Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Brando made Don Vito something we rarely see in movies: a tragicomic villain-hero, a vulnerable hood.
To permit us a glimpse at The Mob, with all of its ethnic insularity, is like giving a chronic gambler a chance to wander above the false mirrors that overlook every casino.
Los Angeles Times:
The Godfather is overflowing with life, rich with all the grand emotions and vital juices of existence, up to and including blood.
Brando's triumph and fascination is less that of an actor of parts than of a star galaxy of myths.
New York Times:
Francis Ford Coppola has made one of the most brutal and moving chronicles of American life ever designed within the limits of popular entertainment.
Traces the arc of this doomed idealism with a beauty that is still fresh.
The New Republic:
I don't see how any gifted actor could have done less than Brando does here. His resident power, his sheer innate force, has rarely seemed weaker.
New York Daily News:
Brando is the strong magnet that will draw fans to The Godfather. But behind-the-scenes creativity is of equal value to this film of towering proportions.
We come to The Godfather like Kay Adams -- outsiders uncertain in our expectations - but it doesn't take long for us to be captivated by this intricate, violent world.
The story by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola is a brilliant conjuring act, inviting us to consider the Mafia entirely on its own terms.
In its blending of new depth with an old genre, it becomes that rarity, a mass entertainment that is also great movie art.
An everyday story of Mafia folk, incorporating a severed horse's head in the bed and a number of heartwarming family occasions, as well as pointers on how not to behave in your local trattoria.
The biggest achievement here is the establishment of mood and time.
There are volumes that could be written -- and have been -- about the movie's uniformly powerful performances; its precedent-setting editing by William Reynolds and Peter Zinner; Nino Rota's haunting score; and Dean Tavoularis's evocative set design.