THE GODFATHER: Popularly viewed as one of the best American films ever made, the multi-generational crime saga The Godfather (1972) is a touchstone of cinema: one of the most widely imitated, quoted, and lampooned movies o... more »f all time. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino star as Vito Corleone and his youngest son, Michael, respectively. It is the late 1940s in New York and Corleone is, in the parlance of organized crime, a "godfather" or "don," the head of a Mafia family. Michael, a free thinker who defied his father by enlisting in the Marines to fight in World War II, has returned a captain and a war hero. Having long ago rejected the family business, Michael shows up at the wedding of his sister, Connie (Talia Shire), with his non-Italian girlfriend, Kay (Diane Keaton), who learns for the first time about the family "business." A few months later at Christmas time, the don barely survives being shot by gunmen in the employ of a drug-trafficking rival whose request for aid from the Corleones' political connections was rejected. After saving his father from a second assassination attempt, Michael persuades his hotheaded eldest brother, Sonny (James Caan), and family advisors Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) and Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) that he should be the one to exact revenge on the men responsible. After murdering a corrupt police captain and the drug trafficker, Michael hides out in Sicily while a gang war erupts at home. Falling in love with a local girl, Michael marries her, but she is later slain by Corleone enemies in an attempt on Michael's life. Sonny is also butchered, having been betrayed by Connie's husband. As Michael returns home and convinces Kay to marry him, his father recovers and makes peace with his rivals, realizing that another powerful don was pulling the strings behind the narcotics endeavor that began the gang warfare. Once Michael has been groomed as the new don, he leads the family to a new era of prosperity, then launches a campaign of murderous revenge against those who once tried to wipe out the Corleones, consolidating his family's power and completing his own moral downfall. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards and winning for Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando), and Best Adapted Screenplay, The Godfather was followed by a pair of sequels. THE GODFATHER PART II: This brilliant companion piece to the original The Godfather continues the saga of two generations of successive power within the Corleone family. Coppola tells two stories in Part II: the roots and rise of a young Don Vito, played with uncanny ability by Robert De Niro, and the ascension of Michael (Al Pacino) as the new Don. Reassembling many of the talents who helped make The Godfather, Coppola has produced a movie of staggering magnitude and vision, and undeniably the best sequel ever made. Robert De Niro won an OscarŽ; the film received six Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1974. THE GODFATHER PART III: One of the greatest sagas in movie history continues! In this third film in the epic Corleone trilogy, Al Pacino reprises the role of powerful family leader Michael Corleone. Now in his 60's, Michael is dominated by two passions: freeing his family from crime and finding a suitable successor. That successor could be fiery Vincent (Andy Garcia)... but he may also be the spark that turns Michael's hope of business legitimacy into an inferno of mob violence. Francis Ford Coppola directs Pacino, Garcia, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Eli Wallach, Sofia Coppola, Joe Montegna and others in this exciting, long-awaited film that masterfully explores the themes of power, tradition, revenge and love. Seven Academy AwardŽ nominations, including Best Picture.« less
"For those crying for the "Godfather Saga"/"Godfather Epic" versions, you are missing the point. Restoration expert Robert Harris (and countless others) worked for over a year from the best available print materials (as the original negatives are badly damaged and faded) to restore the first and second films to their original theatrical glory, which is something these iconic films of American Cinema deserve. That is the point of restoration.
If you are looking for a "wow" disc to show off your Blu-ray home theater sound and video, this is not it. If you are looking to experience modern American Gangster cinema in its 1970's glory, this is as close as you are ever likely to get, muted sepia-esque color, film grain and all.
These were not done exclusively for the home market. The priority was that they were restored for theatres, because that is where they would be judged the most critically, and all indications are that they do not disappoint. Never watch these films in your living room with the lights on. Watch them like you do in the theater, lights out, to appreciate the effort that went into these films."
An offer you can't refuse--"The Godfather" restored for Blu-
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 09/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"NOTE: Opinions vary but MY review is designed to help those who haven't purchased the product decide whether or not they want to. If you disagree, write a review--the comments section IS for that but not the voting system.
A marvelous restoration job, "The Godfather-The Coppola Restoration Gif Set" includes all three original films as they were presented theatrical. It doesn't have the version that Coppola cut for TV and presented in chronological order. THe first two films are masterpieces and while the third is severely flawed, it does have its moments.
