‘The Godfather’ Turns 50 as New Adaptations Capture the Behind-the-Scenes Drama of Filming the Classic

The OGs: The Godfather’s James Caan, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and John Cazale, 1972. Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

This spring marks a big birthday for The Godfather, which premiered 50 years ago in March 1972 at Loew’s State Theatre in New York City, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time and spawning the better-than-the-original sequel, The Godfather Part II. But fans know all that.

We don’t know, perhaps, the dramatic turmoil behind Francis Ford Coppola’s camera that almost sabotaged the film’s (three-months-late) release. For that, there is a pair of tea-spilling takes this year.


Photos: The Godfather (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images); The Offer (Courtesy of Paramount Plus)


Francis and The Godfather, starring Oscar Isaac as Coppola and Jake Gyllenhaal as Paramount exec Robert Evans, is currently in production. While fans await its release, they can watch The Offer on the small screen, a new 10-episode biographical miniseries from Paramount+ chronicling the near-firing of Coppola, writer Mario Puzo’s public screaming match with Frank Sinatra, opposition from Italian Americans claiming discrimination and run-ins with the actual mob. This version, told through the young, green (and Canadian!) producer Albert S. Ruddy, stars Miles Teller as Ruddy and Dan Fogler as Coppola, alongside supporting cast members Giovanni Ribisi (crime-boss Joe Colombo), Matthew Goode (Robert Evans) and the ever-fabulous Juno Temple of Ted Lasso fame (talent agent Bettye McCartt).

Mark your calendar for April 28 to learn why Ruddy, alive and well at 92, quipped, “Every day of making The Godfather was the worst day in my life.” It might have taken a half-century, but as Don Vito Corleone says, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”