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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Critics cut this movie a lot of slack when it came out, because of its
pedigree. The other commentators here are doing it the same favor, I
think. In fact, Godfather III is a complete travesty. All the crime
family saga clichés that the first two movies sidestepped, but that
subsequently became encrusted on the genre, are sadly present in this
The greatest shame of all is Al Pacino's performance. Watching the first two movies today, it's hard to imagine how the powerfully subtle, minimal Michael Corleone he created in the early '70s could turn into the garrulous, scenery-chewing troll of 1990. His "tour guide" scene with Keaton in Sicily is the worst: Pacino seems to have completely forgotten what kind of a person he had played 16 years earlier. Andy Garcia does an OK job of channeling the young James Caan, but that's about it for acting honors. The rest of the cast come across as an over-the-hill ensemble of Acting 101 rejects, including Wallach, Keaton, Shire, Hamilton (no surprise), etc.
SPOILER: Even worse: As proud Italian Americans, how could Coppola and Puzo descend to concocting a plot that climaxes with the eating of a poison canole? The whole mishmash ends with a church-steps death scene that's like a parody of the most over-the-top-operatic Puccini rip-off you ever saw. The first two Godfathers were a milestone in depicting the American ethnic experience on screen, in all its ambiguities. The third turns it all to grotesque self-parody.
For relief, I suggest picking up The Freshman with the late Marlon Brando. Brando's slyly humorous take on Don Corleone in Andrew Bergman's film is a gentle send-up that respects its point of reference and even adds some grace notes to it. The scene of Brando, in pin-striped suit, just strolling through the streets of 1990s Little Italy is the closest we'll get to a real Godfather III.
Winona Ryder was supposed to play the part of Mary, and Robert Duvall was supposed to come back as Michael's consiglieri, or at least as his attorney in place of George Hamilton. But Ryder left because of illness and fatigue, and Duvall held out because he wanted as much money as Pacino( a fact that has always really bothered me, being that Coppola pretty much gave Robert Duvall a forty year career by casting him in I). I think they would have made this movie much better; think about it, no Sofia Coppola who sticks out like a soar thumb, and could have had a genuinely provocative relationship with Vincent, and no George Hamilton, fresh out of the Mark of Zorro. But do you think they would have put it on par with the other two?
..."The Godfather: Part III" is the last movie in one of the best (or the
best) dramatic trilogies of all time. As many already know, this one
focuses solely on Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his struggles for the
Corleone family to become legitimate (he's been longing for so since the
first film). Many bad things happen, including a corrupt Archbishop (Donal
Donelly) and hotshot enemy Joey Zasa (Joe Mentegna). Helping Michael is
Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia, in what may be his best performance) and
sister Connie (Talia Shire).
Of course, this isn't on the same level as the first two. There are many bad elements in the writing and some in the acting. For one thing, Puzo and Coppola really seemed to love making references to the first two films, most of which are unnecessary. Example: at one point Michael shows his son (Franc D'Ambrosio) the very same picture that he drew as a child in Part II. This had very little relevance to the plot, and put it this way, if this small part hadn't been included in Part II, do you think a similar scene would be written for III? I think no.
The acting, well, it has it's ups and downs. Pacino does well as always, but it's his worst performance of the trilogy. As many say, Sophia Coppola is "terrible" and "awful". Now, she's not by any means good, but I'd say the worst performance comes from both Mentegna (who never changes his facial expression or the tone of his voice) and D'Ambrosio. What was with D'Ambrosio's song? It was like "The Godfather: The Music Video".
There is some very good acting too though. As I said, Garcia does incredibly well. The way he acts, he sells the character perfectly. Also, Donnelly does a creepily good job. An underrated and very well-done performance is Eli Wallach's as the cunning Don Altobella. The man was seventy-five when he did this film, and yet he has so much energy and life. If Strasberg and Gazzo can be nominated for Part II, Wallach sure as hell can be for this one (not to mention he's been deserving since "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly").
The direction is also fine. Coppola's use of still cam and tan shading is admirable. The ending shots are flawless.
