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The surprising movies you never knew paved the way for Captain America: Civil War


We take a closer look at those cinema classics lurking in the background of Marvel’s latest Captain America blockbuster, Civil War

The Godfather 

Francis Ford Coppola’s family crime epic from 1972 was, apparently, a huge influence on the directors of Captain America: Civil War. While Civil War’s running time (147 minutes) doesn’t come close to The Godfather’s two hours 57 minutes, it was its skill in juggling so many characters that impressed Anthony and Joe Russo. “[It’s] a sprawling film with a lot of characters that tells very intricate stories,” says Joe. “Each character has an arc.”

Brian De Palma 

The director of such lurid movie classics as Carrie, Blow Out, Scarface, The Untouchables and Dressed to Kill was certainly an influence on the previous Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, and that influence continues, we’re told, into Civil War. "He’s so good at tension and empty space," says Joe. The brothers aren’t revealing WHICH De Palma movies because that would give away spoilers, but Anthony says, "We could probably talk about 100 of them."


Michael Mann’s Heat is a bullet-proof classic of the crime film genre, with Al Pacino as a veteran cop on the trail of a gang of professional bank robber Robert De Niro. And, according to Total Film, there’s a fair bit of that LA-set cult fave in Civil War. "If 2011’s The First Avenger was a war movie," writes Jordan Farley, "and its 2014 sequel a paranoia-fuelled thriller, Civil War starts as a muscular crime movie in the mould of Michael Mann’s Heat, the Russo brothers significantly upping their game in terms of high-impact, shield-slinging action."


"We’ve been referencing westerns a lot as we start to think about these character showdowns," says Anthony Russo. We’re thinking there might be a little bit of Sergio Leone in there, thinking specifically of his drawn-out cowboy face-offs in the Man With No Name trilogy. We can totally imagine some Ennio Morricone-type music starting up as Iron Man and Cap are staring intently at each other.


We’re not sure yet how David Fincher’s grisly serial killer drama has impacted on the sunny world of Marvel, but it appears that it was a movie that loomed large on the set of Civil War. "The movies we’ve been referencing a lot on this one are Se7en, weirdly," says Joe. “We like smashing genres into each other, so if you can find something that’s really idiosyncratic in respect to superhero genre and you can smoosh it into it you usually wind up with something fresh and different." Does this mean the movie will end with War Machine's head in a box?

See what cinematic influences you can spot when Captain America: Civil War opens on 29th April. Remember to click here and book your tickets for Thursday's Captain America triple bill!