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20 Fun Facts About the Godfather Trilogy

Updated July 25, 2019 197.3k views20 items

Ask almost any cinephile what their favorite movie is and at least one of The Godfather movies usually pop up in the top 10. It's a rare franchise where the sequel is not only brilliant, it's almost superior to the incredible predecessor. The third one is another story altogether and certainly has its merits, but was doomed from the start. Any way you look at it, The Godfather trilogy represents cinematic genius, and they're a must-have in any movie-buff's collection. 

The Godfather is such an iconic piece of American cinema that its influence is still felt in everyday culture 40+ years later. The term "Godfather" wasn't even an expression until these films debuted, and how many times have we all heard that reference? The idea of a "Don" also wasn't a thing until the book that inspired these films came along. The Godfather films are near-perfect, in addition to being extremely influential. 

It's hard to find a better performance than Marlon Brando as Don Vito in the first Godfather until you watch De Niro playing the very same character in its sequel. How often does that happen? Not to mention the tour de force that is Al Pacino in all three films, as well as the supporting cast that includes heavy weights like James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, and countless others. 

The Godfather trilogy is a timeless piece of American cinema and well worth a revisit, so we decided to dig up some fun facts about The Godfather franchise that you may not know. We figure that's an offer you can't refuse.
  • There Were Zipper-Based Reshoots in Part II

    The actors in the flashback scenes wore seemingly period appropriate pants with zippers. However, one of the musicians pointed out that the zipper had not been invented at that time, so some scenes had to be re-shot with button fly trousers. 

     Source: IMDb
  • Oranges Signify Death

    In the first film alone there are almost a dozen examples, including two during the iconic wedding scene. Clemenza drinks from a jug of wine with orange slices floating in it, while telling Paulie to "do his job." Clemenza later takes Paulie out to be killed for not doing his job.  

    Then, when Sonny runs off to have sex with Lucy Mancini, there is a shot of his wife gesturing with her hands. In front of her is a dish of oranges. Sonny is of course killed later in the film.

    Production designer Dean Tavoularis claims it was a coincidence, that the fruit was used to brighten up an otherwise darkly-shot film. But it occurs far too many times throughout the three movies for it not to have been done intentionally.  

    Source: The Godfather Wiki

  • Early Test Audiences Didn't Like The Godfather Part II

    Early test screenings of the film received very negative reactions from the audience. It didn't help that the film was so anticipated that it was greenlit before the first installment was even released. Audiences found cutting back and forth between Michael and young Vito confusing and bothersome.

    Francis Ford Coppola and his editors decided to decrease the frequency of the transitions in order to make the parallel stories easier to follow. They were still editing the film up until the week of its release.

    Source: IMDb

  • Lee Strasberg Didn't Join the Godfather Part II Cast Easily

    Lee Strasberg came out of retirement to play Hyman Roth after being specifically requested by Al Pacino. He was unwilling at first, but agreed to do it after a 45-minute meeting with Coppola's father, Carmine Coppola.

    He then became ill during shooting, but instead of delaying production, they rewrote his character to be an ailing old man. 

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