Nightly News | March 17, 2012
>>> finally tonight, an offer we hope you won't refuse. to watch the story of a piece of american cinematic history that hit the big screen about this time 40 years ago. and after all those years we are still uttering some of hollywood's most memorable lines given to us by the godfather.
>> it's a masterpiece of american cinema .
>> i'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.
>> the godfather tells the story of the corleones, an immigrant family from sicily. directed by francis ford coppola , it features some of the most talented actors of our time.
>> that's my family, not me.
>> for 40 years "the godfather" has been rated as one of the best movies ever.
>> it's hard to think of a film that has the reach and the influence and the durability of "the godfather."
>> everyone seems to know a quote from the movie.
>> leave the gun.
>> released in 1972 , a tumultuous time in america, the film is nostalgic and at the same time, tragic.
>> it happens to be about crime, but really it's about business.
>> it's not personal. it's strictly business .
>> and though it is sometimes criticized for the portrayal of negative ethnic stereotypes -- the film has shaped the way we think about organized crime . even for the criminals themselves.
>> you had real-life mobsters in new york. the wise guys who were not necessarily imitating old tradition as much as they were imitating what they saw in the movies.
>> mario's restaurant in the bronx was mentioned in the "godfather" book. and coppola wanted to film this scene in the restaurant. owner and executive chef joseph miluchi said it was an offer his father could and did refuse.
>> he said he didn't want that stigma of a shooting. we wanted to be known for the food and not the killing in the restaurant.
>> but years later he welcomed "sopranos" because they were eating dinner. for him, the godfather brings back memories.
>> growing up on arthur avenue and in this neighborhood, you saw a lot of things like that happening.
>> don't ask me about my business.
>> for everyone else, a look inside the world of mobsters and an american film that's stood the test of time.