Watch This: If you’re going to shamelessly rip off The Godfather, this is the way to do it

Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: With Black Mass currently in theaters, and Legend on its way to them, we’re recommending gangster movies.

The Don Is Dead (1973)

When movie fans think of rip-offs, a likely candidate would be the duplicitous named works of The Asylum (Transmorphers, Lord Of The Elves). However, copying blockbuster hits is a practice as old as Hollywood itself. So when Paramount Pictures made one of the biggest cinematic splashes ever with The Godfather in 1972, Universal responded the next year with Richard Fleischer’s The Don Is Dead.

Make no mistake: The Don Is Dead never reaches for the grand portentousness of Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic work. But under the hands of Fleischer, a longtime studio craftsman with a knack for spectacle, the film has its shares of pleasures. The script …

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