Top 25 Countdown — No. 6

Today I continue my Top 25 Countdown with the last film outside the top five.

No. 6 — The Godfather (1972)
Starring: Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, James Caan, and Diane Keaton
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Quote: "Just lie here, Pop. I'll take care of you now. I'm with you now. I'm with you." — Michael
About: There are myriad reasons why "The Godfather" is on nearly every list of the greatest movies ever made in America. It is a beautifully told story with rich characters, performances, and narrative. I love the classic scenes, the characters, the story, and the rich, iconic dialogue. But as an adult, I also appreciate the story behind the story. The one of a man hoping to create a life outside of his family, but who has a gapping weakness — his love of that family. And it is that weakness that is exploited time and again as he's drawn deeper and deeper down a path he never meant to go. You feel it from him and, especially, from the regret of his father. Michael was the shinning hope of the future. But when his family came under attack, he responded as only he could. He was his father's son, and so it made sense that he would don the mantle. My favorite scene comes when Michael goes to see his father in the hospital. He finds the place deserted and instantly realizes that people are coming to kill his father. In that moment, all thought of a future outside the "family business" is gone. He commits to what, and who, he needs to be. There is a moment when he has wheeled his father into an abandoned room to hide him when he leans over and whispers the line I quoted above. It's incredibly beautiful because it has a double meaning. He is, literally, right with his father. But he is also saying I am with you, I am with the family, I will take my role, whatever it means for my future. It's not long after that he assassinates two men, goes into hiding, and becomes the heir to his family's business. But it is that moment of decision, when he realizes he would have to choose the future he desires or protecting his family, where he is caught. It's a perfect analogy to the way sin attacks our area of weakness and tempts us toward a path we don't want to take. At every turn Michael is drawn deeper and loses more of that choice. That's probably not something most people think about, but it's what I love about the movie and the novel. "The Godfather" is an American classic, and is a no-brainer for this list.
Rating: R for Strong Violence and Some Sexuality/Nudity.

Top 25 Countdown:
7. Jurassic Park (1993)
8. Jaws (1975)
9. Gettysburg (1993)
10. Up In The Air (2009)
11. Die Hard (1988)
12. Doubt (2008)
13. Way of the Gun (2000)
14. Heat (1995)
15. The Paper (1994)
16. Watchmen (2009)
17. LA Confidential (1997)
18. Serenity (2005)
19. Children of Men (2006)
20. Miller's Crossing (1990)
21. About Schmidt (2002)
22. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
23. The Matrix (1999)
24. Independence Day (1996)
25. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


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