the brilliant restaurant scene in The Godfather

My Top 20:

  1. The Godfather
  2. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  3. Cabaret
  4. Sleuth
  5. Deliverance
  6. The Emigrants
  7. Play It Again Sam
  8. Murmur of the Heart
  9. Tokyo Story
  10. Limelight
  11. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (* But Were Afraid to Ask)
  12. Fat City
  13. Travels with My Aunt
  14. Frenzy
  15. The Heartbreak Kid
  16. Jeremiah Johnson
  17. Fellini’s Roma
  18. The Hot Rock
  19. Early Summer
  20. Mon Oncle Antoine

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Godfather
  • Best Director:  Bob Fosse  (Cabaret)
  • Best Actor:  Marlon Brando  (The Godfather)
  • Best Actress:  Liza Minnelli  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Joel Grey  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Eileen Heckart  (Butterflies are Free)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Godfather
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Candidate
  • Best Foreign Film:  The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Cabaret
  • Best Director:  Bob Fosse  (Cabaret)
  • Best Actor:  Laurence Olivier  (Sleuth)
  • Best Actress:  Liza Minnelli  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Joel Grey  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jeannie Berlin  (The Heartbreak Kid)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Godfather
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Candidate

Tokyo Story (1953, U.S. release 1972 - the film widely regarded as Ozu's best)

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. The Godfather –  #6
  2. Tokyo Story –  #10
  3. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie –  #163
  4. Late Spring –  #190
  5. Le Samourai –  #240
  6. Cabaret –  #270
  7. Deliverance –  #295
  8. Limelight –  #370
  9. Fat City –  #606
  10. Fellini’s Roma –  #649

Top 5 Films  (Consensus 1972 Best Picture Awards):

  1. Cabaret
  2. The Godfather
  3. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  4. Deliverance
  5. The Emigrants

Top 10 Films  (1972 Awards Points)

  1. Cabaret –  1762 points
  2. The Godfather –  1286 points
  3. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie –  532 points
  4. The Poseidon Adventure –  495 points
  5. Sleuth –  426 points
  6. Deliverance –  411 points
  7. Sounder –  409 points
  8. The Heartbreak Kid –  348 points
  9. The Emigrants –  348 points
  10. Travels with My Aunt –  263 points

Top 5 Films  (Box Office Gross):

  1. The Godfather –  $134.96 mil
  2. The Poseidon Adventure –  $93.30 mil
  3. What’s Up Doc –  $57.14 mil
  4. Deliverance –  $46.12 mil
  5. Jeremiah Johnson –  $44.69 mil

AFI Top 100 Films:

  • The Godfather –  #3  (1998)  /  #2  (2007)
  • Cabaret –  #63  (2007)

Ebert Great Movies:

  • The Godfather
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgesoisie
  • Tokyo Story
  • Late Spring
  • Mon Oncle Antoine

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

the brilliant Laurence Olivier and nearly as brilliant Michael Caine in Sleuth (1972)


  • Best Picture:  The Godfather
  • Best Director:  Francis Ford Coppola  (The Godfather)
  • Best Actor:  Laurence Olivier  (Sleuth)
  • Best Actress:  Liv Ullmann  (The Emigrants)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Al Pacino  (The Godfather)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Suzanne Tyrell  (Fat City)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Godfather
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Murmur of the Heart


  • Best Picture:  The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  • Best Director:  Luis Bunuel  (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie)
  • Best Actor:  Charlie Chaplin  (Limelight)
  • Best Actress:  Liza Minnelli  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Joel Grey  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jeannie Berlin  (The Heartbreak Kid)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Play It Again Sam
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Godfather
  • Best Director:  Francis Ford Coppola  (The Godfather)
  • Best Actor:  Laurence Olivier  (Sleuth)
  • Best Actress:  Liza Minnelli  (Cabaret)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Al Pacino  (The Godfather)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Jeannie Berlin  (The Heartbreak Kid)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Godfather
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Murmur of the Heart
  • Best Editing:  The Godfather
  • Best Cinematography:  The Godfather
  • Best Original Score:  The Godfather
  • Best Sound:  The Godfather
  • Best Art Direction:  The Godfather
  • Best Visual Effects:  The Poseidon Adventure
  • Best Sound Editing:  The Godfather
  • Best Costume Design:  The Godfather
  • Best Makeup:  Cabaret
  • Best Original Song:  “Speak Softly Love”  (The Godfather)
  • Best Foreign Film:  Cries and Whispers

"Leave the gun. Take the cannolis."

