Mario Cuomo finally sees 'The Godfather'

Mike Krumboltz
The 3rd Annual Elly Awards Luncheon
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo attends the 3rd Annual Elly Awards Luncheon at The Plaza Hotel on June 25, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Mario Cuomo, former three-term Democratic governor of New York, did something that many doubted he would ever do. He saw "The Godfather."

Cuomo, 81, had vowed to never see the Francis Ford Coppola epic because of the film's focus on the Mafia, a negative Italian stereotype that Cuomo often fought.

Somebody must have made him an offer he couldn't refuse, because Cuomo finally watched the film and, according to The New York Times, he thought it was pretty darn good.

Speaking at the 2013 Forum Film Festival at the Forum on Law, Culture and Society at Fordham School of Law, Cuomo said that “maybe this thing was a masterpiece," the Times reported.

While Cuomo did acknowledge the film's artistry, he "refused to draw a distinction between entertainment and what he considered the insidious immoral message conveyed by Mafia movies," the Times reported.

Cuomo's boycott of the film goes back more than 40 years. When "The Godfather" came out in 1972, Cuomo turned down an invitation from then New York City Mayor John Lindsay. In 1985, Cuomo was quoted as saying the Mafia as an organization was "a lot of baloney.”

Some Democratic leaders wanted Cuomo to run for president in 1992. "When I didn’t run for president," Cuomo said in 2001, “there were two reasons people gave in their dark speculations: I must be in organized crime or have colon cancer. Nobody was saying I had a 28-year-old blond girlfriend."

Cuomo's refusal to run for president against George H.W. Bush in 1992 was the subject of a "Saturday Night Live" election sketch in which the late Phil Hartman played Cuomo. "I have mob ties," Hartman intones in the sketch.

Cuomo isn't the only person to have criticized a film he hasn't seen. Spike Lee ripped into Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" before he actually watched it.