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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many believed that the series was complete in 1974. Even Francis Ford Coppola thought that another installment was unlikely. However in 1990, some 16 years later, "The Godfather, Part III" was released with results that few could have perceived. The film was not very successful at the box office and many who did see the movie said "ho-hum". The critics were also indifferent to an extent. A Christmas release would create enough steam for the film to achieve a best picture nomination and seven nominations in all from the Academy (it failed to win any though). Of course "Dances With Wolves" dominated the night and that film along with "GoodFellas" are considered the class acts of that year. Why has "The Godfather, Part III" failed to achieve a following like its two predecessors (parts I & II)? I am not sure I can answer that question. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is becoming an old man and his health is slowly worsening. He wants the family to become 100% legitimate and even makes a deal to link his finances to the Vatican. However Michael has become a bit naive and everyone double-crosses him. Now it appears that the only answer is to get back to the old ways. Younger sister Connie (Talia Shire) believes that Michael has grown soft and that Santino's (James Caan from the first film) illegitimate son should take control (Andy Garcia, in his Oscar-nominated performanece). He is ambitious and has the short fuse that his late father had and this is going to lead to fireworks for the family. He also starts seeing Michael's teenaged daughter (Sofia Coppola, Francis Ford's real-life daughter) and a romance blossoms. Meanwhile crime bosses Eli Wallach and Joe Mantegna pose threats to the Corleones. Kaye (Diane Keaton) has divorced herself from Michael and their son (Franc D'Ambrosio) has somewhat sided with her. Michael's health takes a turn for the worse as he actually goes into a diabetic coma for a time during the film and when he does recover (not completely though) he starts to reflect on a life of loss. The ordering of Fredo's death (John Cazale) in the second installment and his Sicilian wife's murder in the original haunt Michael and he tries to come to terms with his life, but learns from a Catholic cardinal while in Sicily that he deserves all the suffering he experiences and realizes that his suffering will be even greater in the future. In fact there will be a finale that will be the "fatal nail in the coffin" for Michael. "The Godfather, Part III" is focused on Michael and that is why it is unique to the series. The first two sported so many rich characters that it was impossible to focus on just one. This film could be best described as "Reflections of a Life of Loss". The film is excellent and even though it is likely the weakest of the three when you compare them, it is somewhat unfair to put the three "Godfather" movies together because they can all stand on their own. Great movies stand on their own and "The Godfather, Part III" does just that. 5 stars out of 5.
Having heard the endless amount of critique and insults that the last
part of the Godfather saga carries.. I have to disagree. Although
people seem to love to hate Sophie Coppola and say she ruined the film,
I think her part alone wasn't that frail it'd ruin the entire cinematic
experience. Saying that is just humorous. Also, the absence of Tom
Hagen played by Robert Duvall is really a loss and even I think this
film would've been a lot better if there was him in it.. but he got too
greedy and couldn't make it into the movie, and that's that. I'm not
going to judge a movie by what it could have been, but what it is and
how good it ends up being.
Despite some shortcomings, Godfather Part 3 is a decent ending to the trilogy. While it may have been an attempt to cash off the audience, they still have Coppola bring us his finest directing. I found Al Pacino's performance extremely satisfying and even terrifyingly so. He embodies the mistakes and losses of his life with excellent skill, showing us a don that has lost his health, the loved ones of his life and even the respect for himself. While I never found Diane Keaton's performances in the saga that good, she still fills the spot required, same goes for Talia Shire, whose role in the ending finale of the film really came as a surprise to me - which was a good thing. I didn't find her role in Part 2 too appealing but in this one she has more character, more importance. Sophie Coppola was OK, like I said a lot of people have complained about her acting skills and I gotta admit she was a little "stiff" or sorts in some scenes but it's not notable all the time and it didn't spoil any moods for me. Andy Carcia was just excellent, my favorite add to the saga cast, playing the son of his father with excellence.
So, umm.. this film is perfectly fine. The ending finale was tremendously well shot and very climatic, filled with a lot of excitement. I'm telling you this movie is a great ending to the saga even because of that one particular scene so just go see it, despite what a lot of people have said about, badmouthing it for faulty reasons.. it brought a tear into my eye. It did.
I stayed away from this film for a long time, doing a dumb thing:
listening to the well-known film critics.
When I finally got around to it, I was very surprised. It was a good film. Not great, not intense as the first two Godfather flicks, but definitely a lot better than advertised.
