If the game show Family Feud ever includes a category of most loved movies, I would be shocked if The Godfather did not secure an instant position on the list.

What is it about this film that tugs so firmly at the strings of our hearts? What sort of phenomenal masterpiece could Francis Ford Coppola possibly have created that would pass the test of time with flying colors and entertain generation after generation just as effectively as it did upon its 1972 release?

Last year, I finally decided to find out for myself. To say that I was impressed would be a drastic understatement. I was captivated by the intrinsic messages of this film, and I can safely say that I’ve watched it at least 15 times since first viewing it.

What sets The Godfather apart from the majority of modern films is its passionate and complex drama which envelops political, personal and romantic turmoil while also delivering a unique and very appropriate presentation of action.

Because of this, The Godfather is one of those unusual movies that can be enjoyed equally by both men and women.

Coppola has included a struggle for power and domination among such characters as Sonny Corleone and Carlo Rizzi in order to appeal to the hearts of his male viewers.

But Coppola has simultaneously integrated an element of romance for women’s enjoyment through such scenarios as Kay’s weakness for Michael Corleone, the man she loves, despite her inability to accept him carrying on his father’s work.

By providing a perspective from within the walls of crime, The Godfather opened the door to the style of cinematography which has audiences rooting for the “bad guys.”

Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, sits at the head of a mob family that has made its fortune in crime, yet is beloved to the people of New York.

One of the most captivating aspects of the film is that, in many respects, the authority figures are treated as the villains. The corruption on all sides is apparent from the beginning.

This transition from respect for authority figures to suspicion of their real motives is embodied through the character of Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino in what is considered his breakout role. At the film’s opening, Pacino’s character is presented to us as the innocent son of the Corleone family, having rejected the illicit doings of his father and those working for him.

As the film continues, however, Michael eventually becomes a revengeful, power hungry character, eager to carry on his father’s work and seek vengeance on those who betrayed him.

And this is just one example. The film is rich with captivating performances by all characters, making it a must-see not only because of its entertaining qualities but also because of social issues it addresses.

The Godfather is a truly timeless film responsible for launching the careers of many stars including Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and most of all, Al Pacino who continued his affiliation with mob films when he starred in Scarface in 1983.

These stars’ exceptional performances made The Godfather a legendary motion picture which has captured the hearts of countless viewers and will undoubtedly continue to do so for generations to come.