Al Pacino is reflecting on how The Godfather became a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1972.
The Oscar winner, 81, told The New York Times in a new interview that he is “deeply honored” by the attention and praise the film has received over the last 50 years.
“It’s a piece of work that I was so fortunate to be in. But it’s taken me a lifetime to accept it and move on,” he said. “It’s not like I played Superman.”
The Scarface actor revealed he is “surprised” when people tell him that they haven’t seen the iconic crime drama.
He added, “They’ve heard about it. You get that. ‘Oh, I heard — were you in that? That was a film, wasn’t it?'”
Pacino opened up about how taking on the role of Michael Corleone in the Francis Ford Coppola-directed film changed his life and career.
“I’m here because I did The Godfather,” he shared. “For an actor, that’s like winning the lottery. When it comes right down to it, I had nothing to do with the film but play the part.”
“It’s hard to explain in today’s world — to explain who I was at that time and the bolt of lightning that it was,” he added. “I felt like, all of a sudden, some veil was lifted and all eyes were on me. Of course, they were on others in the film. But The Godfather gave me a new identity that was hard for me to cope with.”
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Pacino admitted that he has not watched the film in two or three years.
He shared, “It’s the kind of movie when you start watching it, you keep watching it.”
The Tony winner also recalled being on The Godfather set with more experienced actors including Marlon Brando, James Caan and Robert Duvall.
“They couldn’t have been more comforting, all of them. I was young, I was unknown, and they were so comforting. There was a love there,” he said. “They understood it, Brando especially. But the others, too.”
He added, “They were becoming those older brothers and advisers that they play in the film. Those kinds of emotions and colors in them came out, both in the performance but also in life. They mesh.”