Keep in mind that these were restored for theatrical showings NOT for the home video market and, as such, these probably aren't the best Blu-rays to use to show off your home video system. Some people will no doubt be disappointed but, quite frankly, these films have never looked this good before on home video. Is this a big step up from the DVDs? Yes and no. The Blu-ray does provide better resolution but keep in mind it also shows the flaws inherent in the original films (and some people will regard the grainy images as being a flaw).
First keep in mind that "The Godfather" was meant to look grainy so those of you who hate grain will probably wonder why they didn't eliminate it. That's because to do so would have required altering the look of the film not restoring it and the usual result of eliminating film grain is that you lose detail. The result also makes it look like the actors are walking wax dummies. Some scenes are much grainer than others but that's the way the film was meant to look.
According to Harris in an article at American Cinematographer, the original film was in extremely bad shape and, in some instances, frames from outtakes had to be subsituted because damage had crept into the frame area of the film.
"The Godfather Part II" was in better shape for a variety of reasons and didn't require quite as much work on it as the first film.
"The Godfather Part III" since it used different development techniques from the first three (and for other reasons you can read at the American Cinematographer website)and only required Harris to match the black levels and make sure the color scheme was done correctly.
Robert Harris has done a marvelous job on the restoration of the film. Colors are bolder than before with nice crisp images as cinematographer Gordon Willis originally shot the film. While the DVD looks terrific, the Blu-ray looks positively stunning. Does it look like a film released last year? No, of course not that would be impossible but Harris working with Coppola and Willis has brought the film into the 21st century without overprocessing the image (like the recent Blu-ray "Patton")and staying true to the original look of the original film elements if they were in pristine condition.
All of the previous extras from the boxed set have been ported over in HD along with some new extras including "The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't" documenting the difficult birth of the film from Paramount asking Puzo to initially change the period setting to 1970's Los Angeles to the constant threat of Coppola being fired during the shooting of the film. "When the Shooting Stops" covers the post-production efforts of editing and scoring the film.
THe humorous "Godfather World" has famous directors illustrated the cultural impact of the film and features bits and pieces from "The Simpsons" to "South Park"."Emulsion Rescue documents Robert Harris' restoration efforts of the aging film elements. "Four Short FIlms of "The Godfather" is amusing as well.
The 12 page booklet included with the Blu-ray was clearly designed for the DVD because it's much too large to fit in the Blu-ray holder (it's glued to the outside packaging). It's odd to design the booklet like this as you'll have to either trim it down to fit inside, slide it in where it might possible become creased or store it separately to prevent wear and tear. It has a bit of info on the Oscars for the films and the credits. It's an odd extra to include because it doesn't have anything truly essential NOT included on the Blu-ray or DVD boxed set.
I'd highly recommend this compelling saga on Blu-ray and DVD. It's a huge improvement on the previous set, has new and previously released extras (including Coppola's often blunt commentary tracks)and looks terrific. For those looking for the TV version that ran in chronological order just be aware it's not here as part of this set although many of the deleted scenes used to assemble that one are included."
Mr. Puck | Auburn, New York | 09/29/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I watched The Godfather Part I on Blu Ray, from Netflix, side by side, against the standard DVD, which I already owned. The Blu Ray was played on a Panasonic machine, and the standard was played on a Toshiba HD machine, and so was upconverted. Both were watched on a Sharp Aquos 40 inch, and the input was simply switched back and forth to access one movie or the other. They were synchronized to play the same scenes side by side. And I have to say that I just don't understand the RAVE reviews amongst the videophile crowd, who seem to feel that the Coppola restoration provides levels of artistic fidelity hitherto unknown to mortal man. The fact is that some scenes were better on the Blu Ray (and as one reviewer on Amazon pointed out, very HD-like), and some scenes actually were better on the standard. In addition, there was a kind of hyper-contrast and orange-ness to everything on the Blu Ray, that not everyone is going to like. As for me, I wanted to like the Blu Ray better; I am something of a collector, and wanted an excuse to make the purchase, but in the end, I don't think that I will. For those who must, it won't be the worst investment you've ever made, to be sure, but please, let's stop with the hyperbole, already!"
