The Italian-American crime/mafia/family saga The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola, who wrote the script with Mario Puzo (author of the novel), became one of the most viewed and celebrated movies of all time. It was followed by The Godfather Part II (1974), also an artistic and commercial triumph, and many years later by the less fortunate The Godfather Part III.
The Godfather won five Golden Globes out of seven nominations: Best Film – Drama, Best Director (Coppola), Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Marlon Brando) and Best Original Score, written by Italian Nino Rota, Federico Fellini's loyal and favorite composer.
Brando, in the role of Don Corleone, the aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty in New York, prevailed at the Globes over Al Pacino (who played son Michael Corleone – he was nominated in the same category), and won his second Globe, after On The Waterfront. The 30th edition of the Golden Globe Awards ceremony was held at the Century Plaza Hotel, Century City, on January 28, 1973
The 175-minutes saga was brought to life by producer Robert Evans and Paramount Pictures head Peter Bart, who bought the film rights to Puzo’s novel before it became a best-seller. Italian director Sergio Leone was Paramount's first choice to direct the film, but Leone declined the offer to focus on his own gangster film, Once Upon a Time in America. Bart thought of Coppola because of his Italian ancestry, and Coppola was in need of money after the poor reception of his latest film, The Rain People. Thus, by accidental serendipity, as it often happens, a masterpiece was born.
Coppola gave several roles in the film to family members: his sister Talia Shire played Connie Corleone, his daughter Sofia played a newborn child in the baptism scene; his father Carmine Coppola appeared in the film as an extra playing a piano during a scene, while Coppola's wife, mother, and two sons all appeared as extras in the picture. The film was shot on locations in and around New York and in Sicily.
Brando didn't attend the Golden Globes ceremony, as he did two months later with the Academy Awards, when he sent an American Indian Rights activist in his place, boycotting the depiction of American Indians by Hollywood. Other than that, it was a triumphant Golden Globe, with the whole Coppola family celebrating a success that paved the way to an extraordinary film dynasty.