Many people said this was filled with anti-Roman Catholic propaganda, but I didn't it find that way. Yes, the "Vatican bank," whatever that is, was portrayed as not on the up-and-up, but it was a little confusing to follow, maybe too confusing to get offended! Actually, there were some positive things, religious-wise, with Al Pacino's character, who sought forgiveness for his past sins and made a few very profound statements such as, "What good is confession if it isn't followed by repentance?"
Anyway, Pacino's acting talents are the main attraction in the lower-key, more cerebral Godfather film. There isn't that much action but when it occurs, it's pretty violent. As with the other two films in the series, it's nicely photographed with a lot of nice brown tints.
Finally, director-writer Francis Ford Coppola took a lot of flak for putting his daughter in such an important role but I thought she (Sofia Coppola) was fine and - like this film - unfairly criticized.
Godfather III is generally underrated because because it is more intellectual, subtle, and psychological than the first two. There's lots more Italian language, operatic venues, references to subtleties like the P2 masonic lodge, and there is the inner revelation of Michael Corleone's soul. Pacino should have won an Oscar for his performance. The movie would be a good staging point for a Godfather IV, with "Vincenzo Corleone" and Connie Corleone running things, while developing further the relationship between Michael, and his wife and son.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Godfather III" is a beautiful film, visually wonderful, and of
great importance, completing the tragic saga of the Corleone family...
They are so tempting these Byzantine intrigues: Alliances betrayed with
violence; assassins dressing up as priests; knives and poison invading
the opera house; someone, in the deepest shadows, always whispering
Coppola's intention was clearly aimed at offering a story of redemption... Nominated for 7 Academy Awards, the motion picture reflects Coppola's masterful film-making...
Fascinating threads of continuity support this illusion: The bridesmaid (Jeannie Linero) who had a hurried meeting with Sonny in the first film, now makes a significant appearance as the mother of a vibrant new character, a suitable successor of Michael, the Godfather of the future Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia).
Vincent, strong, focused and loyal, shares his father's hot temper... He is the most suitable heir to the family business... His desire for a life of crime is driven by his greater desire to destroy a vile thug named Joey Zasa beautifully played by Joe Mantegna...
Connie (Talia Shire), tries to push her brother to take Vincent under his tutelage... Eventually Michaela man haunted by the death of Fredo, his separation from his wife, his estrangement from his childrenrealizes that he can never truly leave his life of crime... We feel his frustration when he says, "Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in."
Worried about his children and the fate of his empire, Michael is torn between two characters: his warm-hearted daughter Mary (Sophia Coppola), whom he loves very much, and Vincent, who sees the death of his enemies as the only answer to every question...
There is also Kay (Diana Keaton), still the woman he loves, and the mother of his dear children... Family is crucial to Michael... His children are his reason for living... In his words: "The only wealth in this word is children... They are my treasure."
Michael wants Anthony to be a lawyer... Kay defends their son's aspiration to be an opera singer... The best scenes in the movie are between this lovely couple, passionately fastened in a struggle that started a time ago at that wedding party where an innocent officer and a gentleman told his non Italian girlfriend, he was not part of his family business...
The film has a great ensemble of supporting actors: Talia Shire, deliciously evil, and always counseling her nephew on how to get in Michael's good graces; Eli Wallach, the talented peacemaker with a stone in his shoe; Raf Vallone, the wise true priest; Franc D'Ambrosio, the artist, the voice in "Cavalleria Rusticana;" Donal Donnelly, the fallen archbishop; George Hamilton, the family attorney; Helmut Berger, the missing God's Banker; Richard Bright who heads to Rome to "light a candle for the archbishop;" Franco Citti, the old bodyguard; Mario Donatone, the "Ace in the hole;" Bridget Fonda, the sexy reporter; Al Martino, the Hollywood singing idol; and John Savage, the priest with an assignment in Italy...
Brilliant shots and unforgettable sequences:
- The opening sequence in which the camera travels over the wreckage of the Corleone's vacation house by the lake...
- The helicopter attack upon Michael and a group of old dons through the skylight of a hotel banquet room in Atlantic City, New Jersey..
- The trap and killing of a "small-time enforcer" on the streets of 'Little Italy' by a fake cop...
- The beautiful scene in which a kindly cardinal hears the confession of a penitent, desperate for absolution...
- Anthony dedicating a sweet song to his father ("Brucia La Terra"), and while Michael was listening to the melody, he was remembering his first beautiful and wonderful bride...
- The natural scenery of Sicily...
- The spectacular opera house finale that turns Michael's expectations into an inferno of mob violence...
- The cry that lets out that night on the stairway...
- The penalty... The terrible sentence...
Coppola's first two Godfather-films are a work of art... More famous for their superb acting and deep character studies, beautiful photography and choreography, authentic recreation of the period, and rich score...
