Marlon Brando: biography of the famous American actor and star of “The Godfather”

Time passes, but certain names in international cinema never die, even when they are gone. Names carved in legend and absolute reference points for lovers of a so-called vintage cinema. Marlon Brando undoubtedly belongs to this group of a select few loved and never hated by the public. He is a prominent exponent of black and white cinema that fascinated many and still today lives in the memories and minds of those who lived through those years, but also of those who did not. Marlon Brando = legend .

We see in this post by CineMagazine professional steps and private life of the famous American actor for our category dedicated to the biographies of famous actors.


  • The private life of Marlon Brando
  • The artistic career of Marlon Brando
  • The watershed for Marlon Brando: the 70s and beyond
  • Film Marlon Brando
  • Marlon Brando: more than an actor, he is an icon

The private life of Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was born on April 3, 1924 in the USA, precisely in Omaha, in the State of Nebraska. Housewife mom, chemical worker father. Therefore, modest origins .

He grows up in a family that is particularly prone to violence, considering that his father often beat both him and his mother.

A difficult childhood that marked little Marlon a lot. A very complex relationship that has moved over the years on a sentimental level and he himself has always confessed to having broken off relationships for this perennial fear of being abandoned or, even worse, mistreated by others.

The most controversial relationship in the sentimental field is associated with the figure of the legendary Anna Kashfi, the first wife with whom he married in 1957 and from whose relationship a son was born, little Christian. The marriage lasts less than a year and the separation turns out to be rather stormy, complete with a legal battle for custody of the child.

The second wife is called Movida Castaneda. Then a third wife arrives, actress Tarita Teriipia, met during the filming of a film they were making together, “Mutiny on the Bounty”. Two more children are born from this relationship, Simon and Tarita Cheyenne. Here, too, the divorce began in 1972.

In adolescence, Marlon Brando begins to appear in the world of acting, albeit as a mime. His workhorse was said to be to imitate farm animals. 

And to think that the violent behavior of the parents is also transferred to him and this can be seen from the behavior at school which gives rise to the expulsion from the high school he belongs to. A rebel in all respects.

The military school trains him not a little on a personal and professional level. In particular, the meeting with the teacher Earle Wagner illuminates him. It was he who pushed him to study acting and ride a passion that had hitherto been dormant.

Despite this, the violent nature of Marlon Brando also comes out, who also gets kicked out of military school

The artistic career of Marlon Brando

At this point the definitive idea of ​​pursuing the dream of being an actor matures in him. He moved to New York in 1943, where he had the opportunity to compare himself with other great professionals, such as Elia Kazan and Stella Adler. From them he learns a lot and focuses on the so-called Stanislavskiy method.

It is said that in the early years of learning acting, Marlon Brando revolutionized acting techniques , introducing some of his own construct. He focuses everything on the physical preparation of the character interpreted to the detriment of the psychological and essentially inner one. A subversive way of understanding the acting that made his fortunes. “A train called desire” the first ever success, first in the theater and then on the big screen.

In 1950 he made his film debut in the film “My body belongs to you”.

The turning point in the film “Harbor Front” dated 1954 and Academy Award for best actor, in which he plays the part of the longshoreman, the character Terry Malloy. Thanks to it, he achieves 8 nominations for the Oscars.

The 1950s represent the period of greatest popularity and splendor for the American actor, who even allowed himself the luxury of refusing a professional collaboration with another great legend of Italian cinema, Roberto Rossellini.

The first film directed by the director, as well as starring, took place in 1961 with “The two faces of revenge”. However, the rise seems to be a flash in the pan and the 1960s don’t let his star shine as brightly as it did in the previous decade.

The watershed for Marlon Brando: the 70s and beyond

The revival took place in the 70s through the interpretation of iconic characters such as “The Godfather”, “Last Tango in Paris” and “Apocalypse now”.

“The Godfather” is one of the historical films of Italian cinema, as well as the transversal figure of Don Vito Corleone, which once again earned him the Oscar as best actor. 

An award that he refuses to collect at the awards ceremony to protest against the discriminatory treatment suffered at the time by Native Americans by Hollywood cinema. A gesture that, with hindsight, opens the doors, in fact, to the natives themselves, thus guaranteeing a devastating social impact.

