If you visit the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) and take a look at the list of the top 250 movies of all time (based on the votes of its registered users), you won't find "Star Wars" in the exalted number one position (it's actually #9). Neither will you find the American Film Institute chart-topper and critics' fave "Citizen Kane" (#6), nor the recent pop culture phenomenon "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (#3). Instead, the number one film is "The Godfather", Francis Ford Coppola's first installment in what would eventually become one of the most revered trilogies in cinematic history.
Since its release in 1972, "The Godfather" has become an indelible fixture in popular culture. It defined the gangster genre and continues to serve as a benchmark for all the films that would follow in its footsteps (such as "Goodfellas" or "Scarface"). Those who have not seen the film can recite a number of the film's iconic scenes, such as the horse's head in the bed, Marlon Brando's raspy voiced performance, or the tollbooth ambush. "The Godfather" is probably also one of the most referenced films in history, with nods appearing in diverse films such as "You've Got Mail", "Annie Hall", and "Scream 2". It is also probably the most parodied, such as the shot-for-shot recreation of Vito's attempted assassination in "Analyze This", or the pathologically unfunny "Jane Austen's Mafia!". Thanks to the recent release of a DVD boxed set, moviegoers can revisit "The Godfather" (as well as its two sequels), and once again appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of a film that truly stands the test of time.