Ernest Dickerson on

The Godfather

Released 1972
Distributor Paramount

One of the great American films, despite its chaotic production. Producer Al Ruddy agreed with mob leader Anthony Columbo not to use the words Mafia or Cosa Nostra in exchange for permission to shoot in New York. Burt Reynolds wanted the role of Sonny but Marlon Brando (who beat out no less than Laurence Olivier for the Godfather role) nixed him in favor of James Caan. Likewise Al Pacino won the role of Michael over the much older Rod Steiger. Oscars went to Brando for best actor, Mario Puzo and Francis Coppola for adapted screenplay and Ruddy for best picture.

About Ernest Dickerson

In the tradition of Mario Bava and Jack Cardiff, Ernest Dickerson is an Emmy and Peabody-award winning film and television veteran. The NYU grad photographed many films for director Spike Lee, including Do the Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Mo' Better Blues and Malcolm X. In 1992 he made his feature directorial debut with Juice and has been working steadily ever since with credits like Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Bulletproof, Bones and Never Die Alone. Dickerson's acclaimed TV work includes AMC's The Walking Dead and Low Winter Sun, Showtime's Dexter, and HBO's The Wire and Treme, for which he won a 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Director.