March 24, 1972 marked the release of perhaps one of the most influential films since, well cinema itself. “The Godfather” directed by Francis Ford Coppola not only received universal acclaim from the critics but was also a tremendous success at the box office, grossing approximately 246 million dollars worldwide.

“The Godfather” will be re-released for its 50th anniversary, with a new restoration that is being overseen by director Francis Ford Coppola himself.

It would be an understatement to claim that the original film was a box office success. “The Godfather,” at its time of release, became the highest-grossing film in the world — a record which was lost to Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” in 1976. Given the film’s unconventional approach to mainstream cinema, it would have been difficult to predict that the film could have been a monumental success.

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“The Godfather” did not have the scale of “Avatar” or the franchise-backing of an “Avengers” film — it was a medium-budget Italian gangster melodrama that followed the Corleone family and organized crime in New York City. Yet the film somehow managed to appeal to nearly everyone who experienced it.

The movie’s critical and commercial success could perhaps be explained by the film’s remarkable craft. The extraordinary cinematography, editing, performances and screenplay provide a certain verisimilitude and intimacy that engage nearly any viewer for its runtime of 177 minutes.

Inexplicably, “The Godfather” has been described by critics Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert as a perfect blend of commerce and art. The unparalleled critical acclaim and universal appeal of “The Godfather,” unravel the true potential of pure cinema and storytelling if done correctly.

Going by the trailer, the new release seems to have an enhanced picture quality and improved sound design from the previous editions and restorations. The most striking modification is perhaps the desaturation of the warmer sepia hues that were present in the previous restorations.

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The re-release will likely resurface the magnificent cinematography by Gordon Willis, which has been revered for its striking contrast between light and dark — some critics speculated the contrast was a motif for organized crime. Also, given Coppola’s tendency to continually re-edit his films — Apocalypse Now, for example — it would be interesting to see if there have been any changes from the original cut.

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There has also been speculation that “The Godfather Part ll” will also experience a re-release for its 50th anniversary in December 2024. “Part ll” — which observes and contrasts two generations of the Corleone family — was far more visually ambitious in both scale and craft, so a higher quality rerelease would be certainly cherished.

“The Godfather” will be re-released March 24 in select AMC theaters across America.

Some fans argue that “The Godfather” is perhaps the ‘greatest film made by Hollywood.’ Some disagree. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the story of Corleones will continue to resonate with Americans, even after a half-century.