For gearheads, the cars used in The Godfather are nearly as memorable as the human characters. Here’s a quick look back at a few of the vehicles that starred in the ground-breaking 1972 film.
The Godfather is a noteworthy movie on a number of counts, but if you’re an auto enthusiast, the cars surely caught your eye. Director Francis Ford Coppola is a bit of a car guy himself and populated the movie with a number of striking period vehicles. Here are but a few.
In the scene that became famous for the line, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” Mafia soldier Paule Gatto (John Martino) is assassinated by his own gangmates while sitting behind the wheel of a 1941 Packard Super Eight One Eighty Sport Brougham. Note the Statue of Liberty in the background, a powerful bit of Coppola symbolism.
Early in the film, this shot of the California mansion of movie mogul Jack Woltz (John Marley) used a 1937 Cord 812 parked in the driveway to help establish that the studio boss was a man of wealth and taste. Parked at the front door is the posh 1946 Cadillac 75 sedan used to carry Corleone family attorney Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) to the airport.
In the scene where Michael Corleone’s Sicilian bride Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli) is murdered in a violent car bombing, Italian car fans may have grieved more for the rare Alfa Romeo Berlina that was destroyed in the explosion: a 6C 2500 Freccia d’Oro (“Golden Arrow”), Alfa’s first postwar production model.
This 1954 Packard 5426 long-wheelbase limousine by Henney, one of around 100 produced that year, provided impressive executive transport for young mob boss Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), just visible in silhouette in the rear seat wearing his familiar Homburg.
In the Vito Corleone funeral scene, a block-long procession of Cadillac flower cars was used to illustrate that the gang leader and family patriarch (played by Marlon Brando) was a powerful and important man indeed.
For the memorable scene in which Sonny Corleone (James Caan) was lured into an ambush by his brother-in-law Carlo and brutally gunned down on the Jones Beach Causeway, three 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupes were reportedly used: a hero car for the lead-in shots, a second car rigged with explosive charges to simulate gunfire, and a third Continental pre-riddled with bullet holes. The unharmed hero car still exists today and traded hands at auction in 2012.