Watch: Robert De Niro’s Sonny Corleone Audition for ‘The Godfather’

Forty-three years ago this week, The Godfather premiered in New York City. So today, we celebrate Robert De Niro.

What’s that? De Niro wasn’t in the original Godfather? Of course we know that. He didn’t join the series until 1974’s until The Godfather Part II… but not through lack of trying. De Niro auditioned to play Sonny Corleone in the first film, but as history has shown he lost the part to James Caan. Even with the short clip of De Niro auditioning above, it’s hard to imagine anyone else besides Caan playing the role. De Niro also auditioned to play Michael, Carlo, and Paulie, but ended up leaving the project to star in The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, which was originally supposed to star Al Pacino.

De Niro’s performance as the young Vito Corleone in the second film scored him his first Oscar, so it all worked out in the long run, right? Anyway, check out what could have been in the clip above.

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