Best version I've seen so far - yes, the picture IS grainy a
A. Dent | Minas Anor, GD | 09/28/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's put this behind us: the Godfather was, is and will always be 'grainy'. It's just the way they were shooting movies THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO. So, yes, it's a 36 year old movie and it looks its age. It's true, '2001' looks a lot better on blu but, apparently, that's the best that could be extracted from the existing Godfather negatives - there is an entire 'extra' that explains how the transfer was done and the sometimes painful choices the restorers had to make. The transfer is grainy all over. It's grainy all the time. The whites are grainy and so are the blacks. In the end, it does not really matter or it didn't matter much to me because it's better than anything I've seen yet.
Moving beyond grainyness, the picture is steady like rock. I wasn't able to detect any major artifacts. The extra available on 'disk 4', showing the kind of work and the technology invested into this product convinced me that this is the best-looking Godfather except maybe the first screening at the Chinese theater in Hollywood that we are going to see in a long, long time. [A post blu-ray 'better' edition is possible in 10 years or so, when blu-ray is surpassed by a new technology, because the best negatives found were digitized on a resolution that's about 3 times higher than the current blu-ray.]
No major complaints about the sound. It's TrueHD 5.1, it's clear but don't expect any surround effects. I doubt the original was even stereo. It was a little bit low-volume on my stereo but it's probably my equipment to be blamed.
The extras on the 4th disk are actually worth watching. They are shot in HD. There's one where just about all major elderly and late-middle-age Hollywood directors and stars show up and say something, there's one about the restoration itself, a little short where some younger artists appear and say funny things. Overall... not too bad. Oh, besides the HD's, you also get the extras from the 2001 DVD edition and THAT's where you see the difference between Blu and the (previous) DVD version.
Now, for the bloopers section, get this: the blu-ray comes with the plastic disk case inside a cardboard boxy sleeve (very nice) but... there's also a nice 12-page brochure with the pictures of Coppola, Pacino, Brando and information on the contents of each of the 4 disks - coffee table style. Well... the brochure was meant to fit inside that cardboard sleeve, next to the plastic blu-ray disk case but it comes actually GLUED to the cardboard case because... it's too big. Someone forgot that the blu-ray cases are a bit smaller than the DVD's and, apparently, the brochure was supposed to be a 'one size fits all' kind of deal that doesn't fit the blu-ray. Sad.
Overall, I enjoyed the Blu Godfathers. While, yes, the picture is grainy and the transfer does not look like the Transformers or Ratatouille, not even like '2001', the blu-ray does look a lot better than the DVD version. This rendition of the Godfathers has many defects, it's far from perfect but, as far as I know, it's the best there is. I do not regret making the purchase.
I took away one star for the little brochure snafu and for the relatively high price (likely to go down) at release time."
The Gold Standard of Digital Film Restoration
W. R. Stockstill Jr. | Marietta, GA United States | 06/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are so many reviews on these 3 films that I will just comment on the quality of the restoration. This has to be one of the top 5, if not the best, jobs done on film restoration to date. Paramount used one of the best restoration labs in the world, owned by Warner Brothers, to restore this film only after a Kodak owned lab cleared it as being sturdy enough to run through the digitizing equipment. The whole restoration was spurred by a letter to Spielberg from Coppola asking him if he could get Paramount, who had recently been bought by Viacom if they would do a restoration on the Godfather films. The head of Paramount didn't even hesitate to cut the large check to fund the restoration. The result? Coppola says its more beautiful then he remembered it. The extent of the restoration is included on the Bonus disc. And in that the clip you will see that the filmographer instead of filming the scenes correctly exposed and then having the lab darken the frames went with shooting the scenes dark, the result being there is no detail in the black areas of the film. This explains how difficult it was to get this quality of a restoration, which meant finding the best copy available, which still left much to be desired, and going frame my frame and digitally correcting the image. What is impressive is that the WB Studio lab consulted the original filmographer. I don't know if there is an Academy Award for restoration, but if there is, I know this team deserves it.
NOTE: There seems to be some here that don't like the way the film looks. I suggest they watch Emulsional Rescue - Revealing the Godfather on the bonus disc. Anyone that buys the set, may want to watch it first too to see how the films were shot, underexposed and with an orange tint, and the care taken to restore that look and even in 1 scene improve on it. Watching this feature first will show that its the way it was shot and meant to look, not the restoration."