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The Movie David Duchovny Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando in The Godfather. (Getty Images)

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

The movie that actor David Duchovny, whose credits include the television shows The X-Files and Californication, and the films Return to Me and Phantom — currently playing in theaters— could watch a million times is Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather.


Interview Highlights

On why he loved The Godfather from the very first time that he watched it

"I think it was just the seamlessness of the storytelling, of the camerawork, the script, the acting, the music. You know, aside from that, the story that it's telling is operatic, you know, it's like a soap opera. Big things happen — big betrayals in families, life and death, bad guys and good guys — it's all in there."

On what the movie is really about

"Historically it's kind of about the history of the mafia in a way, of a certain strain of organized crime in this country that we come to call the mafia mostly because of these movies. I mean, I know people who can basically just talk in dialogue from The Godfather all day long. But aside from that, it's really the story of family and allegiance to family that supersedes any kind of morality, you know, the highest morality being your loyalty to your family rather than to a sense of right or wrong or abstract good."

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Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Occasionally on this show, we've asked filmmakers about the movies they could watch again and again, including this one from the star of the "X-Files."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID DUCHOVNY: Hi. I'm David Duchovny, actor, and the movie I've seen a million times is "The Godfather," directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and many other great actors.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

SALVATORE CORSITTO: (as Amerigo Bonasera) I believe in America.

DUCHOVNY: If I'm flipping around channels, I'll see it's on, I'll say: OK, I'll watch it for a scene or two. And then I can never turn it off.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

MARLON BRANDO: (as Vito Corleone) But let's be frank here. You never wanted my friendship. Now, you come to me, and you say: Don Corleone, give me justice. You don't even think to call me godfather. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you ask me to do murder.

DUCHOVNY: I think it was just the seamlessness of the storytelling, of the camera work, the script, the acting, the music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SPEAK SOFTLY LOVE")

DUCHOVNY: You know, aside from that, the story that it's telling is operatic, you know? It's like a soap opera. Big things happen. Big betrayals in families.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

AL PACINO: (as Michael Corleone) You're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the family again.

DUCHOVNY: Life and death and bad guys and good guys. It's all in there.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

DUCHOVNY: Historically, it's kind of about the history of the mafia, in a way...

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

AL LETTIERI: (as Virgil Sollozzo) The Tattaglia family is behind me with all their people. The other New York families will go along with anything that'll prevent a full-scale war.

DUCHOVNY: ...of a certain strain of organized crime in this country that we come to call the mafia mostly because of these movies, you know? I mean, I know people that can basically just talk in dialogue from "The Godfather" all day long.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

BRANDO: (as Vito Corleone) I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse.

PACINO: (as Michael Corleone) It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.

RICHARD CASTELLANO: (as Peter Clemenza) It's Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.

DUCHOVNY: But aside from that, it's really the story of a family and of allegiance to family that supersedes any kind of morality. You know, the highest morality being your loyalty to your family rather than to a sense of right or wrong or abstract good.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

BRANDO: (as Vito Corleone) I never, I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life - I don't apologize - to take care of my family.

DUCHOVNY: The scene where Michael has to shoot the cop, played by Sterling Hayden, in the restaurant.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

PACINO: (as Michael Corleone) What's most important to me is that I have a guarantee. No more attempts on my father's life.

STERLING HAYDEN: (as Captain McCluskey) What guarantees can I give you, Mike?

DUCHOVNY: You know, knowing that a gun has been taped in the bathroom and he's going to have to go get it at some point and use it, that's the tension of the scene. And then something is done with the sound design, with the rumbling of the subway where it just keeps on getting louder and louder and you really get inside Pacino's head.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE GODFATHER")

DUCHOVNY: This is the moment in Michael Corleone's life where he goes from being an Ivy League graduate to being a gangster. You know, he's going to commit murder. And this is when he becomes the godfather, really.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DUCHOVNY: And it was just a great, great bit of directing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HEADLEE: That's actor David Duchovny talking about the movie that he could watch a million times, Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather." Duchovny's new film, "Phantom," is in theaters now. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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