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The Godfather Part III - The Coppola Restoration
The Godfather Part III - The Coppola Restoration
Actors: Al Pacino, Andy Garcia
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2008     2hr 42min

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 pa...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Al Pacino, Andy Garcia
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/23/2008
Original Release Date: 12/20/1990
Theatrical Release Date: 12/20/1990
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 42min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Please, No Godfather IV
Robert Morris | Dallas, Texas | 04/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

I have seen this film several times, all the way through or in parts. Frankly, I have mixed emotions about it because, when discussing it, I want to be fair and focus on it as a discrete film, judging it on its own terms; however, for me at least, that is impossible because it is the third of three Godfather films and its two predecessors are masterpieces. I cannot exclude vivid memories of scenes and even comments from films I first saw 18 and then 14 years before seeing this one for the first time in 1990. OK, that's my challenge. I finally decided to try to rate it on its own terms, hence the Three Stars. What it has going for it includes Pacino's talent, several plausible conflicts, brilliant cinematography, and a tone of melancholy which is consistent throughout the narrative. After years of broken promises to wife Kay (Diane Keaton), Michael has almost completed a process by which to extricate himself and his family from organized crime. However, his marriage has ended, mortal enemies remain such as Altobello (Eli Wallach) and Joey Zaza (Joe Montegna), his negotiations with the Vatican encounter unexpected complications, and finally, his physical health is poor as pressures and tensions in his life intensify. It is no wonder that he suffers a diabetic attack in his kitchen ("Just when I think I'm out....") from which he never fully recovers.

However, the film has several problems. One concerns the lack of a primary plot to give the narrative cohesion. There are hundreds of individual episodes in The Godfather and Godfather Part II (as in other films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago) but they are coordinated effectively. Not so of the episodes in this film. Sofia Coppola's performance as Mary Corleone has been savaged by most critics. In fact, she is reputed to be a late replacement for Wynona Rider, had no prior acting experience in films, and was given a role as trivial as Anne Archer's in the three Jack Ryan films. I will not join others in bashing her. Another of the film's flaws is director Coppola and the three screenwriters' failure to do more with the role of Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia). So many missed opportunities as Garcia's great talents are under-utilized, especially when on-screen with his obviously exhausted Uncle Michael. The illegitimate son of Santino ("Sonny") Corleone, Vincent is only occasionally allowed to show some of his father's passion, providing energy which this film desperately needs and otherwise lacks.

The jumpy plot and underdeveloped characters are, in my opinion, this film's major weakness but it has several fine moments as when Vincent challenges Zaza, when Michael meets with Cardinal Lamberto (Raf Vallone), the deadly sequence as the performance in the opera house proceeds to its conclusion, and the final scene when Michael reflects upon his empty life. Judged only on its own terms, Three Stars. Let's all hope that there will be no Part IV."
No revisionism! It really is that bad
Douglas A. Greenberg | Berkeley, CA USA | 01/29/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)

