It was the movie that taught us to keep our friends close, but our enemies closer.
That if history has taught us anything, it’s that you can kill anyone.
That Michael knows it was you, Fredo, and you broke his heart.
It was “The Godfather, Part II,” and film fans probably know that those famous movie lines came from one of Francis Ford Coppola’s beloved movies about Italian families and the mafia.
But did you know that an Oklahoman won an Oscar for best picture for “The Godfather, Part II,” or that one of the film’s stars once ran for mayor of Oklahoma City?
For its 45th anniversary, Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies are teaming up to bring the best picture of 1974 back to the big-screen, showing at Cinemark Tulsa and Cinemark Broken Arrow on Nov. 10 and 13.
The film has become an indelible part of our popular culture, but here are a few facts that you may not have known.
1. Oklahoma City native Gray Frederickson was a producer on all three of the “Godfather” films with Coppola, in addition to his movies “Apocalypse Now” and “One From the Heart.”
2. Frederickson won his Academy Award for best picture for “The Godfather, Part II,” as one of the co-producers, but he’ll always be most revered in Tulsa for helping to steer Coppola into filming “The Outsiders” here and producing it with him. “We loved making that movie here, so much so that we just rolled right into making ‘Rumble Fish.’ Then I was back here five years later with ‘UHF’ and Weird Al (Yankovic) because we could shoot here and keep costs down,” Frederickson said while attending this summer’s Circle Cinema Film Festival.
3. G.D. Spradlin, born near Pauls Valley in 1920, was a prolific character actor for more than 40 years in film and TV. But he may have been best-known for playing a corrupt U.S. senator in “The Godfather, Part II,” who tries to shake down Michael Corleone. Big mistake.
4. Side note: Spradlin didn’t begin an acting career until his mid-40s, after he had become a lawyer in Oklahoma, an oil producer and a candidate who campaigned unsuccessfully for mayor of Oklahoma City in 1965.
5. Coppola refused to consider making a sequel to “The Godfather” unless he had complete creative control, which he ultimately received after “The Godfather” became the highest-grossing film in movie history in 1972. During the many times he said no to the request, Coppola (whose family were Italian immigrants) suggested to Paramount that they hire Martin Scorsese (whose family came from Sicily) to direct the sequel.
6. “The Godfather, Part II” became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for best picture, an accomplishment that would not happen again until “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” was named best picture of 2003. It has not happened since.
7. In most “best movies ever” polls, whether it be critics or audiences, “The Godfather” lands in the top 10, while “The Godfather, Part II” isn’t too far behind. For example, the American Film Institute top 100 movies placed the films at No. 3 and No. 32, respectively. On the Internet Movie Database chart, “The Godfather” is No. 2, while “Part II” lands at No. 3.
8. But at the Oscars, it’s “The Godfather, Part II” that won six Oscars (11 nominations) compared to three Oscar wins for “The Godfather” (nine nominations). Coppola won three of the “Part II” Oscars (best picture, best director, best screenplay); the other Oscars were for best art direction, best score and best supporting actor for Robert De Niro, who played a young Don Vito Corleone, the father of Michael Corleone, in flashback scenes.
9. The movie was rated R; it had only three words of profanity, and it had the fewest deaths of the three “Godfather” films: Only 16 people were whacked.
10. The upcoming Fathom Events screenings of “The Godfather, Part II” in Tulsa theaters will be a rare opportunity to see the full film on the big-screen. The movie was initially released Dec. 12, 1974, in 160 theaters in full, but when it went wide by Christmas that year (437 theaters), it had 20 minutes cut out of its 3 hour, 20 minute running time in order to squeeze in an extra showtime each day in theaters.