New York : The must-see places of The Godfather

Considered to be one of the greatest films ever made and winner of three Oscars, Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece paints a realistic portrait of the New York mafia in the 50s. The trilogy has made its mark on generations of audiences.

THE GODFATHER (PART 1)

The Corleone Family house

It’s here, in the opening scenes, that the wedding of the Godfather’s daughter takes place. Throughout this first phase, most of the big decisions are taken.  As we mention in our Guide New York of 1000 cult movie, series, music, comics, novel locations, the house hasn’t changed and the present owners want it to remain in keeping with the film.  The best way to get out there is by taxi.

 

The St Regis

While leaving Radio City Music Hall with Kay (Diane Keaton), Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) learns that his father has just been victim of a murder attempt and then dines with his girlfriend in one of the hotel suites.  He asks the young woman to return to his parents’ while he goes to see his father in a hospital that doesn’t exist anymore.  It’s not worth either trying to see the spot where the Don gets shot (128 Mott St), it’s no longer recognizable.

 

Jack Demsey's

Outside this restaurant Michael waits for Virgil Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) and the police captain McClusky (Sterling Hayden) to go with them in a car to a place they have chosen.  The aim is to give some explanations but once there, Michael kills them after having taken a pistol hidden in the toilets.  Even though this scene takes place in the Bronx in the restaurant Chez Louis, the filming took place a bit further down the street at the Luna Restaurant where the proprietor and his wife played their own roles.  Neither of the restaurants exists today.

 

Hotel Edison

Just before getting murdered, Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) meets up with Virgil Sollozzo (Al Lettieri) in a bar.  In reality, it’s at Sofia’s, the hotel restaurant transformed for the filming.

 

First Calvary Cemetery

The Godfather’s burial takes place in this enormous cemetery, the biggest in the United States as three million people are buried here.  In order for this scene to be spectacular, the production lined up 150 extras, 20 limousines and $12,000 worth of flowers.

 

St Patrick's old Cathedral

Michael attends a baptism while his enemies are being murdered.  Only the interior scenes were filmed here, the exterior was that of the Catholic Charities of Staten Island (6581 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island).  By way of anecdote, the mass was performed by a real bishop.

 

Peter Clemenza's house

The Godfather’s right-hand man, Peter Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano) lives in this small house in Brooklyn.  He is known for his remark: “Leave the gun; take the cannelloni.”

 

THE GODFATHER II

Ellis Island

As a teenager, Vito (Robert de Niro) arrives in Manhattan and is mistakenly given the name Corleone, which corresponds to his hometown in Sicily.  Like for all the immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, the Statue of Liberty is the first thing the young Vito Corleone sees when he reaches America.

 

Meurtre de Fanucci

In 1917, Vito murders Don Fanucci, the mafia representative, and thus gains the trust of the neighborhood.  He then starts getting involved in local conflicts, eventually becoming the Godfather.

 

THE GODFATHER III

Mulberry Street Bar

Vincent Mancini-Corleone (Andy Garcia), the nephew of Michael, starts getting close to the latter’s daughter, Mary (Sofia Coppola), by having a drink together in this bar.  At first, Mary was supposed to be played by Winona Ryder who dropped out at the beginning of the filming as she was too stressed.  So Francis Ford Coppola decided to replace her with his own daughter, Sofia, then 19 years old.

 

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