Little known fact: Sofia Coppola played a boy. In the baptism scene near the film’s end, the role of Michael Rizzi was played by an infant Sofia Coppola. Other than the people playing main characters, Sofia is the only actor to appear in all 3 films.
Little known fact: in a deleted scene, Michael shot his wife’s killer. In a scene cut from the film, Michael comes back to America to track down his former bodyguard and the man who killed his wife. Finding him, Michael blows him away with a shotgun. Though the scene was never used, the still was distributed widely during the film’s promotion.
Little known fact: each of the male main actors got Oscar nominations. Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and James Caan were all nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Marlon Brando won for Best Actor, but he turned down the Oscar, instead sending a Native-American activist in traditional Apache dress to state his reason: an objection to the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films.
Little known fact: Luca Brasi froze and fumbled his lines in his opening scene. Hoping to take advantage of the misstep, Coppola later flip-flopped scenes so in his scene Luca is nervously practicing his lines while waiting to see the Don, implying that Corleone is the one man Brasi fears.
Little known fact: the movie ushered in the age of the modern blockbuster. By 1972 when the movie was released, only two other films had earnings that approached it: Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music … In the 20 years that followed it, 58 movies would surpass it.
Little known fact: Caan and Russo’s fight might have been a little too realistic. When Caan tossed Russo over the fence, then beat him with a trash can, he allegedly broke two of Russo’s ribs and cracked his elbow. There were rumors that Caan and Russo didn’t get along well, which may have contributed to the brutality of the brawl.
Little known fact: Vic Damone was almost Johnny Fontane. The popular singer was originally cast as Johnny Fontane. He dropped out, attributing his pride in being Italian, though he would later state that it was all about the money.
Little known fact: the cat in Brando’s lap was not planned. The first nearly full-body shot of the don reveals an unexpected guest: a gray and white cat in his lap. “I saw the cat running around the studio, and he took it and put it in his hands without a word.” Coppola said. The cat’s purring nearly ruined the shot.