Top 10 Things You Don’t Know About The Godfather Movies

Joseph Pickett May 4, 2012 2

The Godfather became an instant classic when it was released in 1972, and is one of the most popular and highly acclaimed American films of all time. There are many interesting things about the film, however, that many people may not know. Read on to learn about some of the most interesting Godfather trivia.

1. 10 Actors Were Considered for the Role of Vito Corleone


Among those considered were Orson Welles, George C. Scott, Ernest Borgnine and Laurence Olivier. The word is that Burt Lancaster wanted the job but he was never considered for it. The director, Francis Ford Coppola, said in 2003 that he just thought of the two greatest actors at the time on earth, who many thought were Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando. Olivier was near death, and was not interested. Brando eventually accepted the role but he only ended up getting paid about $150,000, which leads us to #2….

2. Why Did Brando Not Appear in Godfather Part II?


The main reason was that he felt he got a raw deal financially in the first film. So he refused to do any PR for the original film, and he also said he would not appear in the second film. He had financial problems at the time and he sold back some of the back end on the first film he was to get on the movie,  for about $100,000. The studio was thrilled because they knew it would be a hit.

3. How Gianni Russo Got the Role of Carlo Rizzi

carlo rizzi

Russo was not an actor and actually had organized crime connections. He had a camera crew film his audition and it was sent to the producers of the film. Brando did not want to work with a non-actor. Russo was furious and he actually confronted Brando and threatened him! Brando thought this was an act and he did a great job, so Coppola ended up hiring him.

4. Coppola Was Almost Canned


Paramount was not happy with the early filming of the picture, and they were thinking about firing Coppola and bringing in Elia Kazan. The hope was that a new director would be able to get more out of Brando, who always was hard to work with. Brando threatened to quit if Coppola was canned.

5. Sergio Leone Almost Directed


Leone turned down The Godfather because he thought the story was boring and glorified organized crime too much. Later of course, he wished he had directed the movie, and he eventually did another very good gangster movie, Once Upon a Time in America.

6. Why Brando Looked Like That


Marlon Brando wanted the character to resemble a bulldog, so he stuffed his cheeks with wool for the audition. During the filming of the movie, he actually wore a specially designed mouthpiece to make his face look like that.

7. That Horse Head Was Real!


During the practice shoots, they used a fake horse head. During the real shot, they brought in a REAL horse head from a dog food factory. The actor playing Woltz, John Marley, he really screamed in terror because he did not know that the head in the shot was real.

8. The Cat in the Opening Scene Was a Stray


During the first shot, Brando held a cat that was not called for in the script. He found the stray cat on the Paramount lot. Brando liked the cat and wanted to hold it during the shoot. The cat purred very loudly and many of his lines had to be enhanced later during the editing.

9. Brando Read from Cue Cards

godfather script

Marlon Brando didn’t like to memorize lines in a movie script and he actually read most of his lines from cue cards in the film.

10. Coppola’s Relatives Were Used Throughout the Film


His sister Talia Shire was Connie; his mother Italia was an extra in the bloody shooting in the Italian restaurant; his father was playing the piano during the mattresses sequence; and his daughter Sofia was the baby at the baptism.


  1. Lizaio June 11, 2012 at 8:51 am -

    Fun fact: Ala the movie “Waiting,” Brando, Caan and Duvall had a great time mooning the crew and fellow cast members and made a game of it. Brando was the winner, of course.

  2. Ravenous July 25, 2013 at 5:25 am -

    Another reason why Coppola didn’t get canned was while the execs were deciding to fire him, the announcement of Coppola winning the screenplay Oscar for Patton came in. Then the execs decided firing an Oscar winner wouldn’t be a good idea.