Even though Francis Ford Coppola carefully sketched out so much of the film, unexpected twists during filming resulted in some of The Godfather‘s biggest gems. Perhaps none had a bigger impact (in the literal and figurative sense) than Lenny Montana as the feared enforcer Luca Brasi. Montana, a 6 ft. 6 in., 320-lb. professional wrestler, was working as a bodyguard for real-life mobster Joe Colombo, who had come to the set. Coppola and producer Al Ruddy quickly cast Montana as Brasi. When we meet Luca, he’s waiting to see Don Corleone on Connie’s wedding day, practicing his greeting nervously. But that scene was shot after the one in which Luca greets the Don. When Montana stood in front of Brando, he froze and fumbled his lines. So hoping to take advantage of the misstep, Coppola later set up the scene in the garden where Luca nervously practices his lines while waiting to see the Don, implying that Don Corleone is the one man Luca Brasi fears.
The Anniversary You Can’t Refuse: 40 Things You Didn’t Know About The Godfather
On March 15, 1972, The Godfather hit movie screens. In the four decades since, it has become acknowledged as one of the greatest movies of all time. TIME has compiled the most interesting stories, anecdotes and tidbits from the film's production
Luca Brasi Fumbles His Lines
The Corleones at 40
- The Cat
- George Lucas Shot Some Footage
- That Opening Shot
- The Alternate Ending
- It Was Initially Set in the 1970s
- The Horse Head
- Coppola Wasn’t the First Choice
- There Was Originally a Different First Scene
- Very Few People Wanted Al Pacino for Michael
- Burt Lancaster as the Don?
- Brando Was Almost a No-Go
- Until His Incredible Screen Test
- Who Is This Coppola Guy?
- A Palace Coup
- The Prince of Darkness
- There Are Very Few Unorthodox Camera Shots
- Kay and the Wig
- Brando and the Cue Cards
- Pacino Hurt Himself Early in the Shoot
- Everyone Wanted to Know What Brando Looked like as the Don
- Luca Brasi Fumbles His Lines
- Lots of Bare Butt Cheeks
- What’s with All the Oranges?
- Marlon Brando Was a Real Prankster
- Luca Brasi Was a Pro at Dying
- Offensive to Italians?
- What’s the Mob?
- The Succession Scene Needed a Major Rewrite
- Death by a Thousand Bullets
- A Too-Realistic Fight
- Sofia Coppola Played a Boy
- The Baptism Montage
- Deleted Scene No. 1: Michael Shoots His Wife’s Killer
- Going to See Genco in the Hospital
- The Problem with Sinatra
- Vic Damone Was Almost Johnny Fontane
- The Film Was a Family Affair
- The Score Was Honored (and Then Rejected) by the Oscars
- Each of the Main Male Actors Got Oscar Noms
- Ushering in the Age of the Modern Blockbuster