As I cover the federal courts and the FBI, I would be remiss to let the day pass without noting that today, March 15, marks the 38th anniversary of the opening of the iconic mob movie “The Godfather.” The film opened in six theaters and took in a little more than $300,000 its first weekend, according to boxofficemojo.com. It opened wide nine days later and went on to haul in more than $130 million at the box office and three Oscar wins.
But numbers don’t begin to tell the story of the cultural impact of the movie. Every wiseguy and FBI agent, it seems, knows the movie by heart and can recite lines and scenes — especially if they bear any resemblance to real life events. Granted, movies like “Goodfellas” and “Donnie Brasco” provided a more accurate depiction of mob life — the scene in Brasco where brokesters are busting into parking meters for quarters was called to mind by certain of the lesser capers pulled by Greg DePalma’s crew in the last major mob takedown in our area.
But “The Godfather” and its sequel remain the gold standard for mob movies. As a friend of mine (not a friend of ours) says about the third Godfather flick, “It didn’t happen.”
Speaking of DePalma and mob movies, Benicio Del Toro has signed on to play former FBI agent Joaquin “Big Jack” Garcia in the movie version of his autobiographical tome “Making Jack Falcone,” which recounts how Garcia infiltrated and then took down DePalma’s crew and the entire hierarchy of the Gambino Crime Family by posing as a Florida jewel thief, Jack Falcone. I spoke with Jack recently and he said he’d like to see Anthony Hopkins play DePalma.
Anyway, tanti auguri di buon compleanno to “The Godfather.”