Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Victoria Lucia

Godfather Screenplay PDF Download

"The Godfather" is undoubtedly one of the most famous and revered films of all time! Elevating the gangster movie into an epic tale of family, love, and betrayal, "The Godfather" screenplay is a must-read for screenwriters! Intrigued? Looking to learn more? Well, how about I make you an offer you can't refuse? Get "The Godfather" screenplay PDF download, and keep reading along for my breakdown of the script!

Godfather Screenplay PDF Download

Who wrote "The Godfather"?

"The Godfather" started as a novel by the American author Mario Puzo. Puzo wrote numerous crime novels about the mafia, short stories, and screenplays. When it came time to write "The Godfather" script, Puzzo received help in the form of co-writer and acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola directed all three of the films in "The Godfather" trilogy and other famous films such as "Apocalypse Now" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

When did "The Godfather" come out?

The first Godfather movie was released on March 15, 1972. The sequel, "The Godfather Part II," was released on December 20, 1974. The final film, "The Godfather Part Part III" premiered on December 25, 1990. In December 2020, a recut of the final film called "The Godfather" Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone was released, described to be the version of the film that Puzo and Coppola's originally dreamed of.

SoCreate Subscriptions Coming Soon!

Beta trials are full, but you can sign up to be notified once our subscription service begins.

What is "The Godfather" About?

"The Godfather" franchise focuses on the trials and tribulations of the powerful mafia family, the Corleones. The first film spans 1945-1955 and depicts a major change in the family, a transition of power. Patriarch Vito Corleone dies, and reluctant son Michael must take charge and lead the family.

"The Godfather" Screenplay Breakdown

Here's a breakdown of "The Godfather" screenplay using the five plot points.

We establish the world of the story at a Corleone family wedding. The head of the family, Don Vito Corleone, takes meetings in his office away from the festivities. We meet protagonist Michael Corleone. He's recently returning from a military stint and introducing his girlfriend, Kay Adams, to his family. He describes some of the violence and crime associated with his family's business but assures her, "That's my family, Kay. It's not me." Michael has no plans of joining his family's business.

  1. INCITING INCIDENT

    Don Vito takes a meeting with narcotics trafficker Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo. Sollozzo requests an investment from Don Vito for a heroin trafficking venture that he's working on with another mafia family, the Tattaglias. The Don turns him down, fearing that any involvement with drugs could jeopardize his hard-earned political connections.

  2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

    An attempt is made on Don Vito's life, and he is shot in the street. While on a date with Kay, Michael sees a newspaper headline about the assassination attempt. Michael heads home to be with his family.

  3. FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)

    Michael works with his brother, Santino "Sonny" Corleone, who is now leading the family, to set up a meeting under the pretense of bringing a truce to the situation with Sollozzo. In reality, Michael has realized that the threat against his father's life won't stop and plans to murder Sollozzo. Michael succeeds in killing Sollozzo and flees to Sicily, where he's protected.

  4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

    Following Michael's actions, warfare breaks out amongst the various Mafia crime families. When Sonny is ambushed and killed, Don Vito takes a meeting with the rival families. He agrees to stop opposing the narcotics business and pledges not to avenge Sonny's murder in exchange for Michael's safety. Michael can return home, marry Kay, and take his place as the new head of the family.

  5. THIRD ACT TWIST

    Don Vito warns Michael of danger from the rival families before he dies from a heart attack. Michael plans hits against the rival families during his niece's baptism. Michael undergoes a symbolic baptism of blood as he engages in his family's violence, which he never intended to be a part of. He succeeds in taking out key players and assures that The Corleone family is safe to carry on its legacy.

And that's "The Godfather"! I hope this script helped show you how screenplay structure can be broken down into key beats. Read "The Godfather" screenplay or check out the film if you haven't seen it, and see if you can follow along with the breakdown above. Happy writing!

You may also be interested in...

How Many Scenes Are in a TV Show Script?

How Many Scenes Are in a TV Show Script?

A televisions script is a little like a regular screenplay, but also different in some fundamental ways. The number of scenes will vary by the length of your show, its number of acts, and the type of show you’re writing. If you’re sitting down to write your first television script, worry less about the following guidelines and more about the number of scenes it takes to tell your story effectively. You can always cut down the number, shorten the length, or change things to make the script fit a specific mold later. But in this day and age, hard and fast rules about television writing are becoming rare since there aren’t ...

Acts, Scenes, and Sequences - How Long Should Each Be in a Traditional Screenplay?

If I had to name my favorite adage, it’s that rules are for breaking (most of them - speed limits are exempt!), but you must know the rules before you can break them. So, keep that in mind as you read through what I’d call “guidelines” to the timing of acts, scenes, and sequences in a screenplay. There’s a good reason for these guidelines, though (just like speed limits 😊) so don’t stray too far off the mark or you might pay for it later. Let’s start from the top. A 90-110-page screenplay is standard and produces an hour and a half to two-hour long film. TV networks may prefer an hour and a half because they can...

What is a Story Grid?

What is a Story Grid?

There are many different techniques and approaches to help writers tell their stories. Have you ever heard of a story grid? A story grid helps writers decipher how their story works – or doesn't – so they can figure out how to fix structural issues. Keep reading to find out what is a story grid and how to utilize it to write your next novel or screenplay! What is a Story Grid? A story grid is a tool created by author and editor Shawn Coyne to help writers and editors analyze a story. It helps writers figure out what structural parts of their story work and what parts don't. The Story Grid claims to hone in on exact points where ...