Book & Movie Review: The Godfather

We all love our books, and there are times we wish they could come to life on the big screen. Sometimes our wish comes true and those beloved stories soon hit theaters. Yet as excited as we are for the movie version to come to be they are not always good experiences. Perhaps a character is portrayed incorrectly, important scenes are left out or changed completely, or that wonderful story has been reduced to something with no plot but amazing CG effects. And then there are times when the movie is absolutely stunning and you are left with such an amazing feeling after watching it.

How I First Encountered The Godfather

People have been telling me for years and years that I have to watch and/or read The Godfather. I can’t recall the first time this book was mentioned to me, but I feel that it was sometime in high school when it came to my attention and was told for the first, but certainly not last, time that I just had to read it. After being told this multiple times by multiple people I finally would tell them that I intended to read the book and watch the movie and I would do so soon. That ‘soon’ turned into many years and this year, after finding a copy of the book at a used book store,  I finally made the commitment to read the book and watch the movie.

The Book

I started off reading this book but quickly found that I had a problem keeping it in my hands. I tried to keep reading it but I would just keep setting it down. So after setting it down far too many time I decided to switch to the audio book version. I had to start from the beginning again since I hadn’t retained any of what I had read. The audio book version allowed me to actually absorb some of the story.

Even after switching book formats it took me a lot to get into this story. The narrator did a pretty good job of bringing the story to life, giving the characters their own voices and generally speaking kept my attention focused on the book. Now I did have my focus wander from time to time but I feel that it was more because of that part of the story that the narrator. There were time when I just wasn’t all that interested in what was going on. I didn’t care much about Johnny Fontane’s story, or several other characters that were tied into the main story but where also given side stories as well. I feel that if these parts had have been cut out and the focus solely placed on the events surrounding Vito Corleone and his direct family and what we did then I would have had more interest in the book as a whole.

I didn’t know what to really expect out of this book when I started out, and by the end I felt a little disappointed. I guess in a way I expected to see more mafia type things happening throughout. I know lots of people out there really love this book, and hey that’s great, but I personally can say that I didn’t, though I can finally say yes I have read The Godfather the next time that it is mentioned.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I completely hated this book, I do appreciate what the story is about, I just didn’t find it as good as it could have been.

The Movie

What can I say about the movie? Well I think it was quite well done considering that it was made back in 1972. It definitely had the look and feel of the time when the events took place. Loved seeing the old cars and clothing styles, everything felt well put together in that respect. Now obviously Marlon Brando and Al Pacino did fantastic jobs in their respective roles of Vito and Michael Corleone. The other actors as well filled their roles quite a good job playing the respective characters.

The movie certainly held my interest more than the book did. But overall I still felt that it wasn’t as amazing as people had led me to believe that it was. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can respect this movie for what it was and it obviously is a classic, but it just wasn’t the movie that wowed me.

Sadly there isn’t really much else I can say. Much like the book I can now at least say that yes I have seen the movie, but that’s about it.

How They Compare To Each Other

Well, I’d have to say the movie is a pretty good adaptation of the book. It cuts out of lot of the extra stuff that I found made the book drag on quite a bit. There were a few differences when it came to the sections of the book that made it into the movies, but I felt that those differences were small enough that it didn’t matter, in fact I’m sure most of those small changes were made simply to make filming work for that particular scene.

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