30 Amazing Photos from Behind the Scenes of 'The Godfather'

The magic of The Godfather stemmed from an unlikely alignment of talents and circumstances. Photographer Steve Schapiro was present at the creation of Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 masterpiece, and The Godfather Family Album, a lavish coffee-table book published last year by Taschen, contains more than 400 of Schapiro’s behind-the-scenes images from the Godfather trilogy. Here are some of them...

Francis Ford Coppola considered bringing Marlon Brando back to play Vito Corleone as a young man, convinced that he could play the role at any age. As he worked on the script, though, he remembered Robert De Niro’s exceptional audition for The Godfather and cast him without offering the part to Brando.

The wedding scene.

Coppola directs Brando and the cast in the wedding scene at the start of The Godfather.

Coppola, center, with cast members James Caan, Brando, Al Pacino, and John Cazale.


Makeup artist Dick Smith turns Brando into Don Corleone.

Marlon Brando during makeup session.

Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Francis Ford Coppola during makeup session.

Coppola and Brando work on the choreography of the scene in which Don Corleone is shot.

Red Buttons, Mario Puzo and Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando is Don Vito Corleone.



Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) - head of the 'family business' which is an Italian mob organization he forged migrating to the United States.

Marlon Brando and Al Pacino on set of The Godfather.

Young Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on set of The Godfather.

Francis Ford Coppola sets up an early scene with Marlon Brando.

Don Vito Corleone: A Man of Reason (Marlon Brando)

Coppola with his two leading actors. The Godfather would launch Pacino’s film career and revitalize Brando’s.

Diane Keaton and Pacino break character between takes.

James Caan takes a break during filming of the tollbooth assassination scene in which his character, Sonny Corleone.

Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, and Diane Keaton filming The Godfather in New York City.

Al Pacino, and Diane Keaton

The family

The relaxed cast gets positioned for pictures of Connie Corleone’s wedding party. Notice that Brando and Caan, at center, are out of character and Robert Duvall, far left, is mugging.

Brando betrays amusement at one of his on-set pranks: he added weights to the gurney in order to make it more difficult for his castmates to carry him up the stairs.

Al Pacino and Marlon Brando

Michael (Al Pacino) & Fredo Corleone (John Cazale) in The Godfather.

Al Pacino and Smith Dick during makeup session.

Pacino and Brando rehearse a scene.

(via Vanity Fair)

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