So, not the greatest film of the trilogy, far from it, but still quite enjoyable, 8/10.
This movie is so disappointing compared to its predecessors. There is not nearly enough tie-in to the original movies. There are many names in this installment that would mean nothing to the viewer had they not been knowledgeable Godfather fans from the earlier releases. I'm not sure what the author/screenplay writer was thinking when this was written. It all seems a little too outlandish. Perhaps I should read the book to get a full understanding of this picture, although that was not necessary in the first two of this trilogy.
I bought the box set not having seen any of the Godfather films. I must admit that I can't pick out an individual film in the series and say, that's the best ever. What I can do however is look at all three films and see that it is all three films together that makes it great. How anyone can say that 'The Godfather' for them is Brando rather than Pacino baffles me. I think some critics may be getting a little over excited when it comes to Marlon Brando. Al Pacino is so much better than Brando in this story that it can only be some kind of blind idolisation that is generating these ideas. The development of Pacino's character over the three films must be unique in cinema, and must therefore be the true greatness of 'The Godfather'. It's a shame that they waited so long before the third film was made, the time jump feels a little alienating, and it's also a great pity Robert Duvall wasn't able to be a part of it either. However, the story is Pacino's and his performance in the final film is so good that its lack of popularity is a shame. It may be that people are more interested in the gangster genre than in witnessing a moving performance of one of our finest actors.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film, however, would have been considered a very good film were it not for it's two older siblings, both of which were fantastic! This film MUST be judged against the other two (duh!) and it falls short. Not too far, but still short. This film just lacks the power that the other two films exude. This film just doesn't "grab" the viewer like the other two did. Francis Ford Coppola did a great job, as did the cast, but they couldn't make a story that is just a little bit weaker than the other Godfather stories into a great film. Thankfully, this was the last of the Godfather trilogy. Al Pacino returns as Michael Corleone, Talia Shire as Connie and Diane Keaton as Kay. Robert Duvall bailed out. Sofia Coppola (yes, his daughter!) is in this as Michael's daughter. She's a much better director than she is an actress. So the acting suffers just a little in this one also. Pacino's performance was OK but not up to his usual standards. Diane Keaton gets a deeper part in this than any of the other films. Andy Garcia joins the cast in this one and steals the show, in my opinion. As I said, standing on it's own, it would have been judged a better film. This film suffers from the company it keeps. I own it and will always own it. But I'll probably watch this one a bit less than the other two.
What is it about Godfather III? It's kind of like the cousin at a party no one will talk to. I was impressed with the look of the film--it looks like it was shot in the 70's. I liked the performances, especially Andy Garcia. I just felt like I haven't soaked it into my psyche like I have with the previous Godfathers. It just doesn't seem to fit in, though I am willing to give it another try.
Godfather Part III is the weakest of the Godfather trilogy. It lacks the
story and direction of the other two. Still, if you like the Godfather
series, it becomes a must have. Rent Part I or II before or instead of this
7 out of 10
If you liked this movie, I would recommend "Scarface"
Absolutely inexcusable. Does anybody remember that this film actually was nominated for Best Picture of the Year? So blatantly crafted not to entertain but rather to leech a few more dollars off the audience. Utterly shameless. Andy Garcia tries to infuse some energy into the production, but how can he succeed when he has to battle the script, the uninspired efforts of every other actor on the set (who are merely there to cash in on the film's inevitable box office success) and, of course, ahem, Sophia.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One of the great benefits of buying DVD is that in most cases you not only
get the film itself but also loads of extras that can only add to the
overall feel & premise of the movie itself.
I recently bought the DVD Collectors pack of The Godfather saga which not only included the three original cinema versions but also the usual extras such as picture galleries, the Corleone family tree, biographies and additional scenes that only appeared in the TV versions.
But the two best features of all were the Director's commentary overlaid for each film and also a separate documentary focusing on the rather difficult productions of all three Godfather films from inception in 1970 to the conclusion in 1990.
