The Godfather movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Godfather filmed?

1972

About The Godfather

The Godfather is the story of the Corleone family, a New York City-based crime family in the mid-1940s. The Corleone family is only one of five mafia families that control criminal enterprises in the Big Apple. Vito Corleone used the Genco Olive Oil Company as a front for his criminal activities.

The Godfather movie was adapted into a screenplay based on the book of the same name by Mario Puzo. The original film was part of a trilogy of movies.

The opening scene introduces viewers to Don Vito Corleone, played by the famed Marlon Brando. The Don’s daughter Connie is marrying Carlo. We also meet the youngest son, Michael, and his girlfriend, Kay. We also meet the Don’s consigliere, Tom, and the Don’s godson, Johnny Fontane.

Eventually, a local drug kingpin will ask the Corleone family to not only invest in his narcotics business but to offer protection. The Don declines as it would cause confusion with his political allies. However, he will eventually be involved in a skirmish with the Tattaglia crime family. This will see the Don shot and Sonny Corleone taking over leading the activities of the family.

The Five Families will eventually go to war with one another. Michael will be sent to Sicily for his own protection. Sonny is eventually murdered, and the remaining family realizes there is a traitor among them. The traitor is finally revealed to be Carlo, Connie’s husband. By the close of the film, Michael has become the new Don - a role he will take into the sequel.

The Godfather is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, and its popularity has only increased in recent years. The film's success is due in part to its excellent cast, but more importantly, The Godfather is a well-written and tightly-plotted film that explores the dark side of the American dream and is a must-see for any fan of classic cinema.

The Godfather was a commercial success, earning over $270 million at the box office. It was also a critical favorite, winning three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In addition to its artistic merits, The Godfather is also notable for its influence on popular culture. The film popularized numerous Italian-American stereotypes, and its mix of violence and humor has been imitated by countless subsequent films. More than four decades after its release, The Godfather remains an essential work of American cinema.

City Locations

Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Savoca, Italy

Location Types

Mansion, Bar, Church, Hotel

Location Styles

Tudor Style, Baroque, Neoclassical, Italian, American

The Godfather Locations

The Godfather was shot in multiple locations, including parts of New York City (as well as some of the burroughs), Los Angeles, and two different cities in Sicily.

Francis Ford Coppola, the director, wanted the bulk of the filming to be in New York City. His request was honored; only ten percent was filmed outside the Big Apple. For scenes that needed to be shot in the film studio, East Harlem’s Filmways studio was the locale.

At the time filming began, Coppola was largely an unknown filmmaker. (Although Coppola had directed a few films, it would be The Godfather that would make his name a household one.) Paramount would eventually capitulate to Coppola’s request to film in New York once Puzo’s book sold twelve million copies. Otherwise, the company had intended to do the film shoots at Paramount production studios in Hollywood.

Fun fact:

The opening scene of the wedding used nearly 750 extras, all natives of Staten Island where the scene was shot. Also for interest, the “brick” wall around the Corleone home was made from styrofoam.

Michael Corleone and Kay Adams at Connie's wedding scene in The Godfather

110 Longfellow Avenue, Staten Island, New York, USA

The scene depicts Key Adams (Diane Keaton) and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) discussing the business of the Corleone family in the backyard near the house during Connie's wedding celebration. Johnny Fontane (Al Martino) is singing on stage when Michael begins to tell Kay a story of how he helped Johnny escape his contract with a big-band leader.

By threatening to shoot him in the head, Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana), Michael's father (Marlon Brando), assured him that either his brains or signature would be on the contract--forcing Johnny into compliance. Then, after finishing the story, Michael tells Kay confidently, "That's my family Kay, not me". Although she had begged him to tell her the entire story, she was still surprised by its gruesomeness.

The English Tudor-style house, which was constructed in 1930, is located in the Todt Hill area. The interiors of the 6258-square-foot home have been updated while the famous outside facade has been preserved during the renovation. According to Airbnb, visitors can have access to the whole property, which consists of 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, a huge saltwater pool, a game room, a gym, and a pub in the basement.

Michael Corleone meets Apollonia scene in The Godfather

Bar Vitelli, Piazza Fossia, 7, 98038 Savoca ME, Italy

Michael (Al Pacino) and his bodyguards stumble upon a group of lovely women as they travel to Corleone. One young woman, in particular, catches Michael's eye immediately. The group enters the cozy bar, Bar Vitelli, and is warmly greeted by the waiter. After talking to the waiter, one of Michael's men describes their encounter with the beautiful girl; however, the waiter becomes increasingly upset and vanishes into the bar suddenly. Somebody realizes that it must be the girl's father so Michael tells one of his men to bring him out. After apologizing to the man for his inadvertent rudeness, Michael requests the hand of his daughter in marriage. The waiter agrees and tells him that her name is Apollonia.

The sign of the Bar Vitelli, where Michael Corleone spoke with Apollonia's father, is still up. The Trimarchi family palace was renovated in neoclassical Sicilian style at the end of the 18th century, as shown on the keystone near the entrance. Despite the importance of the building's history and architecture, it is best known for its bar Vitelli Sicily, which boasts an interior filled with antique artifacts and photographs depicting the movie set, making it a tiny museum.

