If you're a film buff or just a fan of movie history, then you probably know some of the stories behind The Godfather.

As legend has it, Francis Ford Coppola was always trying to make the movie darker, slower, more intentional. And the studio was trying to speed it up and make it brighter. They wanted sex, drugs, and violence to be massive parts of the movie, not these subtle interludes in a family drama. 

This back and forth had each party very stressed out. Not to mention Coppola was handling the crew and famous actors as well. 

Paramount had offered the gig to direct The Godfather to Arthur Penn, Elia Kazan, Richard Brooks, and Costa-Gavras... and settled for Coppola when they all turned it down. 

They even had stand-in directors visit set and be at the ready in case they had to fire Coppola. 

So why did they never pull the trigger? 

Well, one scene came into Paramount and proved that Coppola should keep the job. 

What's the Most Important Scene to Francis Ford Coppola in The Godfather?

When Michael Corleone murders Sollozzo and McCluskey, Paramount knew they had a hit on their hands. People were in awe of Pacino's performance and the rawness of the violence juxtaposed against his emotions. It was clear Coppola was onto something, and they let him finish. 

They were not disappointed. The scene stands out as one of the best in cinema history. The sound design, with the L-train getting louder and escalating as violence nears, is extraordinary. And the tension is so thick at that table you could cut it with a knife. 

It also shows Michael's character arc, going from war hero to mafioso. He never wanted to become his father, but this shows that his loyalty to his family is something he holds above all else. 

Another reason it's so great? Dramatic irony!

There's a difference of information between the audience and the antagonists in the scene. We know Michael has the gun waiting in the bathroom, but they don't. When he comes back, we expect him to shoot, but we see Michael sitting down again. He's uneasy in the situation. They think he's stressed about negotiating, but he's really stressed about killing them. 

When Michael fires, he does as he's told, remembering to leave the gun and head outside. As the plan is achieved, the movie switches gears. Michael heads to Italy, and time moves forward. 

A scene this deep and interesting secured Coppola his job and made the film a cinematic classic.

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