The Godfather, the first instalment of Francis Ford Coppola’s three-part mafioso epic, premièred fifty years ago last month. Released in March 1972, The Godfather became a huge commercial success. By year’s end it was the highest-ever grossing film. And despite its brutal and salacious content, and its pulpy source material – which may help explain its attraction to moviegoers – it was a critical success. Pauline Kael, writing in the New Yorker, described it as ‘a great example of how the best popular movies come out of a merger of commerce and art’.