"I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." So said Marlon Brando in "The Godfather", but it could just as easily have come from Paramount vice-president Robert Evans when he plucked film school graduate Francis Ford Coppola from almost total obscurity and offered him the chance to direct the movie version of Mario Puzo's phenomenally successful bestseller.
Coppola wanted Brando as Don Corleone and Al Pacino as his son Michael, and he threatened to quit if he didn't get his way. He also cast several members of his own family, including his sister. The result was triumph: three Oscars, critical raves, and record-breaking business across the globe.
Brando priced himself out of the sequel, so Coppola cast Robert De Niro as the younger Don. Pacino returned but came down with pneumonia during the shoot, while James Caan made a brief reappearance in a flashback scene. The result? Six more Oscars, with Coppola winning the best director prize he'd lost to Bob Fosse in 1972.
16 years later, a cash-starved Coppola returned to the scene of his greatest triumph with a second sequel. Pacino returned; so did Diane Keaton. But when Winona Ryder collapsed from overwork, the director unwisely decided to give her role to his daughter Sofia.
Though Part III wasn't a disaster, it could never hope to scale the heights reached by the first two films. But that hasn't scotched persistent rumours of a fourth instalment, with Leonardo DiCaprio heavily tipped at one point to take a leading role.