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The Exact Moment Al Pacino Realized The Godfather Was Something Special

It's been an exciting 2022 for fans of "The Godfather," first with celebration of the film's 50th anniversary on March 24, followed by the debut of the Paramount+ streaming series "The Offer" a month later. "The Offer" — based the stories of its producer Albert S. Ruddy (Miles Teller) — gives an in-depth look into the tumultuous production of director Francis Ford Coppola's classic film.

Among the many events highlighted in the series are looks at the in-fighting between the studio's corporate business office and creatives, as well as the life or death uncertainty Ruddy felt while dealing with New York mobsters who were unhappy with the idea of their story being told on the big screen. The series also delves into the risky financial decisions based on Coppola's controversial acting choices, including his insistence of casting Marlon Brando (Justin Chambers) in the principal role of Don Vito Corleone — even though the legendary actor was considered box office poison at the time.

"The Offer" also shows Coppola's (Dan Folger) passion in casting a then-relative unknown stage actor named Al Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) in the key role of Vito's son, Michael. Pacino admitted during the 50th anniversary celebration of "The Godfather" at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival that he was certain he was going to be fired from the production. That all changed, as "The Offer" highlighted, when Coppola moved up the filming of a pivotal restaurant shooting scene in "The Godfather" where in mere minutes Michael transforms from a nervous innocent into a cold-blooded executioner.

"They were going to let me go. Francis said, 'I want you to know, I believe in you.' Francis pushes that scene forward. The studio liked it," Pacino said at Tribeca, according to Deadline.

However, Pacino added, that wasn't the only time Coppola put his conviction for "The Godfather" — which led to Pacino having a major revelation.

Coppola's emotions convinced Pacino of The Godfather's greatness

Pacino said that he realized Coppola's true passion for making "The Godfather" the best film it could possibly be during the shooting of Don Vito Corleone's funeral scene, where the lack of time got the best of the venerable filmmaker. Sitting on a tombstone at the graveyard set, Coppola began "bawling his eyes out," and Pacino wondered why.

"The light had gone so they can't shoot anymore and felt they had enough ... [But Coppola] is sobbing," Pacino remembered during the Tribeca event, Deadline reported. "I said, 'What's wrong Francis?' He looked at me and said, 'They won't give me another set up."'

It was at that moment where Pacino realized the gravity of Coppola's convictions and the potential for "The Godfather."

'They wouldn't give him another shot," Pacino said. "I though, 'Huh, this may be a great film.' When you have that kind of passion that you are bawling your eyes out because of one extra shot."

Pacino's suspicions proved to right. Not only did "The Godfather" go on to win three Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Brando, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola and Mario Puzo, it was named one of the greatest films of all time by the American Film Institute.