The Godfather Without Brando?: Coppola Explains How It Almost Happened

It’s hard to imagine The Godfather, the iconic 1972 film, without Marlon Brando. But that’s almost how it turned out.

During casting, Paramount executives originally pushed for Laurence Olivier. But when he couldn’t take the film, and when the director, Francis Ford Coppola, asked them to consider Brando, they initially responded: “Marlon Brando will never appear in this motion picture.” Above, Coppola and co-star James Caan explain how the execs were eventually cajoled into changing their minds, and how the classic film fell into place. As you watch this, also keep in mind that Paramount initially asked two other directors (Sergio Leone and then Peter Bogdanovich) to make The Godfather before approaching Coppola, plus they later wanted Robert Redford or Ryan O’Neal to play Michael Corleone. But Coppola, who threatened to quit the production, got his way and put the relatively unknown Al Pacino into the film. The rest, as they say, is history….

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