While Fredo Corleone is a household name, having become representative of a kind of iconic character flaw, John Cazale, the man who brought Fredo to life, is not so well known. Despite acting in a handful of the greatest films of all time (The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, The Deer Hunter, The Conversation), Cazale has never really been given his due. Until now.

I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale is a glowing tribute to the actor, with friends and colleagues such as Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Sidney Lumet and Francis Ford Coppola offering their reminiscences. A younger generation of actors, including Steve Buscemi and Philip Seymour Hoffman, speak of Cazale’s influence on them.

The best moments come from Al Pacino, who came up with Cazale on stage, and Meryl Streep, who was Cazale’s girlfriend at the time of his premature death. There are also a few nice surprises, as when Richard Dreyfuss tells of inviting one of The Godfather’s producers to see him in a play for the role of Fredo, only to have co-star Cazale get the part.

What emerges is a portrait of a man with deep respect for acting who elevated those around him.

Also included on the DVD are two short films Cazale made before The Godfather.