Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: #2 WGA Script of All Time - The Godfather (1972)

[Quick Summary: When the Godfather is wounded, will the succession of power go easily. (Answer: No.)]

This story is about the making of a new Godfather.

The brilliance of the script comes from how the characters change, i.e., the characters' arc. 

ex. Michael begins as a far removed player. 

But through the death of Sonny, the wounding of the Godfather, the death of his first bride, Michael must grapple with conflicts he would rather not.

He doesn't want to get involved with the family business.  But he has the right temperament for it.

He falls in love & marries a beautiful Italian girl, who is killed.  He returns home & marries Kay...but does he love her?

When the Don dies, Michael must step up.  But he has doubts that he's ready.

It's not easy to make Michael's changes very human.  It would've been easier to write him as a caricature. 

But in this script, he really struggles with making the right decisions for himself & family.  He earns each milestone. 

I also liked that even the minor characters had arcs. 

ex. Kay's reaction to the same situations take her from naive to hardened.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Once again, character traits rule.

The whole purpose of the plot is to push the character one step closer to something he doesn't want to face.  Here, Michael has to take the reins of an empire he didn't want. 

The Godfather (1972)
by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola

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