The Godfather (1972)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Spanning the years 1945 to 1955, a chronicle of the fictional Italian-American Corleone crime family. When organized crime family patriarch, Vito Corleone barely survives an attempt on his life, his youngest son, Michael steps in to take care of the would-be killers, launching a campaign of bloody revenge.

The Godfather is like a wonder of the world about which you have read everything, which you finally get to see, about which you utter a few clichés from a tourist guide on your return, and about which it is hard to say anything meaningful.

Peter van Bueren (De Tijd, 1972)

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It is a principal thesis of The Godfather that American society is a Gesellschaft at war with the Gemeinschaft inherent in the extended families of organized crime, and it is the claim of the novel and even more intensely of the films that the truly natural, legitimate, normal, and healthy type of society is that of the gangs. [It] offers a powerfully pessimistic (some might even say cynical) view of man and society that slaps in the face the pleasanter views characteristic of modernist ideologies drawn from the doctrine of progress and especially the favorite American myth that through assimilation into the institutional environment offered by the democratic capitalism of the American Gesellschaft, human beings can be perfected and force and fraud as enduring and omnipresent elements of social existence can be escaped.

Samuel Francis (Chronicles)