In 1978 he plays a leading role in the film “Superman”. Another flash in the pan, considering that the last few years of his career are on the horizon, decidedly subdued and not up to the fame of a great actor.

Old age looms more and more and film critics begin to snub him, denying him that priceless charm that characterized him in his first films. That rebel and nonconformist charm, in some ways, seemed to lose value and consistency over the years.

He died at the age of 80 in 2004

Film Marlon Brando

Here are the films in which Marlon Brando starred, ordered in chronological order:

  1. My Body Belongs to You (The Men), directed by Fred Zinnemann (1950)
  2. A Streetcar Named Desire (A Streetcar Named Desire), directed by Elia Kazan (1951)
  3. Long Live Zapata!, by Elia Kazan (1952)
  4. Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar), Royal by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1953)
  5. The Wild One, by Laszlo Benedek (1953)
  6. On the Waterfront, by Elia Kazan (1954)
  7. Desiree, by Henry Koster (1954)
  8. Bulli e Pupe (Guys and Dolls), edited by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1955)
  9. La casa da te alla luna d’agosto (The Teahouse of the August Moon), directed by Daniel Mann (1956)
  10. Sayonara, regia di Joshua Logan (1957)
  11. The Young Lions, by Edward Dmytryk (1958)
  12. Snake Skin (The Fugitive Kind), by Sidney Lumet (1960)
  13. One-Eyed Jacks, by Marlon Brando (1961)
  14. Mutiny on the Bounty, by Lewis Milestone (1962)
  15. Mission in the East – The Ugly American, directed by George Englund (1963)
  16. Bedtime Story, by Ralph Levy (1964)
  17. I’m going to die (Morituri), royal di Bernhard Wicki (1965)
  18. The Chase, by Arthur Penn (1966)
  19. Southwest of Sonora (The Appaloosa), by Sidney J. Furie (1966)
  20. A Countess from Hong Kong, by Charlie Chaplin (1967)
  21. Reflections in a Golden Eye, by John Huston (1967)
  22. Candy and her crazy world (Candy), by Christian Marquand (1968)
  23. The Night of the Following Day, by Hubert Cornfield (1968)
  24. Queimada, directed by Gillo Pontecorvo (1969)
  25. Suddenly, a man in the night (The Nightcomers), by Michael Winner (1972)
  26. The Godfather, by Francis Ford Coppola (1972)
  27. Last Tango in Paris, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci (1972)
  28. Missouri (The Missouri Breaks), regia di Arthur Penn (1976)
  29. Superman, regia in Richard Donner (1978)
  30. Apocalypse Now, regia di Francis Ford Coppola (1979)
  31. Roots – The New Generations (Roots: The Next Generations) – TV miniseries (1979)
  32. La formula (The Formula), by John G. Avildsen (1980)
  33. A Dry White Season, directed by Euzhan Palcy (1989)
  34. The Freshman, by Andrew Bergman (1990)
  35. Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, directed by John Glen (1992)
  36. Don Juan De Marco – Maestro d’amore (Don Juan DeMarco), directed by Jeremy Leven (1995)
  37. The Lost Island (The Island of Dr. Moreau), directed by John Frankenheimer (1996)
  38. The Brave, by Johnny Depp (1997)
  39. Free Money, directed by Yves Simoneau (1998)
  40. The Score, regia di Frank Oz (2001)

Marlon Brando: more than an actor, he is an icon

After all, Marlon Brando was not a common actor like many others , but he could be defined as a true revolutionary of a certain standardized and politically correct American cinema. 

Particularly involved in the cause of civil rights claimed by the African American movement , to the point of going so far as to participate in the famous march in Washington in 1963.

Nominated by the American magazine Time in 1999 among the 100 most influential characters of the last century, along with personalities such as Charlie Chaplin and Marylin Monroe . The only actors, in fact, present in this prestigious list.

According to the American Film Institute, it ranks fourth in a special ranking of the greatest stars ever under the magnifying glass of world cinema.

He questions the classic conception of the star-system, configuring a type of protagonist outside the box and with a typically subversive character and little inclined to discipline. It is no coincidence that other illustrious colleagues of the caliber of James Dean, Paul Newman, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and many others were inspired by his acting style.