The Godfather: Part III
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Godfather: Part III can be found here.

Aging Don Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has mostly succeeded in legitimatizing the Corleone family's business interests and retiring from the Mafia when his son Anthony (Franc D'Ambrosio) announces his intent to pursue a career as an opera singer instead of becoming a lawyer for the family businesses. Michael decides to take on as a protg his hot-headed nephew Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) who is currently embroiled in a conflict with Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna), the enforcer who has taken over the Corleones' previous criminal interests. Meanwhile, Michael is attempting to purchase the Vatican's share of an international real estate company, International Immobiliare, a move that will make him the majority stockholder and give him seven seats on the 13-member board of directors, but he detects a conspiracy to prevent the deal from being ratified by the Pope.

Not directly. The Godfather (1969), a novel written by Italian-American author Mario Puzo [1920-1999], was the source for the first and second Godfather movies -- The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974). However, the screenplay for The Godfather: Part III was written by Puzo and director Francis Ford Coppola.

The Godfather II was filmed in 1974 and The Godfather III in 1990, a span of 16 years for the actors. In movie time, The Godfather III opens in 1979. Since Michael and Kay (Diane Keaton) Corleone split in 1959 (towards the end of The Godfather II), about 19-20 years have passed. It's been eight years since Michael and Kay have even seen each other. Son Anthony and daughter Mary (Sofia Coppola) are both fully grown.

Michael is being made a Commander of the Order of St. Sebastian, an early Christian martyr (died c.288 CE). Membership in the Order is by invitation only and is based on one's charitable works.

While Vincent does not exist in the novel, in the film, he is the illegitimate son of Sonny Corleone (James Caan) and his mistress Lucy Mancini (Jeannie Linero).

Sonny has four children--twin girls Kathryn and Francesca and sons Santino Jr. and Frank. The whereabouts of Sonny's widow and children are never discussed in the films, but in the book, Sandra moves away with the children after Sonny's death. The children appear in Parts II and III in the family photos, but they were not raised on the Corleone family compounds, Sonny's twin daughters are seen in a deleted scene in The Godfather II, when Francesca asks for Michael Corleone's blessing for her wish to get married and Michael gives it. It is not explained why Santino Jr. and Frank never join the Family Business. However, Sandra's moving away from the family compound indicates a desire to remove herself from the Corleone Family and the mafia life. One can only assume it was not a life she wanted for her sons, and since they were not brought up on the compound and exposed to "Family" life, they were not prepared nor were they expected to take part in The Business.

How does the movie end?

Applause and more applause for an opera well-performed. As the attendees file out from the opera house, Mary asks her father why he has prohibited Vincent from seeing her. Before he has a chance to answer, shots ring out. Michael looks at his daughter and sees a huge blood stain on her midriff. Mary falls to the ground. Kay screams and rushes to Mary's side. Michael screams in anguish as he remembers dancing with Mary at the party following his induction into the Order of St Sebastian, dancing with his first ex-wife Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli) at their wedding, and dancing with his second ex-wife Kay. In the final scene, Michael (now very old and white-haired) sits alone in his courtyard, puts on his sunglasses, and falls dead to the ground with only his dog to lick his face.

Winona Ryder was originally cast in the role but ended up dropping out due to "exhaustion." Coppola didn't have time to go through the process of finding another actress who'd be available on such short notice. He had all confidence his daughter would be up to the challenge.

The so-called Final Director's Cut was first released on VHS and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray as well, even though it isn't called Final Director's Cut anymore. Nearly 9 minutes of new footage not present in the Theatrical Version can be found in the homevideo releases. A detailed comparison between both versions can be seen here.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 8 months ago
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