Although the late owner of a famous Arthur Avenue restaurant thankfully declined, he missed out on having a scene of a famous and popular movie shot in his eatery.
Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ is arguably one of the most popular movies in history, with one of the movie’s most important and famous scenes taking place during a dinner meeting inside a Bronx restaurant.
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, took his first steps in running the fictional Corleone crime family by killing another mobster and a corrupt police officer in Louie’s Restaurant, which used to be located on 3531 White Plains Road near Gun Hill Road.
What many people don’t know is that Coppola originally wanted the scene to take place at Mario’s Restaurant at 2342 Arthur Avenue, however, the restaurant’s owner and namesake, Mario Migliucci, declined the offer from the movie’s director because he wanted his restaurant to be known for it’s food and family-oriented atmosphere, not a movie scene involving mob murder.
Today, nearly 40 years after ‘The Godfather’ was released in theaters, Mario’s son Joe continues to run the family business at 72-years-old and does not regret his father’s decision in turning down the movie offer.
“I remember telling my father that he should’ve let the scene be filmed in the restaurant,” Migliucci said. “But he took a lot of pride in the reputation of our restaurant. He was honored to have been asked to have the scene take place here, but he wanted Mario’s to be known for what it was, not a movie scene.”
Mario passed away in January 1998, but always told his family how he never regretted turning down the opportunity to have the scene take place at their restaurant even though ‘The Godfather’ became one of the most acclaimed movies in history.
The novel ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo, in which the movie was based on, had originally referenced Mario’s Restaurant as the location of the scene and Coppola wanted to portray the scene in the movie the way it was mentioned in the book.
Although Joe Migliucci had approved a scene from HBO’s hit series ‘The Sopranos’ to be filmed in the restaurant in 1999, he believes his father would have enjoyed having the show filmed there because it only portrayed the cast eating dinner after a Billy Joel concert, not a murder scene.
“I want people to understand that the only reason my father didn’t want The Godfather shot here was because of the killing that happened in the scene,” Migliucci said.
To this day, the Migliucci family does not regret missing out on ‘The Godfather’ scene, but are still honored for being considered.