1. Marlon Brando was almost the iconic character known as Don Corleone. By the time it was 1971, Brando had made a reputation for himself despite his talent and the head of the studio did not approve of Coppola’s wish to use Brando. Eventually the head of the studio agreed to have him portray Don Corleone under three conditions: Brando would have to work less than his usual salary, be financially responsible for any filming delays he caused, and do a screen test.
2. The cat Don Corleone holds in the opening scene was not scripted. Marlon Brando found the stray roaming around the set and as a lover of animals decided to add the cat to the scene. But the cat’s purring was so loud that it ruined the sound for the scene, all of Brando’s dialogue was muffled.
3. George Lucas shot some of the footage used in the final cut of the film. He and Francis Ford Coppola had been friends before they both became well known directors, this resulted in Lucas working as an assistant on The Godfather. It was his suggestion to use the newspaper inserts to show major events in the film.
4. The cinematographer, Gordon Willis, was nicknamed the “Prince of Darkness” for his work on this film. Scenes were lit to convey the feeling of wrongdoing while also providing contrast between light and dark scenes in the film. Willis later said that the lighting was also partly a result of dealing with the heavy makeup used on Marlon Brando.
5. Why were they so many oranges? The oranges have been interpreted as a symbol of death to come when they appear in scenes throughout The Godfather. According to Dean Tavoularis, the production designer, he added the oranges to provide a contrast to the dark sets.