'Godfather' Writer Mario Puzo’s Literary Archive Up for Auction

'The Godfather' (1972)

Marlon Brando stars as Don Vito Corleone, the patriarch of a mob empire who passes his dynasty on to his reluctant son (played by Al Pacino) in Francis Ford Coppola's classic crime film. The Godfather was awarded three Oscars in 1973 (best picture, best actor and best adapted screenplay) and spawned two equally successful sequels: The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990).

Acclaimed Godfather writer Mario Puzo’s literary archive is being sold by Boston auctioneers RR Auction. The 45-box collection is being sold as one set and is full of cool Godfather-related items. The pre-sale estimate is $400,000.

Among the gems are a March 7, 1970, letter from Puzo to Marlon Brando broaching the idea of him starring in a movie version of the novel, which wouldn’t be published for another three weeks. The note demonstrated that Brando’s name was bandied about much earlier than most recognize.

Also included are nine partial in-progress copies of the original Godfather script that are full of Puzo’s (and director Francis Ford Coppola’s) hand-written annotations, such as variations on the “Luca Brassi sleeps with the fishes” and “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” lines.

There is also a 774-page draft of the novel (original title: Mafia) and work on other screenplays, including 1974’s Earthquake and 1978’s Superman (he was brought in at Brando's insistence).

The decision by RR and the Puzo heirs, who own the collection, to sell it in one piece is great. The most value is in the whole and not in having the few prize pieces cherry-picked out. The collection will likely attract a lot of attention from institutions — universities and museums — as well as private collectors.

Online bidding for the auction begins Feb. 11 and ends on Feb. 18 at 6 pm E.T. More details and a preview can be found here.