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  The Godfather
  • Best Line  (Dramatic):  “Leave the gun.  Take the cannolis.”  (Richard Castellano in The Godfather)
  • Best Line  (Comedic):  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”  (Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in What’s Up Doc)
  • Best Opening:  The Godfather
  • Best Ending:  The Godfather
  • Best Scene:  the baptism / killing scene in The Godfather
  • Best Ensemble:  The Godfather
  • Sexiest Performance:  Liza Minnelli in Cabaret
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Diane Keaton in Play It Again Sam
  • Coolest Performance:  Burt Reynolds in Deliverance
  • Funniest Film:  Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
  • Worst Film:  Ben

Film History: Home Box Office (HBO) begins, the start of the new concept of premium cable channels.  Deep Throat becomes the biggest adult film of all-time, prompting record crowds and reviews from major reviewers, including Roger Ebert and it gains more publicity later in the year when Bob Woodward of the Washington Post uses that name for his source on the Watergate burglaries and cover-up.  The adult cartoon Fritz the Cat is released.  Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time in 20 years to receive an honorary Oscar.  A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles rules that the likeness of Bela Lugosi as Dracula is so well-known that his heirs can make money on it and that Universal Pictures must hand over money that the studio has made on the likeness.  Jane Fonda travels to North Vietnam, Frank Sinatra testifies in front of Congress about organized crime and everyone involved with Deep Throat is prosecuted for the interstate transportation of pornographic materials.  Influential columnist Louella Parsons dies at the age of 91.  1930’s stars Maurice Chevalier and Miriam Hopkins both die.  George Sanders commits suicide on 25 April.

Academy Awards: Cabaret sets a record that still stands by winning 8 Oscars but failing to win Best Picture.  The Godfather becomes the first film in five years to win Best Picture without Best Director and Francis Ford Coppola becomes only the second director to win the DGA and fail to win the Oscar.  Cabaret does something that has only happened once before and will only happen once again – wins four different head to head categories with a film (Supporting Actor, Director, Editing, Sound), but loses Best Picture.  The other two films that did this (The Informer and Saving Private Ryan), also won Best Director.  Limelight wins Best Original Dramatic Score for Charlie Chaplin even though it was originally released in 1952, because it did not play in L.A. and thus become Oscar eligible until 1972.  The rules will be changed the following year so that films are only eligible until the end of the following year after their initial release and if they have not played in L.A. by then, they are no longer eligible for the Academy Awards.  The Poseidon Adventure (if you include the special award for Visual Effects) earns 9 nominations, tying They Shoot Horses Don’t They for most nominations without a Best Picture nomination.  It also becomes the first film in 12 years (and only third ever) to earn nominations for the 5 main technical awards (Editing, Cinematography, Score, Sound, Art Direction), but not Picture.  For the first time since 1964, no film is nominated for Director and Screenplay but not Picture.

On the one hand, they recognized the brilliance of The Godfather by naming it Best Picture, they gave the Best Foreign Film Oscar to Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and they did such a fantastic job with Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress that I agree with all 10 nominees for the only time in history.  On the other hand, The Godfather lost most of its nominations and failed to earn a nomination for its amazing art direction.  Even more stunning, the cinematographer’s branch went with the mediocrity of Butterflies are Free and “1776” rather than the brilliant work in The Godfather, Sleuth, Deliverance or The Emigrants.  And the biggest omission isn’t really the academy’s fault – it belongs to those people in Sweden who thought to put up The New Land as their official nominee rather than Cries and Whispers, one of the greatest films ever made (the Academy would, at least, have the sense to nominate it for Best Picture the following year).

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Song – Original to the Picture for “The Morning After” from The Poseidon Adventure
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Cinematography for Butterflies are Free
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Cinematography for The Godfather
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Ben
  • Best Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Play It Again, Sam
  • Best Foreign Film Submitted But Not Nominated:  The Master and Margaret
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Cinematography
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Actress
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Picture, Screenplay – Based on Material from Another Medium, Actress, Visual Effects

Golden Globes: Cabaret sets a new record with 8 nominations and takes home Picture – Comedy or Musical, Actress – Comedy or Musical and Supporting Actor.  The Godfather comes in with 7 nominations and ties the record with 5 wins, taking home Picture – Drama, Director, Screenplay, Actor – Drama and Score.  The Godfather also ties the record for most points (455 – both records tied with Love Story and both records still stand).  The other three films with Picture and Director nominations – Avanti, Deliverance and Frenzy – combine for 15 nominations but only 1 win.  Avanti and Frenzy become the first films since 1965 to get nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay at the Globes but not Best Picture at the Oscars and the first ever (and still only ever) to receive those three Globe nominations and no Oscar nominations whatsoever.

Awards: For the first time in eight years, the National Board of Review starts going first again, naming Cabaret Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.  The National Society of Film Critics continue with their trend of foreign films, going with The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie for Best Picture and Director and giving Best Screenplay and Cinematography to Cries and Whispers.  They agree with the NBR on Best Actress (Cicely Tyson for Sounder), but give Best Actor to Al Pacino for The Godfather, while he tied for Best Supporting Actor from the NBR.  The New York Film Critics then chimed in, giving Cries and Whispers Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actress.

