Watch: Al Pacino, James Caan and Martin Sheen Audition for Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'

Watch: Al Pacino, James Caan and Martin Sheen Audition for Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'

Jun 26, 2013

Out of all the great little moments in this video, there's one that stands out most and it comes about four minutes in. Francis Ford Coppola is sitting around a table and telling a group of people how Al Pacino wound up with the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. Coppola wanted an up-and-coming Pacino to play Michael so badly that he continually brought the actor in to test for it, all while the studio kept pushing back in hopes of landing a bigger actor. But Coppola was addicted to Pacino, and in this aforementioned moment he admits that editor Marcia Lucas -- George Lucas' then wife and Star Wars editor -- was the one who cut Pacino's test reels together before telling Coppola that he had to hire Pacino for the role because "he undresses you with his eyes." 

It's a great note, and it's completely true. The reason why Pacino is so good as Michael Corleone is because he's able to play the character a ton of different ways all at once. He makes even the most dark and devilish pieces of dialogue seem like they're coming from the mouth of your best friend or lover; the kind of guy who'd make you feel comfortable and at ease right before he murdered you. He's just that good, and it's even clear from this video -- which also features James Caan and Martin Sheen testing for the role -- that Pacino was on the verge of stardom, even though no one at the studio liked him for the part.

Coppola stuck to his guns though, and because of it we have one of the great movies of our time. Watch the entire clip below via The Film Stage, which also embedded a complete documentary on The Godfather over at its site.

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