New edition of this BFI Film Classic on a movie frequently cited as one of the best films of all time, published to tie in with the film's 50th anniversaryJon Lewis is a leading expert on the history of the New HollywoodRichly illustrated with stills from the BFI Archive and screengrabs from the filmJon Lewis is Professor in the Department of English at Oregon State University, USA. He is the author of a number of books, including American Film: A History (2008), Hollywood v. Hard-Core: How the Struggle Over Censorship Created the Modern Film Industry (2000) and Whom God Wishes to Destroy ... Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood (1995) and a study of The Godfather Part II in the BFI Film Classics series (forthcoming, BFI, 2022).Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972) marked a transition in American film-making, and its success - as a work of art, as a creative 'property' exploited by its studio, Paramount Pictures; and as a model for aspiring auteurist film-makers - changed Hollywood forever. Jon Lewis's study of The Godfather begins with a close look at the film's audacious visual style (the long, theatrical set pieces; the chiaroscuro lighting, the climactic montage paralleling a family baptism with a series of brutal murders). The analysis of visual style is paired with a discussion of the movie's principal themes: Vito and Michael's attempt to balance the obligations of business and family, their struggle with assimilation, the temptations and pitfalls of capitalist accumulation, and the larger drama of succession from father to son, from one generation to the next. The textual analysis precedes a production history that views The Godfather as a singularly important film in Hollywood's dramatic box-office turnaround in the early 1970s. And then, finally, the book takes a long hard look at the gangster himself both on screen and off. Hollywood publicity attending the gangster film from its inception in the silent era to the present has endeavoured to dull the distinction between the real and movie gangster, insisting that each film has been culled from the day's sordid headlines. Looking at the drama on screen and the production history behind the scenes, Lewis uncovers a series of real gangster backstories, revealing, finally, how millions of dollars of mob money may well have funded the film in the first place, and how, as things played out, The Godfather saved Paramount Studios and the rest of Hollywood as well.A study of Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 gangster epic The Godfather in the BFI Film Classics seriesAcknowledgements Foreword to the 2022 edition 1. Believe in America 2. I Believe in Hollywood 3. I Believe in the Mafia Notes Credits.Combining narrative analysis and production history, this slender book reminds us why Francis Ford Coppola's first episode in The Godfather trilogy has been accorded the top spot in numerous polls of the greatest film of all time....the book most definitely provides readers with a wealth of detail and range of approaches which is surely what the BFI Film Classics series invariably does best."An indispensable part of every cineaste's bookcase" - Total Film "Possibly the most bountiful book series in the history of film criticism." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Film Comment "Magnificently concentrated examples of flowing freeform critical poetry." - Uncut "The series is a landmark in film criticism." - Quarterly Review of Film and Video "A formidable body of work collectively generating some fascinating insights into the evolution of cinema." -Times Higher Education Celebrating film for over 30 years The BFI Film Classics series introduces, interprets and celebrates landmarks of world cinema. Each volume offers an argument for the film's 'classic' status, together with discussion of its production and reception history, its place within a genre or national cinema, an account of its technical and aesthetic importance, and in many cases, the author's personal response to the film.
Jon Lewis is the University Distinguished Professor of Film Studies and University Honors College Eminent Professor at Oregon State University. He has published thirteen books, including The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture (a Choice magazine Academic Book of the Year selection) Whom God Wishes to Destroy . Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood (a Booklist starred title), Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry (a New York Times New and Noteworthy title), Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles, and for the British Film Institute's Film Classics series, The Godfather. Professor Lewis has appeared in two theatrically released documentaries on film censorship: Inside Deep Throat (Fenton Bailey, 2005) and This Film is Not Yet Rated (Kirby Dick, 2006). Between 2002 and 2007, Lewis was editor of Cinema Journal and had a seat on the Executive Council of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.