The Directors Guild gives Best Director to The Godfather with nominations for Cabaret, Deliverance, Sounder and Slaughterhouse-Five.  All five also earn Writers Guild nominations with The Godfather and Cabaret winning the adapted categories and Slaughterhouse-Five becomes the only film since 1956 to earn DGA and WGA nominations but not earn a single Oscar nomination.  The other two WGA winners are The Candidate (which wins the Oscar) and What’s Up Doc (which, along with the other four nominees for Best Comedy Written Directly to the Screen – Get to Know Your Rabbit, Hammersmith is Out, Minnie and Moskovitz and The War Between Men and Women, fails to earn any Oscar nominations).  Cabaret wins the American Cinema Editors over The Godfather and The Poseidon Adventure while The Poseidon Adventure and The Getaway win the Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards.

The BAFTAs consist of three 1971 Oscar nominees (The Last Picture Show, The French Connection, A Clockwork Orange), all of which lose to CabaretCabaret becomes only the fourth film to reach double-digit nominations at the BAFTAs but while the previous three films combined for only three awards, Cabaret takes home Best Picture, Director and Actress among its 6 awards (losing Screenplay to The Last Picture Show, which also takes home both Supporting Acting awards).  The Godfather simply settles for winning Best Score among its four nominations.  With the BAFTA and Oscar calendars not in perfect alignment, this becomes the first time (and one of only two times prior to the mid-90’s) when all the BAFTA nominees are also Oscar nominees for Best Picture.

Play It Again Sam is not technically a Woody Allen film, but it bears all of his marks.

Under-appreciated Film of 1972:

Play It Again, Sam (dir. Herbert Ross)

The first thing you see after the final scenes from Casablanca is an extreme close-up of Woody Allen’s face.  It is distorted and seems out of place, with all of those freckles almost leaping off the screen at us.  It almost seems like it wants to warn us: this is your hero and he’s a complete schlub.  He might worship Bogart with every fiber of his being, but make no mistake.  He is not Bogart.

Why, precisely, he is not Bogart is what this film is about.  This film provides much of what later would become the key to Allen’s success: the friendship with Tony Roberts, the relationship with Diane Keaton, the adventures of a smart man in a world that isn’t made for smart, short, red-headed men (this film contains his great line from his comic standup days: “I don’t tan.  I stroke.”).  This film belongs to that period that Allen would later refer to as “your early funny films” when lambasting his own career and critics in Stardust Memories.  Yet, while it is just as ignored by the various critics and awards groups as his other early films (prior to Annie Hall, Allen wrote and directed the following films: What’s Up Tiger Lily, Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, Sleeper and Love and Death; the combined awards haul for those six films, worshiped by Allen’s fans is three WGA nominations), it lacks the kind of cult that has spring up around a film such as Sleeper.  Part of that is because this film, based on Allen’s own play, is focused more on the plot and characters and less on the gags then his other early films.  The other is that he didn’t direct the film.  It seems odd at first: we have a typical Allen film, with a typical Allen character, written by Allen and starring Roberts and Keaton, yet Allen didn’t actually direct it.  I think that is the main reason it tends to escape notice.  It never appears on the list of films that he directed and so people often tend to pass it by.

It’s wrong to do this.  This is some of Allen’s best writing.  He naturally develops the romance between himself and Keaton, unlike in later years, where his scripts would come up with all sorts of odd explanations for why younger, quite attractive actresses were with him.  This is Diane Keaton at her most adorable, not yet as good an actress as she would later be in Annie Hall or Reds, but more appealing.  She is believable in every way, and in fact, might be more believable in the final scene, so perfectly borrowed from Casablanca (I would say stolen, where they not so blatant about where it came from) than Ingrid Bergman was because she has done such a good job of establishing how vulnerable her character is at that point and how susceptible she is to this perfect suggestion of what she should do.  Then there is Tony Roberts, hilariously always on the phone explaining where he will be for the next 15 minutes in those early days before beepers or cell phones.

But in the end, this film belong to Allen.  Whether he is being beaten into submission by his hair dryer, accidentally destroying a record or sitting in the dark, worshiping at the altar of Bogart (and who doesn’t worship there?) he is more winning and charming in this film (set in San Francisco due to a strike in New York at the time of filming, but that’s nice because it sets it apart from other Allen films) than in any of his own films.  It lacks the pacing of an Allen film and no one will be placing Herbert Ross in the list of top 20 directors of all-time, but it is a very good film and somehow has been lost in the haze of the early funny films.