This godfather timeline depicts a 1972 American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He co-wrote the screenplay with Mario Puzo, based on Puzo's best-selling 1969 novel of the same name. Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, and Diane Keaton starred in the film. It is the first part of The Godfather trilogy. The plot follows the Corleone family from 1945 to 1955, focusing on the transformation of Vito Corleone's youngest son, Michael Corleone (Pacino), from reluctant family outsider to ruthless mafia boss. Before the novel became popular, Paramount Pictures paid $80,000 for its rights. The studio executives had difficulty finding a director; the first few candidates declined the position.