This weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival, the main cast and director of two of the greatest films ever made reunited to talk all things The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. Yes indeed, in one hell of a Q&A, Francis Ford Coppola was joined onstage by Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, and James Caan after a back-to-back screening of the first two Godfather films, with director Taylor Hackford (Ray) moderating. And now the full discussion is online for all to see.
The one-and-a-half-hour discussion covered a wide range of topics, focusing on the difficulty of even getting the first Godfather made—which included Paramount’s unwillingness to cast Marlon Brando or Pacino in what would become iconic roles in cinema history. Coppola himself was almost fired, but during the Q&A he revealed how he made some adjustments to appease the studio while keeping the integrity of The Godfather intact. Of course when it came time to make The Godfather Part II, it was much smoother sailing.
Even Pacino admitted his misgivings about the first film during production, revealing that after shooting the wedding scene, he and Keaton got drunk together and talked about how much of a disaster The Godfather appeared to be, going so far as to describe it as “the worst film ever made.”
This is a fascinating, lengthy chat about two of the greatest films ever made, and that so many principal actors involved were able to take part in the discussion makes it pretty terrific. So many classic films take time to find their footing in the annals of cinema history, so it’s great that we now have those that made these films on record reflecting candidly on their road to cinema glory. One imagines this is a discussion that’ll be watched and enjoyed for years to come.
Settle in and take a look below.