• Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

  • The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather
  • By: Mark Seal
  • Narrated by: Phil Thron
  • Length: 15 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (605 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This “wickedly pacey page-turner” (Total Film) unfurls the behind-the-scenes story of the making of The Godfather, 50 years after the classic film’s original release.

The story of how The Godfather was made is as dramatic, operatic, and entertaining as the film itself. Over the years, many versions of various aspects of the movie’s fiery creation have been told - sometimes conflicting, but always compelling. Mark Seal sifts through the evidence, has extensive new conversations with director Francis Ford Coppola and several heretofore silent sources, and complements them with colorful interviews with key players including actors Al Pacino, James Caan, Talia Shire, and others to write “the definitive look at the making of an American classic” (Library Journal, starred review).

On top of the usual complications of filmmaking, the creators of The Godfather had to contend with the real-life members of its subject matter: the Mob. During production of the movie, location permits were inexplicably revoked, author Mario Puzo got into a public brawl with an irate Frank Sinatra, producer Al Ruddy’s car was found riddled with bullets, men with “connections” vied to be in the cast, and some were given film roles.

As Seal notes, this is the tale of a “movie that revolutionized filmmaking, saved Paramount Pictures, minted a new generation of movie stars, made its struggling author Mario Puzo rich and famous, and sparked a war between two of the mightiest powers in America: the sharks of Hollywood and the highest echelons of the Mob.”

“For fans of books about moviemaking, this is a definite must-read” (Booklist).

©2021 Mark Seal. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great book that draws from many, many sources

Every time I find the definitive book, someone comes out with another.

Because the film is now fifty years old many of the creators are no longer with us. At the Academy Awards this year even Francis is showing his age, but he graciously gave credit to Robert Evans publicly for the movie coming together. If you want to know why that was a monumental moment in the history of cinema- or at least this terrific movie, this book will help. The author almost certainly did some interviews himself, but he openly admits that he has drawn from fifty (or more) years of interviews, articles and documentary information. Mark Seal has delivered an authoritative history of one of the greatest films in cinema history.

The detail is amazing, even before the film is a thought in anyones mind. He tells a detailed, yet still concise history of Mario Puzo creation of the novel, the deals he went through, risks he took, and recklessness he embraced. It's a great story even before a brilliant, yet still young and untried, director named Francis Ford Coppola entered the picture.

If you're a fan of The Godfather, cinema history, or filmmaking in general this book will be right up your alley. It's well told and detailed. It surpasses The Godfather Legacy by Harlan Lebo (a darn good book in it's own right) and uses it as a primary source. Then it includes 25 more years of scholarship to create the definitive book on the subject- and maybe the last one while several key players are still with us.

The narration was well done. Phil Thron didn't do impressions, but he changed his voice enough to match the characters he was quoting- those who have a distinctive cadence or voice.

I know I'll listen to it again, probably on my next long road trip. There are lots of great stories associated with this film. If we're very lucky Mark Seal will have culled enough material for books on G2 and G3 as well.

5 people found this helpful

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  • DF
  • 06-25-22

Great story. Compelling characters.

Breezed through it. Great supplement to a rewatching of The Godfather. Do it. It won't waste your time.

2 people found this helpful

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Made me feel like the movie producer!

Great story about the making of one of the epic movies of all time. Mark Seal does a great job of putting the reader right on the movie set!

2 people found this helpful

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One of the best listens

One of the best listens. You'll want to watch the movie again after this listen.

2 people found this helpful

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An ofter you can’t refuse

I loved the movie and loved this book too. All of the behind the scenes stories and just how difficult it was to bring it all together is entertaining and fascinating. I keep hindsight is 20 20, but the thought of anyone BUT Brando, Pacino, Caan, Duvall and Keaton in the roles and the Nino Rota soundtrack is hard to imagine.

2 people found this helpful

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Awesome story behind the best movie ever!

If you are a fan of The Godfather, this is a must listen, it’s long, but then again, so was the movie. The author tells the entire history of the original film including the writing of the book, casting, filming, etc. it’s filled with amazing stories and details about this movie came to fruition. It’s interesting and funny with lots of references to the film that are nostalgic. Definitely was worth my time and money.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable

As a fan of The Godfather, I found this book fascinating. I watched “The Offer” so it seemed only natural to follow up with this book. Phil Thron gives a great performance. He reads as if he was there through the entire production. I recommend this book to anyone who has a love for movie making and background.

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Great telling of a great story

If you’re into behind the scenes doc-books, you can’t do much better than this. Incredible detail told I’m a whistful, thorough way. I couldn’t put it down. Great fun to read after just reading The Godfather as well!

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Fascinating

The Godfather is an all time great - and I might be one of the only people who likes the book better than the movie. This is a compelling account into how it all came together. Terrific narration brings it home. As with the movie, it’s a little too long for my taste. Could have been a few hours shorter and still told the story.

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Perfect! Truly did not want it to end

Fabulous book about a classic movie, The Godfather! Rich in details and never known stories, i can’t wait to watch the movie again to see all that i missed! well worth the time to listen! barbara capozzi

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-22

Bada-bing

If you like the Godfather ..you’ll love this insight into the making of perhaps one of the best films ever made 👌🏼

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 05-12-22

Very well researched

A very worthy book about the greatest film ever made.
Great performance and the book is so well researched.

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  • Mr. Paul Byrne
  • 04-11-22

A Book You Shouldn't Refuse

Just loved every second of this fascinating, meticulously researched account of a perfect film. BADA-BOOM!

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  • Ian Waxman
  • 11-28-21

The story behind the greatest of films

For anyone like me who places the Godfather (and no doubt GF2) at the very top of their all time best films lists, this is a fascinating journey into how the film came about (and almost didn’t). Learn how everyone played their part - the writer, director, producers, film studio, the actors and even the mob. Perfectly narrated. Enlightening and enjoyable.

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  • Robert Ramsay
  • 06-17-22

Referencing Gianni Russo??

Great Book, until the author references Louis (yes, that's his real name, Russo!!! Anyone who believes a single syllable utter from his mouth really needs to rethink their decisions in life. The amount of rubbish that he spews out should be recognised by the Guinness Brothers.
This should have been epic; however, due to reliance on this button, it becomes mediocre at best. 3 out of 5!!!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-10-22

Epic!

Truly rivetting stuff. If you're interested in the film or film making generally or even just enjoy a historic drama, this will keep you listening. It doesn't hurt that the narrator does accurate voice work for the main players.

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  • Mitchell J. Hall
  • 03-09-22

Very entertaining audio book.

Excellent flow and once you get a roll on with the book you just can't stop listening. Amazing structure and story content i really enjoyed this. Suitable companion for anyone who enjoyed the film or is interested in a key aspect of film history.

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