"It goes without saying that "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" are two of the greatest films ever produced. It is the very power, majesty, and near-flawless production qualities of these two epics that render it all the more tragic that "The Godfather Part III" turned out so badly. There's no sugarcoating the magnitude of the cinematic disaster that "Part III" represents. Everyone knows how poorly the casting is, particularly the unfortunate last-minute insertion of Sofia Coppola into Winona Ryder's planned role as Michael Corleone's daughter Mary. Her wooden performance and awkward screen presence by themselves deal a near-fatal blow to the film's prospects for success. Other casting blunders include the inclusion of the bland George Hamilton as a replacement for Robert Duvall as the Corleone legal adviser, and the use of Joe Mantagna to portray the supposedly dangerous gangster Joey Zasa. Even with these problems, any "Godfather" sequel featuring such talented performers as Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, and Talia Shire should at the very least prove decent. That the film turns out so horribly reveals that the production problems extend to the plot concept, the writing, and the direction. The main premise of the film, that an aging Michael Corleone wishes to legitimize himself and put his violent, corrupt past behind him is certainly plausible, as is the notion that a "next generation" of gangsters (i.e., Sonny Corleone's illegitimate son Vincent) might be waiting in the wings. The resulting story, however, is muddled and unsatisfying. It is suggested that shadowy, murky kinds of corruption rattle the walls of the Vatican; we are introduced to entirely new and heretofore unknown underworld factions, which don't poke their nefarious way into the plot until midway through the film. Overall, the story is a kind of multilayered mess with countless loose ends, leaving viewers confused and with way too many "Yeah, buts."Perhaps even worse than the tortuous story line is the film's presentation and pacing. Whereas first-rate dialogue, camera work, and editing caused the previous two "Godfathers" to sizzle from start to finish, this film exhibits a staid, plodding quality that by the last forty minutes or so has slowed to a veritable cinematic crawl. I swear that during the gratuitous scenes in Sicily in which Kay and Michael sit endlessly at a table reminiscing about the old days it's all I can do to keep from falling asleep. Part of the problem, in fact, is that so much of the film feeds shamelessly off the energies generated by the previous two releases. The endless recollection, reflection, and hagiographic dredging up of old Corleone family homilies permeates and nearly engulfs the entire project, leaving little that is new or distinctive that can be identified with the "Part III" production. The film does have its moments, including a powerful final scene ... But such moments are too few and far between. Overall, this is a bloated turkey of a production which demonstrates that the sixteen-year interval between "Part II" and "Part III" was simply too long to sustain the creative energy that rendered the original "Godfather" films so successful. Frankly, it would have been better for the moviegoing public, for Francis Ford Coppola, and certainly for his daughter Sofia had "The Godfather Part III" simply never been made.
A Classic -- like Parts I and II
rhodgelaw | 01/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some critics complain that Sofia Coppola was inexperienced for such a big role. I disagree. Ms. Coppola's inexperience helped her play the character of Mary more convincingly. While it is true she sometimes seemed rather "valley girl," this shouldn't be surprising. Michael did his best to shelter her from the harsh realities of life in the Corleone Family, and the upbringing and guidance from her father came across in her portrayal of Mary.Another criticism is Michael's quest for redemption... that such a notion does not square with the character in Parts I and II. Again, I disagree. Recall Michael wanted nothing to do with the Family Business in Part I. His father had hopes he might become "Senator Corleone... Governor Corleone," but this was not to be. Michael had to step in for the sake of his family. This necessity does not change the fact that at one time he was a good son, who simply wanted to become a math professor, marry, and have a family. In Part II, he obviously put this notion behind him, but there must have been a part of the "old Dartmouth Michael" lurking somewhere deep inside.In the years following the end of Part II in 1959, Michael took steps to legitimize the Corleones by getting out of illegitimate businesses. That done, he sought forgiveness for the wrongs he'd done. Had he not been betrayed in Part III, he would have likely found the redemption and peace he sought on a personal level. In addition, the Corleone Family would have been the legitimate family enterprise that would preserve and protect future generations of Corleones, as well as reform Vatican finances. This would have fulfilled his father's dream.Some say the opera scene was too long. I disagree, and think it was both moving and beautiful. We're watching scenes from a violent opera that had a sub-theme of revenge. At the same time the opera is being performed on the stage, a real opera is about to take place in the audience. The music from "Cavalleria Rusticana" is perfect for this film - especially the final, moving scene in the courtyard of Michael's villa.I'd say Part III is the "third best" of the series, but it is worth owning and watching, over and over again. The film should have received some academy awards, and I'll never understand why it didn't."
"When they come . . . they come at what you love."
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 09/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Godfather Part III suffers from the marvels of the first two films. Brando, De Niro, Caan, Duvall, and many other stars are absent. The Mafia is no longer the central part of this story. And it's actually hard to understand this film without watching the first two films. But does that mean it fails to be a movie overall? Of course, not.

Despite being the weakest in the trilogy, The Godfather Part III makes for a powerful conclusion to this epic saga. It's now 1979, and Michael Corleone is diagnosed with diabetes. He's separated from his wife, and his children are estranged. For years, Michael has felt guilt from not only isolating himself from his own family, but also having his brother Fredo killed. Now, he wants to go perfectly legitimate with his risky business. As you can see, this has now become a tale of redemption and forgiveness.

Francis Ford Coppola does what he does best here. He moves the story along, with some interesting and powerful elements that have not been found in the first two films. The script is still brilliant the third time around; I don't think you can improve anything here. The music sounds reused, but they still become an important aspect in every scene that requires it.

Of course, we cannot forget the cast (whether good or bad). Al Pacino is as amazing as ever. He's still superior in the first two films, but here, we get to see more emotion and more skill. The last two scenes are especially powerful; it still gets me a bit teary-eyed. Diane Keaton is still spectacular as Kay; same goes for Talia Shire as Connie. Andy Garcia becomes a welcome addition in the cast. He's perfect as the late Sonny's son, Vincent. It's very amusing to see Joe Mantegna as Joey Zasa . . . especially if you try hard not to envision him as Fat Tony. Donal Donnelly as the Archbishop can be best described as extraordinary: he's believable alright. B.J. Harrison as the Corleones' new adviser isn't really as great as Robert Duvall in the first two films, but he can still manage to make us appreciate his performance. Finally, we come to Sofia Coppola as Mary. Countless people find her dull and wooden, easily the worst performance in the entire trilogy. While I do find her wooden, she really makes it more authentic. She is oblivious to what's going on in her father's business; she's more of a simpleton rather than an expert in the Mafia business. And I think Sofia pretty much fits that personality here.

It's true that The Godfather Part III is not in the same league as the first two classic installments, but this is still a fitting conclusion, and it is an extraordinary movie. Just make sure you've seen Godfather I and II before you see this one.

Grade: A-"