In late summer 1945, guests are gathered for the wedding reception of Don Vito Corleone's daughter Connie (Talia Shire) and Carlo Rizzi (Gianni Russo). Vito (Marlon Brando), the head of the Corleone Mafia family, is known to friends and associates as "Godfather." He and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), the Corleone family lawyer and consigliere (counselor), are hearing requests for favors because "no Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter's wedding day." Meanwhile, the Don's youngest son Michael (Al Pacino), a decorated Marine war hero returning from World War II service, tells his girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) anecdotes about his family, attempting to inform her about his father's criminal life; he reassures her that he is different from his family. As it depicts the marriage of Connie and Carlo, the wedding scene also serves as critical exposition for the remainder of the film, as Michael figuratively introduces the main characters to Kay.
Among the guests at the celebration is the famous singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino), Corleone's godson, who has come from Hollywood to petition Vito's help in landing a movie role that will revitalize his flagging career. Jack Woltz (John Marley), the head of the studio, denies Fontane the part, but Don Corleone explains to Johnny: "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse." Hagen is dispatched to California to fix the problem, but Woltz angrily tells him that he will never cast Fontane in the role, for which he is perfect and which will make him an even bigger star, because Fontane seduced and "ruined" a starlet that Woltz favored. Woltz is persuaded otherwise, however, when he wakes up early the next morning and feels something wet in his bed. He pulls back the sheets, and finds himself in a pool of blood with the severed head of his prized $600,000 stud horse, Khartoum, in the bed with him, and screams in horror. (A deleted scene from the film implies that Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), Vito's top "button man" or hitman, is responsible.)
CAST: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Richard S. Castellano, Diane Keaton
DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola
RUN TIME: 175 min