Connect with us

Let’s Consider 15 Seconds From The Godfather and Why They’re So Effective (Video)

Let’s Consider 15 Seconds From The Godfather and Why They’re So Effective (Video)

Movie News

Thomas Flight says his favorite 15 seconds of The Godfather consist of Michael Corleone lighting a cigarette. In a new video essay, he explains why the simple scene illustrates Corleone’s transformation from Corleone family outsider to its new patriarch. You can watch it above.

The scene takes place soon after an attack on Don Corleone (Marlon Brando), Michael’s father. Enzo nervously fumbles to light a cigarette. In an act of mercy and decisiveness, Michael takes the lighter, flicks the fire to life, and shares the flame with a grateful Enzo. We see Michael’s steady gaze through the smoke of the cigarette.

Also read: How El Camino Re-Frames Your Perspective on Jesse Pinkman

It’s a great small moment by Al Pacino, who plays Michael. But also an example of great show-don’t-tell filmmaking. As Flight notes on his gorgeously produced video essay, “My Favorite 15 Seconds From The Godfather,” Francis Ford Coppola’s film never shows Michael discussing his transformation from reluctant Corleone to full-fledged mob boss. We see it illustrated in small scenes like his lighting of Enzo’s cigarette.

Thomas Flight has made many video essays filled with valuable lessons for moviemakers, including his recent essay on how El Camino frames lead character Jesse Pinkman, and his series on the first films of directors Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick, and the Coen Brothers. We recommend that you watch Thomas Flight’s videos on YouTube.

Also read: 4 Times Al Pacino and Robert De Niro Vied for the Same Role

Flight’s breakdown of The Godfather lighter scene is especially timely for those, like us, who have been obsessively rewatching Pacino and Robert De Niro’s films since last year’s The Irishman, the fourth film in which they’ve both appeared.

The first was The Godfather Part II, in which De Niro played Vito Corleone before he became Don Corleone.


Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ken Leonardi says:

    This is my key scene, too. All of my friends don’t notice it until I point it out and tell them this is the beginning of Michael’s transformation. But to be fair, having seen The Godfather dozens of times, I didn’t notice it until after several viewings. I still seem to notice something new every time I watch it.

    I agree with your analysis of the scene, but I also think it shows that Michael is steady, unshakeable, and can handle immense pressure. In other words, Michael’s a rock. This helped Michael in becoming a good Don, but also in any other endeavor he would get into if he wasn’t in the life of crime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Movie News

To Top