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10 Movies That Are Great Companion Pieces To “The Godfather”

13 July 2018 | Features, Film Lists | by Antoni Urbanowicz

Whether or not you agree that “The Godfather” is a perfect film, there is no denial about its powerful influence on both the New Hollywood film movement and the crime film genre in general. In addition to winning three Oscars and having number of nominations in various categories, it helped boost the acting careers of actors like Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall. Not to mention how iconic the role is of Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone.

The sequel is just good (or maybe better, depends on who you ask) as the original, but the third part, while not being exactly what you can call a bad film, was a massive disappointment.

So, if you have a great taste for gangster films after watching the second part, but don’t want to waste your time on the third part, this is the list for you. Here’s the 10 films that are great companion pieces to “The Godfather.”

 

10. Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom (2010)

The feature film debut of talented Australian filmmaker David Michôd holds many similarities to “The Godfather” in terms of themes. Both films are about an amoral criminal family and what the loyalty to your blood means. While the members of Corleone family are high-level mobsters, the Cody family is nothing more than thieves and drug dealers.

Joshua “J” Cody (James Frecheville), the protagonist of “Animal Kingdom,” is dragged by force to the criminal activities of his own relatives much just like Michael Corleone, but in opposition to Pacino’s character, he doesn’t get dehumanized during the process.

The film is strongly inspired by the real case of the Pettingill family, which was responsible for various acts of crimes in 1980s that included the killing of two police officers.

 

9. Suburra

Suburra (2015)

Stefano Sollima’s “Suburra” is a film that has the potential to be considered as a modern crime film classic in the near future. It depicts a morbid connection between the Rome mafia, politics, and the Vatican Bank.

With its fast-paced action, neon lighting, and haunting electronic soundtrack made by M83, it’s a “Godfather” made for a modern generation.

It’s no wonder why Sollima was chosen to direct the sequel to “Sicario” (2015). “Suburra” proves that he could flawlessly carry films that deal with a darker side of humanity.

If you enjoyed “Suburra,” don’t miss the 2017 Netflix series that stands as a prequel to the movie’s events.

 

8. Miller’s Crossing

Miller's Crossing (1990)

The Coen brothers and the mafia – what could be better? “Miller’s Crossing” is gangster/neo-noir film that is clearly influenced by the atmosphere and style of Dashiell Hammett’s works.

While “The Godfather” is a deadly serious film, this one is filled with a dark, macabre sense of humor and pulp-like touch. After a three-hour viewing of Coppola’s masterpiece, which holds many similarities to an ancient tragedy, this one could be a great refreshment.

Gabriel Byrne, as an always scheming Tom Reagan and the right hand of an Irish mob leader, is wonderfully cast, and it’s a shame that such a charismatic actor is so rarely cast as a main protagonist in Hollywood films.

 

7. Election

election-j-to

There are many glorious Hong Kong triad movies, and “Election” stands as one of the best examples of this mesmerizing genre. Quentin Tarantino often says that this is one of his favorite films, and could there be any better recommendation?

The movie presents to the viewer a complicated mechanism of the election of the head of Triad. What starts as a seemingly civilized democratic election in the world of crime continues as a complicated and violent fight for power.

Western viewers will be fascinated by how differently Triad operates in comparison to the Italian Mafia, which dominates pop culture. If you want to take a break from spaghetti-eating gangsters, try “Election.”

 

6. Little Caesar

Little Caesar

It’s impossible to talk about gangster films without mentioning “Little Caesar.” It’s the first talking picture with gangsters that appeared on cinema screens.

Comparing “Little Caesar” with “The Godfather” is fascinating, because it shows how the mafia genre evolved in following decades (and the world of cinema itself!), and yet how much it stayed the same.

The typical story for this genre, of the rise and fall of Enrico “Rico” Bandello (Edward G. Robinson), might be considered naïve, predictable and even laughable for the modern viewer, but this a basic blueprint for mafia films to come.

It’s a must-see for every history buff and fan of “The Godfather” who’s interested in what started the cinematic obsession with depicting organized crime.

 

 

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