"The Godfather III" is a mesmerizing film worthy to be taken on its own terms... It lays the seeds for a complex financial scandal involving the Vatican Bank as well as the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978...
Michael Corleone has sold his illegal business in an attempt to win back his
family. However he must still contend with up and coming mobsters such as
Vincent, who wants to work for him and Joey Zasa, who wants to fully take
over the Corleone family's territory. When the Corleone family begin to
deal with the Vatican and plan to buy out their share of an multinational
corporation he finds that the Vatican is just as corrupt as his illegal
operations were. Despite his best efforts he finds himself sucked back into
the world he has tried to leave behind.
Easily one of the most hated films ever made or at least you'd think it was by the critical mauling it got for a raft of reasons. However watching it now it isn't that bad and really it only suffers from comparison with the two films before it. But lets be fair, Coppola has made 3 or 4 of the best films ever made did we really expect another one from him?
The film has a reasonable plot and brings the trilogy to a logical end. The plot however does have it's weaknesses for example it starts well with Michael's attempt to `get out' being hampered by other families on their way up. But when it starts to get involved with money laundering through the Vatican and the corruption therein, it starts to lose it's way and it's focus on Michael.
The main weakness comes in the characters. Would Michael really go straight just to get his family back and how come he managed to do it so easily up till the time of the film? Worse still is Connie who seems to have become some sort of Mafia widow when that was not part of her character in the previous films would she really have got that twisted or influential? Little problems like these just bugged me and they also fed into the performances.
For such a great cast the acting was very average. Pacino is good but I sensed he didn't see Michael turning out this way and he didn't convince occasionally. Keaton has little to do and again I felt that her approach to Michael was too forgiving, although maybe I'm not allowing for time. As I Siad before Shire was doing some sort of `Bride of Frankenstein' act as Connie and I didn't buy it for a moment. Garcia was OK and faces like Wallach, Hamilton and the like helped. The two worst performances were sadly two of the main ones. First Joe Mantegna ..now it wasn't that it was bad it was more that I've seen him do so much better. Here all I could think of when I watched him was how his character and his acting was very like his Simpsons' character of ` Fat Tony'. Bare in mind Fat Tony is meant to be a spoof of the Mafioso characters and you'll see why I didn't like it.
The worse performance was Sofia Coppola. Now she was vilified at the time for her role a bit unfairly and cruelly but she was still bad. She has this strange scowl on her face for most of the film and she acts like a spoil little girl. She also has no realism in her voice and speaks in the same constant tone that Vincent would fall for her was just a leap of faith too far to accept. The cast does have others who are unused or underused Fonda being the best example. Why did she bother with that role!?
Overall, this is miles behind the other two Godfathers and it has plenty of weaknesses. However at it's heart it's a good try as the concluding part and the story is watchable. It's not bad, it just is average and it feels like the director and large sections of the cast felt they just had to turn up to make a third classic film.
"The Godfather Part III" isn't really a necessary sequel, and to be truthful
it's not really one of the best sequels in recent memory, but is it a bad
film? No. In fact, had it not been for the extraordinary first two films, I
firmly believe this movie would have been hailed as an epic; but due to such
a broad expanse of years from the second film (1974) to this one (1990),
audiences were given too much time to work up extreme expectations,
especially with the major success of the first sequel. Many people just
expected another equal sequel. It's just a good sequel.
Al Pacino returns to his role of Don Michael Corleone, much older since we last saw him and with a daughter (Sofia Coppola, Francis' daughter). He is still split from his (ex)-wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) has since passed to the other side, though rumors have it his character was originally in Ford and Mario Puzo's script, only to be dumped when Duvall turned down the script because he believed Pacino was getting too much attention. (Though I have my doubts over the accuracy of that rumor.)
Michael wants out of the Mafia. He wants to work legitimate. He's been trying to turn his business into legit dealings for a while now, and he realizes that the sins of his past will never completely go away. He decides to hand the reigns of power over to his ex-brother Fredo's son (Andy Garcia), a young, eager soul with energy and excitement. But things do not go so well. Michael tries to be a mentor to his trainee but it is a difficult task. Michael goes through turbulent times, not to mention that he must deal with his daughter falling in love with the future head of the family (they're cousins, which, when you think about it, is just plain nasty).
Michael tries to get his son interested in becoming the head of the family, but he will have no part of it. He is bent on becoming an opera singer, to turn from his family's past and ignore his father's pleads. Michael is left with some difficult choices, and we see that all the power in the world can't control the inevitable.
