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‘The Godfather’ Cast Reunites for an Evening of Production Stories

The Godfather Tribeca Film Festival Panel
Tribeca Film Festival

Despite its prime location in the heart of New York City, the Tribeca Film Festival has always been regarded more as a regional film festival than a destination for big world premieres. That being said, Tribeca does have one thing that other festivals lack: unfettered access to Robert De Niro, the festival’s co-founder and cinematic advocate for all things New York. This has made Tribeca a prime destination for anniversary screenings of some of the actor’s biggest films; in 2015, for example, Tribeca hosted a 25th anniversary celebration of Goodfellas with the cast and crew in attendance. And this year, De Niro has topped himself, bringing together the men and women behind The Godfather for a frank discussion about the film.

We’ll recap some of the highlights of the panel in a moment, but you can also watch the discussion in its entirety courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival Facebook page:

If videos aren’t your thing, Vanity Fair also attended the panel and wrote out a few of the tidbits shared by De Niro et al. One such highlight was Francis Ford Coppola discussing his creative battles with the studio, including his secretary making him promise that he wouldn’t quit the movie unless Paramount fired him (thereby ensuring that he would receive severance). There are also plenty of stories of drunken revelry and debauchery on set, including a period during the wedding scene where most of the actors got drunk and began to moon each other (leading one extra to remark favorably about the, uh, anatomy of Marlon Brando).

And honestly, even if set stories and production history do not hold your interest, it’s refreshing to see an audience gather together to pay tribute to some of Hollywood’s greatest actors while they’re still working. Too often these days, we only acknowledge our favorite talents after they’ve passed, meaning that an actor can go from effectively anonymous to one of the great mourned stars of his era seemingly overnight. It’s nice to see the Tribeca Film Festival honor The Godfather movies, but it’s especially nice to see actors like Robert Duvall, James CaanAl Pacino, and Diane Keaton get their moments in the spotlight again. It’s much more fun to write a description of a fireside chat than a Hollywood obituary.

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