A stone arch and a glass ceiling offer panoramic views of the region surrounding Savoca, while an outdoor vine-covered terrace invites you to relax with the backdrop of spectacular scenery. Both inside and outside the bar, fans of history and cinema may relive the ambiance of the American cult for everyone who loves history and movies.

Michael Corleone and Apollonia Vitelli's wedding scene in The Godfather

Chiesa di San Nicolò/Santa Lucia, Via S. Nicolò, 4, 98038 Savoca ME, Italy

Michael Corleone's wedding ceremony is shown in a small church, where he (Al Pacino) and Apollonia Vitelli (Simonetta Stefanelli) are married by a priest. The sequence begins at the church of Santa Lucia's nave entrance, where Appolonia and Michael are kneeling before the priest for his blessings. To the west of the church lies Via S. Michele, which is a narrow road. The scene cuts to the marching band leading a procession down a steep path toward the town. The camera location changes again and it now shows the parade going through Via S. Michele.

The San Nicolo Church is perched in a spectacular location, high above the Ionian Sea, with views of Sicily all around. The church's origins date back many centuries; it was built in the baroque style during the 16th century. It's situated near Piazza Navona and Piazza Farnese, where the French Embassy is located, in Rome's historic center in Via Dei Banchi Vecchi. In addition to some magnificent sculptures, there are also items exhibited in the rear of the church relating to the film.

Don Corleone sends Tom to make an offer scene in The Godfather

Paramount lot, 5451 Marathon Street, Los Angeles, CA, USA

This leads to one of the most controversial scenes in all of The Godfather. For fans of the movie, you’ll remember the eventual outcome involves the head of a horse in a producer’s bed. The time was 1971, and groups like PETA hadn’t quite arrived at the status they have today. The head was real, and animal lovers were quite unhappy. We’ll discuss more in the Woltz mansion scene below.

In this scene, Tom travels to Hollywood at the behest of the Don. Don’s godson, Johnny Fontane, had performed at the wedding. He had a request for the Don as did other guests. Johnny wished for a role in a film, and he wanted the Don to provide any assistance he could.

So, Don Vito sends Tom to visit with a Hollywood heavyweight, who at first won’t concede. It takes the head of a horse in his bed to convince the producer to cast Johnny in a film. After all, the Don, “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Woltz International Pictures, where Tom goes, is represented by Paramount Studios on Marathon Street.

The horse head at Woltz’ Villa scene in The Godfather

127 Middle Neck Road/Long Island, NY, USA

When Tom goes to Hollywood, he meets with Woltz, a Hollywood producer, at his home, particularly at his stables. Woltz has a favorite horse that he babies, and Tom notes this while they talk. Woltz tries to refuse the Don’s offer, and that will be Woltz’ undoing.

The scenes involving the Woltz villa take place at Sands Point Preserve, which is actually the Guggenheim estate. This is located on Long Island. The Guggenheim family had made their initial fortune in the mining business. However, many of their descendants are also quite famous. Solomon R. Guggenheim was an art collector as well as a philanthropist; he established the Guggenheim Foundation before he passed away in 1949.

The bedroom scene was shot at Falaise, which is a part of the Guggenheim estate. It is located at 127 Middle Neck Road on Long Island. The room itself can be seen by tourists when visiting the Preserve. (Al Pacino, who plays Michael in The Godfather, would also play a major role in Scent of a Woman, which was filmed partially on the Sands Point Preserve as well.)

Michael and Kay discuss their relationship scene in The Godfather

East 55th Street/New York, NY, USA

When the war between the Five Families breaks out, the Don sends his younger son to Sicily. Michael feels safe there for a time, and he even meets a woman. Although Kay is still very much in love with Michael, Michael doesn’t believe he will be returning to the United States. He pursues a relationship in Sicily with another young woman, and they eventually marry as we mentioned in a scene and location above.

The relationship is short-lived, however. Soon, the Tattaglia family learns where Michael is hiding, and they send soldiers to eliminate one of the Don’s heirs. They are unsuccessful in killing Michael, but they do kill his new bride. Michael will eventually return to New York and Kay.

Kay has tried to get information from Sonny on Michael’s whereabouts, but Sonny has refused to divulge them. Eventually, she comes to the Corleone mansion, and she is there when Michael returns. The spark between Kay and Michael has never died.

This scene finds them staying at the St. Regis Hotel, which is now called the St. Regis New York. Tourists can visit the bar for a drink, where they may recognize the Maxfield Parrish mural in the King Cole bar. Some may decide to pop over to the Waldorf-Astoria hotel as well; St. Regis was built as a companion to the Waldorf in 1904.

Conclusion

The Godfather is one of the most renowned films in history, and its influence on cinema has been tremendous. The brilliant acting performance is bringing to life people who are wealthy and multifaceted, but perhaps unlikable at first. The mob drama will intrigue and immerse you into its world from the start, with its outstanding representation of the mafia and its technical and narrative components. The Godfather is a great example of how innovative direction, focused attention, and spectacular cast performances can combine to make a compelling movie.

The term “godfather” would eventually become a part of the American language - meaning the head of a mafia crime family - due to the film’s influence. “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” is considered the second-most recognizable line from any movie. Supposedly, real gangsters such as Sammy “the Bull” Gravano praised the film and began to emulate it as much as possible.