the godfather, 1972
- Marlon Brando
- Al Pacino
- James Caan
- Diane Keaton
- Robert Duvall
- Talia Shire
- Robert Duvall
- John Cazale
- Richard Conte
- Al Lettieri
- Richard Bright
- Franco Citti
- Alex Rocco
visit the film locations
New York: Flights: JFK Airport
New York: Accommodation: stay in luxury, like Michael and Kay, at the St Regis, 2 East 55th Street (tel: 212/767.0525) on the corner of Fifth Avenue or, more modestly, the Edison Hotel, 228 West 47th Street near Times Square
Visit: Sands Point Preserve, the Guggenheim estate, 95 Middleneck Road on Long Island
Staten Island: Take the Staten Island Ferry from Battery Park to St George. The Staten Island Rapid Transit Railway will take you from St George Station, four stops to Grasmere. From here, it's about a half hour's walk north to Longfellow Road, a leafy cul-de-sac running east from Ocean Terrace. Numbers 110 and 120 are the last houses at the end of the road. PLEASE NOTE: these are private residences.
Continue on to Pleasant Plains (about an hour's ride) to visit Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Hylan Boulevard, Mount Loretto, down in the southwest corner of the island.
Most guide books identify the Corleone compound neighbourhood on Staten Island as Todt Hill – which translates melodramatically as ‘Death Hill’ – but Todt Hill is actually nearby.
The Godfather filming location: Michael's foray into the casino business: Tropicana, Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photograph: Tropicana Las Vegas
Fleeing to Sicily, Michael goes to ground in the village of ‘Corleone’. The real Corleone, south of Palermo, has been modernised. The village seen in the film is a combination of Forza d’Agro and Savoca, two villages a few miles northwest of Taormina. In Forza, a small medieval community dominated by the ruins of a 16th century castle, you’ll find the church seen when Michael first walks into ‘Corleone’.
A few miles north, in Savoca, you can see the small, wood-panelled Bar Vitelli, at which Michael meets innkeeper’s daughter Apollonia, as well as Chiesa di Santa Lucia, the church at which he marries her. The villa at which Michael is staying when his car is blown up, is the 18th century Castello degli Schiavi (Castle of Slaves), near Fiumefreddo, about six miles south of Taormina. (seen again in Godfather III).
Back in New York, Sonny (James Caan) beats up bullying brother-in-law Carlo at 118th Street and Pleasant Avenue, east of First Avenue in East Harlem, but soon gets his payback, blown away in a spectacular hail of bullets at tollbooths supposedly on the Jones Beach Causeway, Long Island, but actually built on the disused airfield Floyd Bennett Field, southeast of Brooklyn at the end of Flatbush Avenue.
The Godfather filming location: Barzini is gunned down by the fake cop: New York County Courthouse, Center Street, Lower Manhattan, New York
Bonasera’s funeral parlour is the morgue at Bellevue Hospital, First Avenue at East 29th Street by the East River in the Gramercy district. The summit meeting of the Five Families takes place in the boardroom of the Penn Central Railroad above Grand Central Station, 42nd Street and Park Avenue, while Michael’s foray into Las Vegas was filmed at the Tropicana, 3801 Las Vegas Boulevard South at Tropicana Avenue, on the Strip. The last, fanciest and most expensive of the Strip hotels built in the 50s, the Tropicana is the location for the ‘Folies Bergere’ number in the Elvis Presley film Viva Las Vegas.
After Don Corleone’s lavish funeral, at the Calvary Cemetery, Greenpoint Avenue in Queens, overlooked by the Queens Expressway bridge crossing Newton Creek, Michael becomes Godfather in a ritual brilliantly intercut with the bloody murders of the family heads.
Clemenza blasts Stracci and Cuneo in the lift of the St Regis Hotel (where Michael and Kay spent their night in New York); Moe Greene (Alex Rocco) is shot through the eye in the steamroom of the McBurney YMCA, 215 West 23rd Street (tel: 212.741.9226), and arch-enemy Barzini (Richard Conte) is gunned down by fake cop Al Neri on the steps of the New York County Courthouse, 60 Centre Street at Pearl Street, Lower Manhattan (the location for Sidney Lumet’s Twelve Angry Men, and Henry Hill’s trial at the end of Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas) .
The Godfather filming location: Michael becomes Godfather: Old St Patrick's Cathedral, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, New York
The christening itself took place inside New York’s Old St Patrick’s Cathedral, 264 Mulberry Street between East Prince and Houston Streets in Little Italy. Doesn’t look familiar from the film? That's because an entirely different church was used for exterior shots.
The Godfather filming location: Michael becomes Godfather: Mount Loretto, Staten island
The exterior of the church is the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Hylan Boulevard, Mount Loretto, down in the southwest corner of Staten Island (rail: Pleasant Plains).. The church burned down shortly after filming, but the façade was saved and the church rebuilt.