Here’s a short but good interview with Francis Ford Coppola on The Godfather book’s 50th anniversary | EW.com.
“The Godfather” is one of those films I can always sit down and watch, and is on the list of my top favourite films. It is such an odd film from the 70s, in that it doesn’t seem from that era, but if you grew up in that era, then you see the 70s reflected in a film set in the 40s.
It’s a masterpiece of a film, and I can watch it with the sound off, for it is beautiful to see. The acting is superb as well. The only thing about it that never fails to bother me when I watch it is knowing I am sympathetic to a family of criminals. Coppola wisely sets up the Corleone family’s antagonists in a way you have a hard time feeling sympathy for them when they are attacked, which makes the viewer complicit in what is going on, corrupting him or her. It’s a corrupt world, the film says, and the only way to deal with that is to accept it. I never way to accept that, and I always am aware of that when watching the film.
I often think of it in comparison to the great film by Clint Eastwood, “Unforgiven”. Eastwood’s character succumbs to the forces of evil, but he never takes it for granted, and he moves away from it again. As well, Eastwood takes the entire film of “Unforgiven” to strip away all the myths and glory and glamour of Westerns. In some ways, it is the opposite of “The Godfather”. Later film makers would do to gangster films what Eastwood did to the Western.