Francis Ford Coppola dismayed he may have inspired Boris Johnson

Image: Al Pacino In 'The Godfather: Part II'
Al Pacino in a scene from the film 'The Godfather: Part II', 1974. Copyright Archive Photos
By Patrick Smith with NBC News World News
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Coppola said he felt bad his movie had seemingly given "encouragement to someone I see is about to bring the beloved United Kingdom to ruin."


LONDON — It's a classic movie that ranks highly on many people's lists of all-time greats.

But for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it turns out his love of 'The Godfather' is not welcomed by its feted director Francis Ford Coppola.

Johnson told the Daily Mail newspaper in July, while he was campaigning to be leader of the ruling Conservative Party, that his favorite movie scene was "the multiple retribution killings at the end of 'The Godfather'."

On Thursday Financial News asked the Oscar-winning Coppola, aged 80, for his reaction — and he was not pleased.

"As incompetent as I may be to offer opinion on political matters, along with some embarrassment that 'The Godfather' seems to be the favorite film of modern history's most brutal figures, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadhafi and others, I feel badly that scenes in a gangster film might inspire any activity in the real world or [provide] encouragement to someone I see is about to bring the beloved United Kingdom to ruin," he said.

"I love the United Kingdom and its many contributions to humanity, ranging from our beautiful language and Newtonian physics to penicillin, and am horrified that it would even consider doing such a foolish thing as leaving the European Union."

Johnson was apparently referring to the famous scene at the end of 'The Godfather' where assassins murder rival mafia dons while Michael Corleone attends his nephew's baptism.

The British press made note of the 'Godfather' reference days after the interview when Johnson ruthlessly fired 11 senior ministers after winning the leadership election, one of the biggest culls in British history.

Johnson is facing an uphill struggle to keep his promise of taking the U.K. out of the European Union by the deadline of October 31.

This week he was moved to deny lying to the Queen over the reasons he gave for suspending Parliament for five weeks — the longest and most controversial shutdown since World War II.

Three of Scotland's most senior judges ruled that the suspension was unlawful because Johnson had not been entirely honest about his real reasons for the suspension. A longer version of the court's ruling is due out Friday.

Lawmakers have accused him of silencing his critics and avoiding scrutiny of his promise to enact a "No Deal" Brexit if he can't sign a new divorce agreement with the E.U. Johnson will hold talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.

Meanwhile, a less commented upon line in the same interview is Johnson's choice of favorite movie: 'Dodgeball.'

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