Whether it’s fans, critics, actors, or filmmakers, rarely has a film received similar responses from people unanimous about its brilliance.
And that’s exactly what has happened in the 50 years since Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather premiered in American cinemas
In honor of the 50th anniversary, lead actor Al Pacino, who later played the head of the Corleone family, Michael Corleone, and Robert De Niro, who portrayed the young version of his father, Vito Corleone in the sequel, attended a special tribute and screening Tribeca Festival in NYC.
Classic: Robert De Niro, 78, and Al Pacino, 82, attended a special 50th anniversary tribute and screening of The Godfather at the Tribeca Festival in New York City
The Tribeca Festival, an annual film festival organized by Tribeca Productions and co-founded by De Niro, featured a.o Restoration of the film on Thursday evening.
Ahead of the screening at the United Palace, Pacino sat down onstage with Michael Hainey to talk about the film, which received 10 Oscar nominations, and its lasting impact.
At the 45th Academy Awards in 1973, the legendary crime thriller won the coveted Best Picture award, along with Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola).
Classic: The Godfather (1972), starring Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan and John Cazale, is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time
Destiny: Pacino, 82, only had one film on his resume when Francis Ford Coppola approached him about playing Michael Corleone
Adored: Pacino spoke to Michael Hainey about the lasting impact of The Godfather at the Tribeca Festival in New York City on Thursday
In those five decades since its release, the film has received universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, with praise for the performances, particularly Brando, Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall, Coppola’s direction, Coppola and Puzo’s screenplay, cinematography, editing, and the music score.
Dressed in all black, consisting of a blazer, pants, t-shirt, scarf and sneakers, 82-year-old Pacino opened up about his life as an actor before filming The Godfather and its aftermath.
He was just 31 and had only one film on his resume when Coppola approached him about playing Michael Corleone. The character’s arc is about as good as it gets for an actor: from shy son and reluctant family misfit who served his country honorably in World War II, to unsuspecting hitman and finally to ruthless mafia boss of the Corleone family.
It became the highest-grossing film of 1972 and for a time was the highest-grossing film ever made, grossing between $246 and $287 million at the box office.
Light moment: De Niro and Pacino shared a few laughs while posing for photographers
Legends: As part of the festival’s special screening, De Niro joined Pacino on the red carpet as he played such a pivotal role as the younger Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974).
The Sequel: De Niro starred as a young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974) and spoke Italian for most of his performance
As part of the festival’s special screening, De Niro joined Pacino on the red carpet as he played such a pivotal role as the younger Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974).
The two iconic actors stood side by side for a moment as photographers snapped away.
De Niro, who is usually apprehensive and uncomfortable when it comes to media events like this, smiled several times while dressed casually in black pants with a navy blazer over a light blue top.
At times, both stars could be seen laughing and beaming as they chatted under the spotlights of the red carpet.
Star power: The two iconic actors stood side by side for a moment as photographers snapped
Praised: The three Godfather films have been nominated for 28 Oscars
Historic: The Godfather Part II is the first sequel to win an Academy Award for Best Picture
Although not commercially surpassing the original film, The Godfather II (1974) became Paramount Pictures’ top-grossing film of 1974, eventually grossing $93 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of $13 million.
It served as both a sequel and prequel to The Godfather (1972), weaving between the original film’s aftermath and backstory, how and why Vito Corleone immigrated to the United States from Sicily, and his rise as the founder of his family business in NYC.
The film was nominated for eleven Oscars, winning six of them, including Best Picture, which was a premiere for a sequel, as well as Best Director for Coppola, and Best Supporting Actor for De Niro, who spoke mostly Italian throughout his performance with subtitles.
Though not nearly as acclaimed as its two predecessors, The Godfather Part III (1990) earned seven Academy Award nominations en route to grossing $136.8 million at the box office from behind a budget of $54 million .
In hindsight, amid several 50th-anniversary honors this year, Pacino says he’s “deeply honored” for all the praise and accolades bestowed on The Godfather and that he’s “so happy” for the role of Michael Corleone, although he took them on him ‘for a lifetime to accept and move on.’
Honors: Pacino, Coppola and De Niro attended 50th anniversary honors this year, including at the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles in March