A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie contains graphic violence. There are machine gun killings, brutal beatings, betrayals, blood. The murders are not unnecessarily gory or lengthy, but their startling abruptness and the expressions of horror on the victims' faces make these images unforgettable. The violence always has gravity. There is brief nudity and sex, and a few curse words. Children too young to see the violence in this film wouldn't be able to appreciate the intricacies of the plot and so would have no interest in the movie.
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What's the story?
The film follows the Corleone family and their rapidly multiplying troubles. Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) is on his way out, and the most promising potential heir is his handsome, war-hero son, Michael (Al Pacino). As family members cope with the trials of gangster life, the latent power structures of society and family become evident.
Is it any good?
Epic in scope while maintaining a patience and intimacy characteristic of European art cinema, THE GODFATHER is rightly considered one of the greatest films ever made. The Godfather continues to influence producers of films, television shows, and video games more than 30 years after its release. Nino Rota's score, the sumptuous set design, and Brando's raspy pseudo-whisper have become part of our collective cultural memory.
The film possesses an operatic quality, yet it's more understated than it is flamboyant. It takes its subjects seriously, bestowing legitimacy upon the internecine power struggles of the Mafia normally reserved for classical themes in high art. The film's release initiated a period when American filmmakers dared to take themselves and their artistic ambitions seriously (perhaps too seriously). There is something deeply resonant in the film's treatment of filial piety, the need for respect, and our culture's abiding interest in the parallel moral universe of the Mafia.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether or not they feel the level of violence in the movie is necessary.
When, if ever, it is okay to operate outside of a corrupt legal system? Do the ends justify the means?
What might lead an individual, or a group, to systematically disobey the law?
What makes this movie a classic?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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