The Godfather movie series is probably the best collection of movies ever made. The story of the Corleone family trying to establish their influence and underground mafia kingdom in the middle of New York City, propelled the gangster movie genre, and director Francis Ford Coppola created a whole trilogy of masterful movies. The first two movies, The Godfather and its sequel, The Godfather 2, are considered the best movies of all time. Because time is passing really fast and this year the first Godfather movie celebrates its 50th anniversary since its release, we decided to write on how to watch the movies, where to watch this genius franchise and all other nit bits.
The Corleone family became a cultural phenomenon and until that point, no one depicted the mafia families’ lifestyle in New York as The Godfather did, and the characters like Vito Corleone, his sons Michael and Sonny, and caporegime Clemenza became cult figures. The original source material for this movie was Mario Puzo’s book of the same name which was released in 1969, three years before the first installment of the trilogy was released. We will list all movies to watch in order in this article. If you are interested, stick with us until the end of the article.
How Many Godfather Movies Are Out There?
Even though the original source material was only one book, Francis Ford Coppola decided to create three movies in Godfather franchise. First Godfather was released in 1972, and The Godfather II was released in 1972 and is a direct sequel to the first film. The final installment of this notable franchise is The Godfather III which was released in 1990.
The Godfather Movies In Order (At Glance)
The First Godfather movie follows the chronicles of the Corleone family from 1945 to 1955 under Vito Corleone, the family’s crime boss, and patriarch. The movie also follows the transformation of his son Michael, who from a reluctant war veteran is slowly but surely becoming a notorious crime boss. The second movie is a certified masterpiece and picks up its story after there has been an attempt on Michael’s life, and parallel to that, the film is telling the story of Vito Corleone’s journey from Sicilian little boy to Corleone family mafia boss. The third and final Godfather movie follows Michael’s journey as a seasoned crime boss in his sixties and turns his criminal enterprise into a legal business.
This is the list of The Godfather movies at glance:
- The Godfather (1972)
- The Godfather (1974)
- The Godfather (1990)
What Is The Best Way To Watch The Godfather Movies?
The best way to watch Godfather movies is the release date way. Even though the second Godfather movie has elements of the prequel to this storied franchise, it would be really weird to watch just some points of the second movie, skip over “present” events and then watch the original Godfather. So yes, definitely watch the movies by release date.
The Godfather Movies In Order (Release Date)
1. The Godfather (1972)
The first movie of this trilogy is called The Godfather, which was released in 1972, and it adapted the story of the same name book released just three years earlier in 1969, written by Mario Puzo. The writer of the original source material Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, a director of the movie, both wrote a screenplay for The Godfather and created one of the best movies of all time.
The movie’s cast, by today’s standards, was full of star actors, but at the beginning of the 1970s, they were not considered that notable. Forgotten Marlon Brando, revitalized his career by portraying Vito Corleone, a crime boss, and Corleone family patriarch, young Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, the youngest son of Vito, James Caan as an older brother Sonny, Robert Duvall as Corleone’s consigliere Tom Hagen, Diane Keaton as Michael’s girlfriend/wife Kay Adams and many more.
The Godfather follows the story of Vito Corleone, the family’s crime boss who is trying to establish his family enterprise as the biggest in the New York mafia underworld. His youngest son Michael just came from the war and is reluctant to join the family’s business. Middle son Fredo is the least capable brother – he is portrayed as an unstable individual who is not cut out to do anything regarding the mafia crime business. He is a womanizer and a weak-minded man, who throughout the movie is trying to prove his worth. Sonny is the eldest Corleone son, and a very impulsive man who would do anything to protect his loved ones, women, and children but is brutal in his killings of other men.
Connie Corleone is the only daughter of Vito and sister to Sonny, Fredo, and Michael. She was always protected, and her father’s favorite child with Michael. She is married to her abusive husband Carlo Rizzi who will have an important role in the Godfather movie. Essentially, The Godfather also sees Michael transform from a reluctant war veteran to the Corleone crime boss after his father Vito dies. Crime family and mafia shenanigans are portrayed throughout the movie and we love every second of it.
The movie received critical acclaim, won a lot of movie awards, and is considered one of the greatest and most influential movies of all time – it is also considered the staple of the gangster movie genre. This is the first movie of the trilogy, but the next one is possibly even better.
2. The Godfather II (1974)
One of the rare sequels that is considered better than its predecessor, The Godfather II is truly a certified masterpiece. The story continues after the events of the first movie and now Michael Corleone, the head of Corleone’s crime family and enterprise is trying to lead his family after the attempt at his life. The Godfather II introduced us to the prequel-like, origin story of Vito Corleone and his journey to becoming the crime boss. This is truly an interesting concept because throughout the movie you can see so many parallels between Michael and his father Vito, who are struggling with the same problems trying to build a balanced family.
After the success of the first movie, the original cast came back for the sequel, with the addition of Robert De Niro who is playing young Vito Corleone. His portrayal of the Corleone family patriarch won him an Oscar and propelled Robert De Niro to stardom.
Besides Vito’s origin story that is flowing throughout the movie, the main story of Michael as the crime boss is something that the movie mostly focuses on. Michael in this movie realizes that he needs to change the way the family was run and use “dirty” tools to propel his family to the top.
We have some callbacks to the first Godfather, but mostly Michael is at the center stage of the movie, and his cold and hard demeanor is starting to affect his family. Michael also realizes that some family members are turning their back on him and the shocking revelations and parallel flashback to 1941, and Vito’s point of view, made this movie one of the best storyline-driven movies of all time.
3. The Godfather (1990)
Finally, we have The Godfather III, the final movie of this notable franchise. This is the movie not everyone liked because it missed important characters like Tom Hagen because Robert Duvall refused to come back, and the plot of the movie did not replicate the success of the previous movies. According to Francis Ford Coppola, he wanted to make two movies that follow the story of the Corleone family, and the third installment would only serve as the epilogue, probably not even a full movie.
Regardless, the movie was released and introduced us to the new characters – Michael’s daughter Mary and son Anthony, played by Sophia Coppola and Franc D’Amrossio respectively. Vincent Mancini, Sonny’s estranged son is played by Andy Garcia, whose portrayal got critical acclaim. The Godfather III follows the story of now established Capo dei capi Micheal Corleone who is trying to legalize his enterprise. He is now a cold and distant man whose wife Kay left him.
He is also full of guilt, especially after he killed and destroy so many people to get to the top of the “food chain”, including putting a hit on his older brother Fredo. His sister Connie steps up and after spending time in two superficial marriages after her abusive husband Carl died, she is huge Michael’s support. The Godfather III is truly the ending of this storied franchise, and even though it did not satisfy a lot of fans, it is still worth watching.
Where To Watch The Godfather Movies?
Godfather was distributed by Paramount Pictures and since streaming became the most popular way to watch movies and TV shows, Godfather is available on the streaming platform Paramount+. You can also rent the movies from AppleTV and Amazon Prime.
Are Godfather Movies Connected?
All three Godfather movies are connected because they follow the Corleone family from the 1940s to 1980s all across the three movies. Michael Corleone is the main character in all of them, and his family and allies are mostly the same. We see the beginning and the end of Michael Corleone through the three movies.
Will There Be More Godfather Movies?
At the time of publishing this article, there is no news about the new Godfather movies or the new trilogy. We already know that the director of all three original movies, Francis Ford Coppola, did not want three movies in the beginning, and it would be silly if all of a sudden he would want new Godfather projects. However, there is a biographical mini-series The Offer that follows the story of making the first Godfather movie in the 1970s, released on Paramount+ in April of this year. The series received mixed to average reviews.