity as he can get in the opening wedding scene. That’s why he kind of threw an actual wedding party. There was not much planning involved or specific shots. He just moved around with the camera during a two-day celebration featuring all the actors so he can get the most genuine and believable footage possible. 

Image Credits: IMDb - Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Marlon Brando Was a Prankster

Who doesn't love a funny guy? Especially when he is Marlon Brando himself. The famous actor was known for devising all kinds of pranks on the set of the movie. The most notable one is when he made some personal adjustments to a scene where Al Pacino had to carry him in a hospital bed. He secretly placed a couple of weights under his, already not so lightweight, bed frame to make Pacino's job even more difficult than it already was. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Luca Brazi's Nervous Acting Wasn't Acting

Actor Lenny Montana, who portrayed the enforcer Luca Brazi, didn’t actually have much acting experience when the movie was shot. So, when he nervously messed-up some lines when meeting with Don Corleone, Director Francis Ford Coppola kept them in, as he realized that it looked quite realistic to be nervous when in front of such a powerful man.

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Sofia Coppola Cameo

It's true that Talia Shire, who portrayed Connie Corleone, was Francis Ford Coppola’s sister. And she’s not the only Coppola family member who appears in the film. Future acclaimed director Sofia Coppola made an appearance as Michael Rizzi during a scene when she was only a baby. This was probably her first appearance on the big screen ever. 

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

Al Pacino Was Almost Passed Over

Marlon Brando wasn't the first almost mistake of the studio executives. At first, they didn’t think Al Pacino was right for the role of Michael Corleone. Paramount wanted someone else and pushed for actors like Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, among others, to be considered for the role. We know all those actors are great, but can anyone really imagine The Godfather without Al Pacino?

Image Credits: Paramount Pictures/The Godfather

We're sure that now you're going to rewatch this masterpiece with different eyes. The insight knowledge surrounding the movie sheds light on a lot of aspects that made the movie great and opens up the conversation on some choices of the people involved. Let us know what you think in the comments, and please check our website for more interesting content like this!

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