"The Godfather Part III" has its flaws. One of them is the casting of Michael's daughter with Coppola's daughter - she has, one might say, no acting ability whatsoever. Garcia is bright and talented, and fits the part he is playing. Pacino isn't quite as energetic and powerful as he was in the first two films, in fact he looks pretty tired here, but I believe that's the point.
Some people really hate this film. I thought it was quite good. It's a good continuation, though I do not hesitate to admit it could have been much better. The film seems a bit corny at times, and there are some bad casting choices, one of which I have already mentioned above. But it is an entertaining film, one that no "Godfather" fan should go without seeing. It's a worthy (hopefully) last installment, one that gives more of the same but still manages to hold the audience's interest.
There are rumors flying everywhere of yet another "Godfather" entry, but quite honestly I think it's a bad decision. They should leave the series as it is and move on to other projects. Puzo is dead. Coppola hasn't made a good film in years - heck, he hasn't even produced a good film in years. Al Pacino's character would be hard to bring back, and if you've seen this film you know what I'm talking about. A prequel would just be messy and unexplained, not to mention confusing. To follow Andy Garcia's character would seem pointless - some things should be left to our imagination. I doubt as to the importance of another sequel, as it would, at this point, just be a cash-in.
The script by Coppola and Puzo is interesting, but it seems too try a bit too hard to be an epic at times. It just serves as a reminder that this film was not needed as an intallment in the series. "The Godfather Part" was great, "The Godfather Part II" was superb, "The Godfather Part III" is probably the best film of 1990. Which, looking back at twenty years from now, probably won't amount to a hill of beans. But it's a start.
4.5/5 stars -
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Series note: It is almost unthinkable to watch this film without having
seen The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part II (1974) first. This
is a direct continuation of that story.
I suppose that if I do not love being a contrarian, I do not love anything, but it's not that I set out to be contrarian for its own sake. It just happens when I'm honest about my tastes and views. My latest flourish of contrarianism is that I think The Godfather, Part III is just as good as The Godfather, Part II, even though it's a quite different film, loaded with conspicuously different messages. And although most of Part III's scenes, except the extended climax, never quite reach the sublime excellence of much of Part II, Part III doesn't have near the flaws, either. Both films ended up being a 9 out of 10 for me, or a low "A".
Part III is all about Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) seeking redemption and forgiveness. We see him haunted by one of the stronger, more shocking moments from Part II. And so he has decided to sincerely go "legit", while getting back to his roots, trying to regain what he has lost and maybe even "redo" the mistakes he has made. Thus he heads back to New York and eventually back to Sicily. In the opening party scene we see him even trying to make amends with his ex-wife Kay (Diane Keaton). The most important plot points all have to do with Michael learning to compromise and even let go of some control. The most tragic elements of the film are rooted in the things for which he has difficulty relinquishing control, and we feel a much more "real" threat to Michael's safety because of the unintentional losses of control that he experiences.
Of course, the irony ends up being that the "legit" world is just as corrupt, if not more so, as the world he's trying to redeem himself from. Michael is "forced" to resort to his old modus operandi if he wants to participate, survive and succeed. Coppola and co-writer Mario Puzo thus create something of a classical tragedy, with a pessimistic message about human relations; one that also suggests a reinterpretation of the previous two Godfather films as metaphors for socio-economic machinations in general--not just a soap-operatic tale of a powerful Mafia family.
Unlike The Godfather and Part II, Coppola remains tightly focused on his principal themes here. Even though the film seems almost as sprawling as the previous two on first glance, and it suffers slightly from also having a bloated cast, in retrospect, there is nothing present in Part III that isn't meant to be tied in with the subtexts. Even seemingly inconsequential scenes, such as Michael and Kay encountering the marionette show, provide artistic, literary connections to significant plot points. In this case the scene provides both foreshadowing and metaphor for the most substantial element of the climax.
By the way, it's interesting to note that Coppola introduces somewhat erotic (though very tame) scenes for the first time here (that's not to say that past Godfather films didn't suggest romances or sex, but they weren't really erotic). Surprisingly, perhaps, the chief erotic scenes involve his daughter, Sofia, who is shown in a relationship as close to incestuous as possible without being incestuous, and who also has an unpleasant fate in the film. When we also remind ourselves of the filmic treatment that director Dario Argento subjected his daughter, Asia, and his significant other, Daria Nicolodi, to over the years, it might make us want to psychoanalyze Italian filmmakers, but it's helpful to remember that initially, Sofia Coppola's role was to be played by Winona Ryder, who was too sick at the time to begin shooting.
