The film "The Godfather" is considered to be one of the best motion pictures of all times and peoples. Meanwhile, this masterpiece by Francis Kopolla has never been shown in cinemas.
The fact is that the mafia Joseph Colombo was afraid of publicizing some of the details of the mafia life and declared a real war to the picture. By all means available to him, he tried to prevent the appearance of the “Godfather” on the big screens.
This confrontation began with the fact that the Italian-American Civil Rights League demanded from the company Paramount pictures that all work on the project should be immediately stopped. They argued that in the film the Italians are going to be portrayed as evil thugs, and this draws attention to discrimination.
In support of this requirement, a fundraiser was organized in New York, as a result of which $ 500,000 was found at the closing of the film. However, there is every reason to doubt the nobility of the League’s intentions. The fact is that the Italian-American Civil Rights League was founded in 1970 by Joseph Colombo, the leader of one of the five criminal families in New York.
Colombo considered himself a fighter against the oppression of the Italians in the United States. And when he learned that the Paramount film studio was going to release a gangster saga, he decided that he would lay bones, but would not allow anyone to see it.
It is not known what Colombo feared more: the fact that the Italians would be depicted stereotypically in the film, or that after the film was released too much unwanted attention was riveted on the mafia theme.
Protests and speeches on television did not produce results. And then Colombo began to pursue his much more familiar methods for him.
The gangsters began to pursue the producer of the film Albert Ruddy and, in the end, broke all the windows in his car, throwing a note in which he lucidly explained what would happen to him if he did not stop working on the film.
Executive producer Robert Evans was constantly threatened on the phone, demanding to get out of the city before they crippled him and his children. Shooting at certain sites was also impossible - the communities controlled by the mafia inserted sticks into the wheels of Kopolle. Then the unknown stole expensive filming equipment directly from under the director's nose.Twice in the New York office of the company "Paramount" called with messages about the alleged bomb.
In the end, the company “Paramount” decided to sit down at the negotiating table with the mafia. Producer Albert Ruddy met with Joseph Colombo at the Park Sheraton Hotel, where they discussed the fate of the Godfather.
Surprisingly, as it turned out, Colombo had only one requirement — to remove the word “mafia” from the script. Ruddy immediately accepted the terms of the gangster, since the word “Mafia” was written into the script from the very beginning in only one episode.
After this meeting, Colombo suddenly became interested in the idea of a gangster film. Mafiosi began to appear on the set, to help in the selection of actors, and with pleasure communicated with movie stars - with Marlon Brando, for example. Colombo even used his influence in the selection of one of the main characters. So, in his youth, the performer of the role of Carlo Rizzi (Don Corleone's son-in-law in the film) Gianni Rousseau worked for the criminal authority of Frank Costello, and he was one of those who helped to resolve minor differences between the film studio and the mob.
The end of this whole story happened unexpectedly on June 28, 1971.On this day, Kopolla filmed a scene where one of the Corleone family shoots his enemies. At the same time, literally a couple of blocks away, the assassin shot Colombo in the head.
So, Joseph Colombo, who originally intended to close the film, was himself a victim of the criminal clan, who decided that he was attracting too unwanted attention to the five mafia families of New York. Despite severe injuries, Colombo fell into a coma and died only seven years later in 1978.
And the film, with which he fought so fiercely, won an Oscar and received recognition from viewers around the world.