The Godfather vs. Goodfellas — Cast Your Vote!

No doubt there have been some brilliant gangster films made over the years. “Casino,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “White Heat,” “Scarface,” “Donnie Brasco“…and I could go on and on. For this week’s “Movie Poll” I could have easily come up with 10 truly awesome gangster flicks for you to pick from. But I’m not going to do that. What’s the point? I’m just going to get right down to the two films it always comes down to anyway, and if you think otherwise, well, then….maybe you better come take a ride…you know what I mean?!

This has always been a source of great debate with me and my film buddies. The question? Which is the better gangster movie: Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” (1972) or Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” (1990)? I have my own very strong opinions on the matter, but for now, I want to see what you think.

So this week is real easy — you get two choices and two choices only…if you’ve never seen them — shame on you. If you like another film better, simply pick which film you enjoy more. Fuhgeddaboudit…it’s that easy.

Which is the Better Gangster Flick?
The Godfather

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17 Responses to The Godfather vs. Goodfellas — Cast Your Vote!

  1. Dan says:

    Very tough question. But since Goddfellas isn’t Scorsese’s best work I’ve got to go with The Godfather which certainly is Coppola’s.

  2. The Godfather is the superior film overall. It maintains the literary qualities of the book, its more of a depiction of the mafia life than an invitation to join in. If for no other reason, Gordon Willis is why the film – overall – is better.

    For my money Goodfellas is far more entertaining and finds its way into my player more often. Scorsese’s film feels more like an homage to the genre while still instilling his sensibilities into it.

    • Hey. Well, I suppose that was the dilemma in asking this question. The usual response is that Godfather is the superior film, but people “enjoy” Goodfellas more. I love both, of course. But I enjoy the Godfather films more than I do just about anything else. Don’t get me wrong – I can watch Scorsese’s pic anytime, but for my money, Coppola made one of cinema’s finest masterpieces. And great point about the adaptation. It does maintain the integrity of the novel. I also think the whole story of Coppola getting HIS cast rather than what Paramount wanted plays into the lore of the film.

  3. Pat Accordino says:

    The godfather is #1 by far. I love all of them,but my favotite is the one Robert D. plays in.
    This movie is the template for all other gangster moives.

    • DeNiro in the second Godfather is brilliant! I love those Little Italy scenes in the sequel. It actually makes it, to me, a better film than the original. Well said…I like your thinking!!!

  4. Raul Duke says:

    “Have Clemenza’s men plant the gun and I will kill them both” GF is the yardstick all others are measured by.

  5. I’m in agreement with my Don on this one (and NOT because she’s holding my family hostage…), Goodfellas is in my opinion the better one. It is a personal taste issue; I’ve only seen the first Godfather and I did like it, but if I had to pick one, Goodfellas will always be the one I pick. You gotta love Joe Pesci. Seriously. He’ll find you if you say otherwise.

    • Now you guys are justteeming up on me here! Ha! Jonathan, I agree. It’s a personal taste issue. That’s why I thought it would be a good poll question. And of course Joe Pesci is amazing in it — I would not doubt he would hunt me down for saying otherwise. You think it may be a generational thing? That the younger generation will prefer Goodfellas and older moviegoers have their loyalty to the Don?

  6. Heather says:

    Goodfellas for me. Always Goodfellas. And I effin’ love the Godfather, but even so I prefer #2 over #1. Brilliantly written, brilliantly acted directed, but then again you could say that about The Godfather too. It literally has to come down to personal taste.

    There will be a special feature on MM’s this week with some writers from other sites about gangster movies. Keep your eye out for it.

    • Well You’re the Movie Mobster, right?! Ha! When and where is this special on? I’d be very interested to watch! Thanks for the heads up. Both are extraordinary films andthe discussion will forever be up for debate. Thought it would be a fun poll question. Thanks for the comment, Heather…loving your site! I put you on my FB Magic Lantern page as a “Favorite Page”….

      • Heather says:

        I’ll be adding you over at the Mob too! I should be updating and adding on Friday or Saturday.

        Also, Saturday is when that Mob feature should be posted.

        And I’m with you on G2 and DeNiro in old Italy. Beautiful, wonderful, simplistic perfection in film making and story telling.

  7. Michael says:

    Sorry! Anyway, Godfather is numero uno by far “al mio parare” (in my opinion). It just brings this true life aspect to it. Yes, I know that Goodfellas does that as well because they ARE set in way different time periods, but the short “journey” through history makes The Godfathers (I and II) so much heavier. I wouldn’t even go as far as to say that II was better than I, because they’re both THAT good, again in my opinion. The third one, waste of money, time, resources, etc. etc. Let’s put it this way, after watching The Godfather (I and II) I totally wished I had gone a different route in life LOL. After watching Goodfellas, I’m just glad I don’t do coke.

    • Anonymous says:

      Watch Godfather III again. It’s a very strong film. It never had a shot and had so much going against it because it is being measured up to two of the greatest films ever made. Putting all of that aside, as well as Sophia Coppola in front of the camera and the strange subplot with her cousin, I think it’s a very strong piece of work…

      I liked your insight on The Godfather pics here….nicely stated. And yes, say “No” to coke!

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