The cast in Part III is sometimes cited as one of the reasons for its inferiority, but despite the relative shortage of megastars, I think the cast, including Sofia, is fantastic here. Godfather newcomer Andy Garcia was particularly impressive.
Coppola again uses Part I for a structural template, just as he did in Part II, but he tries to throw in subtle variations and even red herrings. Like its predecessors, Part III begins with a party celebrating an important familial event related to religious ceremonies wherein we meet the principal players, the middle section deals with similar business dilemmas mixed with betrayals, double crossings and their consequences, and the ending parallels a major shakedown involving multiple parties with some other important familial event imbued with ritual/ceremony (the parallel was slightly different in Part II).
The subtle variations here involve what could be called "tags". For example, the beginning puts us in a more formal religious ceremony before we move to the party, and the ending has a tag that could be one of the most ingenious transitions/scenes that Coppola has written. We move from a profoundly tragic event to a point much later in time. Not one word of dialogue is spoken. Through mere appearance of character and setting, plus the final, sad event, there is as much "said" or implied in one elegant minute as there was in the entire film up to that point--although what preceded was necessary for the pithy implicature.
The technical elements, though good here, cannot quite match those of Parts I and II. This may be more surprising when we realize that the same people worked on both films in many capacities, but it just underscores that elements such as the intense, unusual, deeply lit scenes of Part II, for example, happened as much by a "magic" confluence of events as they happened intentionally, which may be why no one has quite been able to capture that look again, including here. On the other hand, even though the music is excellent in all three films, for my money, it might be best integrated in Part III, especially the melancholy theme that periodically recurs.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Godfather Part I was a stunning look inside the fictional Corleone
family and how an innocent young man was all but forced into circumstances
he never wanted to have a part of. The Godfather Part II shows that young
man's acceptance of his new role, his desensitization of character, as well
as his complete loss of all innocence as he dives deeper and deeper into a
life of crime. The first two parts of this saga of this transformation of
Michael Corleone make for one of the greatest tragedies in cinematic
Then, along came The Godfather Part III. Michael Corleone is now the aging Don of the Corleone family. He shows remorse for his previous actions not through subtle behaviors, but by trying to use his powers for good and admitting all his wrongdoings and regrets to others. Very cliche and uncharacteristic of the complex character that is Michael Corleone. Michael's plans to use his powers for good are derailed by an ambitious young disciple and his enemies. Michael's daughter is eventually a casualty of the ongoing mob wars and her death predictably leads to Michael realizing that his entire life as Don has been worthless for he has failed in the one thing that was the reason for putting himself into the position he was in: protecting his family.
The Godfather Part II ends with Michael Corleone reaching the lowest of the lows: having his own brother killed. Before Part III was made, the Godfather saga was an emotionally riveting tale of an innocent young man's journey into darkness with the unbelievably tragic end of Michael forgetting his roots and abandoning the one thing that has always mattered most to him and those around him: family loyalty. Part III paints the picture of Michael as a man who is and always has been just a victim of circumstance. This greatly corrupts the meaning of the first two films.
The Godfather Part III is a horrible mess of a film that never should have been made. The only solution to the problem that is this final installment of The Godfather movies is to pretend that it does not exist and that the saga actually ends with Michael's shockingly horrible act of having a member of his own family killed.
Francis Ford Coppola really shook the movie world in 1990 when he chosen to
direct a final part in the larger-than-life Corleone saga, 16 years after
the legendary part II. It didn't receive any Oscars but to me this 13 year
old masterpiece is already just as massive classic as the parts 1 and 2 that
were released in the early 70's but the truth is that "The Godfather: Part
III" still remains to be a disputed film no matter what. People still argue
about it and its purpose.
I think this story was necessarily worth telling, timeless saga needed this final part, trilogy had to be concluded. Surprisingly I think part III is in many ways the best part of the whole damn trilogy. At least this was the one I enjoyed watching most, this was the most touching and stylish one of the three. I loved it because of the same reasons others think it's the worst of "The Godfather"-films: it's so melancholy, so utterly melodramatic and Michael Corleone's character has changed so much from what he used to be younger.
Oldish, virile and charismatic 50 year old Al Pacino makes his best performance in the role of Michael Corleone. Eli Wallach proofed that he hasn't lost his charm and talent at the age of 75. His splendid performance as Don Altobello is perhaps one of the most memorable roles of his career and the best ones right after the part of Tuco in Sergio Leone's "The good, the bad and the ugly". It also goes without saying Andy Garcia shines as Vincent Mancini - future Don Corleone. "The Godfather: Part III" is a beautiful and brilliant experience and a movie you can't watch too often. Absolute 10/10.
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