5 Things You Didn't Know About The Godfather

The Godfather, a movie based on Mario Puzo's novel of the same name, premiered in New York on this date in 1972. Leave the gun, take the cannoli, and celebrate these 5 things you didn't know about The Godfather...


The Studio Did NOT Want To Cast Marlon Brando Coppola wasn't the only one in Paramount's sights as someone who (initially, at least) shouldn't have been working on the film. The studio didn't want Brando in the movie. That's hard to believe now, since it's nearly impossible to imagine anyone else playing the elderly, mush-mouthed mob boss, but it's true—Paramount even suggested British thespian Sir Laurence Olivier. In the end director Coppola tricked Brando into a screen test that impressed the studio, and they got on board.

Marlon Brando Didn't Bother Memorizing His Lines. Brando insisted that reading his lines during the take increased his spontaneity and made his lines sound less canned. “If you have a general idea of what the words are, then you look at the card and it gives the feeling to viewer that the person is really searching for what he is going to say,” Brando said in the documentary The Making of Superman: The Movie. Brando began using the cards as early as 1966; directors taped cards to lamps, bushes, and even on other actors to keep them from showing up in the shot.


One of The Movie’s Most Famous Lines Was Improvised If you don’t know anything about The Godfather, you probably recognize the line, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli,” uttered by capo Peter Clemenza who'd just taken out a snitch. He threw in the utterly genius "take the cannoli," and a legendary line was born.

The Horse’s Head Was Real And so were actor John Marley’s screams. A fake horse head was used in rehearsals, but when the cameras were actually rolling, Coppola replaced it with the real thing, much to Marley’s surprise.

Several Actors Prepared For Their Roles By Consulting Real Mobsters It may give some fans of the movie a jolt to learn that James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino all researched their roles by hanging with actual mobsters. Caan, for example, paid close attention to body language, noting the true made men tended to touch themselves, always adjusting their shirts or crotches. He's still around so revealing this apparently didn't piss off his consultants.