When I viewed the video version of GIII some years ago I was rather disappointed by the rather bloated & totally unbelievable story concerning corruption and murder within the Vatican by the Mafia.
Not only was a I disappointed by the story but also I felt the acting was weak compared to its two predecessors, with the film solely dependent on Al Pacino carrying the torch throughout the saga, while the supporting cast drifted in and out like passing ships in the night.
However, now that I have viewed the DVD version along with the behind-the-scenes documentary I can begin to appreciate some of the problems director Coppola faced during the making of GIII.
For years Paramount were very keen for GIII to be made, with or without Coppola behind the lens. So desperate were they that up to 15 initial drafts were put forward from different screenwriters but none ever saw the light of day.
But on top of this Paramount were not even bothered whether Coppola directed or not since they felt confident that nearly any competent director could carry on the Saga Coppola had so successfully conceived during the 70s with I and II.
There are many good directors who could have done this but when one reads that Sylvestor Stallone had been pencilled in by Paramount not only to direct but also to star, one has to consider the sanity of the studio execs at the time.
And even when Coppola & Puzo were roped in they had to rush the scripts through in weeks rather than in months so it is not wholly surprising the screenplay looks half-baked.
And then of course there is the inclusion of Coppola daughter Sofia as a last minute replacement to more accomplished actress Winona Ryder. It wouldn't have been so bad had her character been no more than a supporting role. But Sofia was asked to play Mary Corleone, daughter to Michael and heir to the entire Corleone business empire.
Regrettably the task was to great for someone so young and with so little major acting experience and as a consequence was one of the major faults within the film with poor Sofia panned by both critics and fans alike. It seems strange that Francis cast his daughter for such a major role at such short notice but cast her he did and I guess his decision will forever haunt him.
Another omission was that of Robert Duvell as Tom Hagen. GIII was in desperate need of some familiar faces from the previous movies to make the saga complete. However, with the exception of Pacino himself the only significant stars who reprised their roles were Diane Keaton & Talia Shire.
Both Keaton & Shire give good solid performances with the latter having a far more significant role than before. But all the same I felt Pacino was very much on his own now that Duvell had been left out due to contract disagreements. I felt the inclusion of Tom (at any cost) would have added more gravitas to the movie. Duvell's character was very prominent & stong in the previous two movies and this was emphasised all too clearly by his absence in III.
I liked the story; at least in part. Pacino was excellent as the elderly Don trying to shake off the ghosts & horrors of his past and his determination to go "legit" not only for himself but for his family (not his Mafia family on this occasion but his true family - his wife and children)
This part of the story was well done & very moving but was let down badly with the main storyline of corruption and murder within the Vatican by Mafia henchmen over big business dealings & power sharing. This was so unbelievable that any passion & feeling I had for Pacino's wish to be a decent man again went right out of the window by this overblown and frankly stupid premise.
However, putting this film in the context of what I have learnt from the documentary I have to say that Coppola shouldn't be blamed completely for this relative flop. The execs at Paramount should hang their heads in shame for trying to rush the screenplay through too quickly and not trusting Coppola's own judgement. I could understand their anxiety if they were dealing with an unknown director but to undermine Coppola with his own movie legacy is a disgrace.
GIII is not a bad film by any standards. If one takes a huge pinch of salt then the Vatican storyline can be tolerated. But for the Godfather purists GIII ended up as a wasted opportunity and will always be consigned as the weakest of the three films. In addition one has to feel sympathy for Sofia Coppola for no matter what she does now or in the future she will always be remembered for her rather poor performance in Godfather III.
***SPOILER*** I loved the ending, it was so underplayed and yet so moving that for a moment I completely forgot about the utter farce that had gone on minutes before. But to see Pacino sitting in his orange grove an elderly man, crippled & blind and subsequently dying was well done and very open to suggestion. For we are not told whether he died a free man or whether the guilt of his past misdemeanours went with him. But it was very touching of Coppola to continue the "orange fruit" symbolism significant throughout the entire saga ***END OF SPOILER***
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