History welcomes you to “The Godfather Legacy”

The Corleones. People have been talking about them, obsessing on them, quoting them and referencing them for more than 40 years, since Mario Puzo’s pulpy little bestseller first took hold of the reading public. But it was the story’s incredible transition to the screen in the deft hands of director Francis Ford Coppola that really made the Corleone family — and everything those two words now imply — an indelible part of the American psyche. And over the decades, neither they nor the films that brought them to us have lessened in impact. In recognition of this achievement, History will present The Godfather Legacy tomorrow night, July 24 at 9pm ET, examining the phenomenon of how the story of a ruthless crime family insinuated itself into the fabric of our culture.

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The Godfather Legacy, narrated by The SopranosMichael Imperioli, puts the Corleone family saga’s enduring popularity in context, examining how its 1972 release during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal offered a metaphorical new vision of America: One in which a group of countercultural outsiders made its fortune manipulating the system with its nefarious web of crooked cops and corrupt politicians.

Through interviews with historians, scholars, law enforcement agents and real-life Mafiosi, The Godfather Legacy illustrates how these power-driven, fatally flawed characters resonated with the public and transformed the popular culture. Additional insight from director Coppola, Al Pacino, James Caan, Joe Mantegna, Talia Shire and others, as well as a good number of memorable clips from the trilogy make The Godfather Legacy can’t-refuse TV for anyone who’s a fan of the Oscar-winning film series.

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Photo: ™ & © by Paramount Pictures