Rare Behind the Scenes Photos from the Set of 'The Godfather' in Little Italy in 1971

Back in 1971, Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Mario Puzo's hit novel 'The Godfather' was in the process of being filmed. It was to be released the next year, and would come to be known as one of the greatest films ever made.

The producers selected the heart of Little Italy in New York City—128 Mott Street between Hester and Grand to be exact—and guarded the scene intensely from the media.

As the studio hadn't released any photos of Marlon Brando in his Vito Corleone makeup, they tried extra hard to keep any cameras away from the filming.

According to NY Daily News, photographers who got something less than cooperation from the movie-makers.
When NEWS photographer Frank Giorandino was spotted trying to get a picture, the strong-arm squad yelled for Howard Newman, Paramount’s publicity man, who ordered Giorandino to stop. He and NEWS photographer Tony Pescatore found hands in front of their cameras when they aimed, or reflector lights turned on so that they couldn’t get a shot, or groups of people getting between Brando and their cameras. 
Pescatore knows the neighborhood. He got inside a buddy’s apartment and managed to get some shots before Paramount got to the buddy. He asked Pescatore to leave because he didn’t want to have trouble with the super, who apparently also became an instant friend of Paramount Pictures. 
The “guards” endeared themselves further by yelling at ladies hanging out of their windows - a time-honored tradition in Little Italy - and ordering residents to get off fire escapes. 
The “guards” did such a good job keeping Brando from public view that traffic was snarled, pushcart shopping became impossible and residents had trouble getting into their own buildings. As the temperatures and crowds mounted, the sound of angry Italians in full cry would have made Brando blush - if he understood Italian slang. 
The mess on Mott St. started at 6 a.m. and continued through most of the day. 
In contrast, nearby at Mulberry and Hester Sts., Red Buttons was shooting a film called “Who Killed Mary What’s ‘Er Name?” and there were no problems. The filmmakers, the Cannon Group, didn’t care if the public wanted to take pictures of the action, and on the location it was business as usual for the people who happen to live on the block.

Producer Albert S. Ruddy confers with Marlon Brando on set.

Marlon Brando getting his hair groomed during filming of the movie 'The Godfather' on Mott Street. ,

A producer adjusts Brando's hair.

Marlon Brando (center) crossing Mott St., between Grand and Hester Sts.

Marlon Brando has his hair fixed up for shooting. Brando plays Don Corleone in the movie and is gunned down outside Genco Olive Oil.

Stage blood drips from Brando's mouth after a take of the shooting scene.

Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola talks about the scene where Marlon Brando plays Don Corleone in the movie and is gunned down outside Genco Olive Oil.

Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola talks about the scene where Marlon Brando plays Don Corleone in the movie and is gunned down outside Genco Olive Oil.

Marlon Brando in character as Don Vito Corleone.

A Little Italy resident watches the production while eating lunch on his fire escape.

Marlon Brando has his hair fixed up for shooting.

The film set in front of 128 Mott Street in New York's Little Italy.

(Images by Anthony Pescatore / NY Daily News / Getty Images)

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