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The Godfather: Part III (1990) Poster

Goofs

Anachronisms 

The final scenes of the film were filmed in the Opera House "Teatro Massimo" in Palermo. But this Opera House was closed in 1974 to complete renovations required by updated safety regulations, and it remained closed for twenty-three years, finally re-opening on 12 May 1997, so a playing of the "Cavalleria Rusticana" was not possible at the beginning of the 1980s in that Opera House.
The New York Times that is shown announcing Pope John Paul I's "major overhaul" carries a 1990 (perhaps archival) copyright notice.
In the first "overview" shot of New York City at the beginning of the film, the World Financial Center is shown. Construction of the complex began in 1981 and was not finished until 1987.
The opening of the film indicates that we are in 1979, but Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I, who are still alive at that point in the story, both died in 1978.
When the Corleone family moves to Sicily, one white car license plate can be seen. This color was not used in Italy before 1988.
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A chart showing the strength of the British pound over the years 1988-1990 is shown in one of the newspapers dated 1980.
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The clothes worn by some characters, notably Mary and Kay, are clearly fashions created in the late 1980s.
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When Mary gets out of the car in Italy, one of the presents she is holding is a box containing a Barbie doll. The packaging is the style of the late 80s/early 90s.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

At the opera house, Vincent is heard yelling while his mouth is not moving.
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There is a band playing in the town square in Sicily while Corleone and Kay are talking. The cymbal player is careful to ensure that the plates don't actually meet.
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Character error 

There are numerous errors in the use of Latin by priests in the film. In Saint Patrick's where Michael Corleone is honored by the Church, the presiding clergyman pronounces the Latin word et ("and") as "ay", rhyming with "day", as if it were French. It is in fact pronounced like it's spelled, to rhyme with "wet" and "pet." Later when Cardinal Lamberto (later Pope John Paul I) absolves Michael Corleone, he ends with the standard "in the name of the Father," etc., in Latin. But he wraps it up saying "et Spiritus Sanctus." The correct Latin is "et Spiritus Sancti." But Spiritus is not a nominative, it's the genitive (possessive) singular of a fourth declension noun, and the correct form of the adjective is Sancti. Of course these very mistakes won't be noticed by many viewers, but they will be noticed by anybody who took first year Latin and/or had any training in the Church.
Although the character played by Franco Citti in this movie, and in The Godfather Part I, is credited as "Calo", Michael Corleone always calls him "Carlo".
Pope John Paul I is addressed by a servant as "Your Eminence". The Pope's proper title is "Your Holiness".
In the German dubbed version Vincent several times refers to Mary as his cousin in Italian. He mispronounces the word 'cugina' (cousin) as 'cucina' (kitchen), though.

Continuity 

In The Godfather: Part II the car that Anthony drew for Michael is gray while in Part III it is red.
A hand can be seen on the shotgun on the table in the opera, followed by a shot of the hand reaching down to pick it up.
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At the beginning of the movie Vincent gets in a scuffle with security at the party being held for Michael. Vincent's coat gets knocked off his arm but in the next shot it's there again. This happens a few times and when Vincent walks away the coat is back on his arm.
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After the shootout at the opera house, Vincent goes up the stairs, then he is back down at the bottom and then at the top again, all within a matter of seconds.
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When Michael lies in the hospital, the oxygen tube on his pillow changes its position.
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When Michael visits Archbishop Gilday, the Archbishop has a lit cigarette cupped in his hand. While telling of the bank's woes and his need for Michael's help, another priest offers the Archbishop a cigarette and lights it for him. The first cigarette has disappeared, yet there has not been enough time for, nor any action indicating onscreen, the Archbishop has extinguished the first cigarette.
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During the conversation between Michael Corleone and Kay in the lunch room at the house of Don Tommasino, the cheese on Kay's plate appears and disappears.
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When Kay is on the steps about to get into the car in Sicily, Michael can be seen removing his cap through the windshield. Then, after she gets into the car, Michael turns around and again removes his cap.
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Near the end, when the hit man is assembling his rifle, he mounts the scope backwards. Later in the film it is on in the correct direction.
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At the end of the opera, Anthony Corleone comes out while flowers are being thrown on the stage. When he re-enters with the other opera singers, the flowers are all gone.
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The camera the photographer uses at the party changes make and model between shots. Also, the cord connecting the lens to the flash equipment appears and disappears between shots. Then when he is done with the last shot, he completely disappears along with the tripod and camera from the staircase as the kids run past.
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The opening scene at the church, where Michael is given the award, Mary is wearing a veil in the close ups, but not wearing it in the long shots.
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Errors in geography 

When Michael arrives to Sicily, the caption says "Bagheria" and it's shown a Greek temple, but there are no Greek temples in Bagheria.
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Factual errors 

The Opera Cavalleria Rusticana is shown out of chronological order. The prologue is shown first (Anthony singing backstage), followed by a scene near the end. The procession scene shown next, is actually in the middle of the opera. Then the conclusion is shown.
In the Opera some scenes take place in an empty box with unused stacked chairs. In a presumably sold out show there would be no unused boxes and even if so, the box would have been prepared, because it can be looked over by the boxes on the other side, as we see the boxes with the audience.
When Cardinal Lamberto hears Michael Corleone's confession, he is not wearing the purple stole all priests wear during the sacrament. There is no reason why he wouldn't have one, since all priests carry one on their person at all times in case of emergency (such as giving absolution during last rites).
One of the newspapers headlining the executions is dated "Wednesday November 15 1979". November 15, 1979 was a Thursday.
Another newspaper is dated "Friday March 27, 1980". March 27, 1980 was also a Thursday.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Although the details of Pope John Paul I and his death in the film are not always consistent with those of the real Pope John Paul I, this is not a factual error, as this film is only presenting a fictional story partially (and loosely) based on true events.
When Corleone allows himself to be shaved a towel is placed over his left shoulder. A second later it is shown on his right shoulder. However when the towel is placed on his shoulder he is seen reflected in his shaving mirror and the shot switches to a non reflected shot so it is actually on his right shoulder to start with.

Plot holes 

In an early scene, in Michael's office, a picture can be seen of Vito and Michael, from the scene in the first movie, where Michael and Vito are talking privately about the upcoming Barzini meeting. There was nobody else there, so who took that closeup picture that's now framed on the wall?

Revealing mistakes 

When the assassins find Frederick Keinszig and begin to subdue him; he reaches for his gun on top of the table of stolen money. As he struggles, one of the top bills gets moved to reveal that the stacks of money are mostly just blank pieces of paper.
Many times newspaper headlines are shown describing events in the film. However, the clearly legible articles underneath the headlines are obviously unrelated to the headlines. In one case, a WSJ headline "article" appears to have been lifted directly from a computer instruction manual!
The scenes where Michael advises his daughter Mary against seeing Vincent, and the one where he gives Anthony the car drawing seem to have been shot in sequence. That is noticeable because Anthony is wearing the same clothes and in the first scene (with Mary) Anthony has the car drawing in his hand.
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Spoilers 

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

Both twin bodyguards are killed during the opera performance. After the final assassination attempt outside the opera house, one of the twins can be seen near Vincenzo frisking the body of the slain assassin.
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Continuity 

After Mary has been shot, Michael puts his head in his hands. There is no blood on his shirt, even though he stood right by her at the time of the shot, which was heading in his direction, and afterwards he cradled her body in his arms. The camera cuts away to Kay cradling Mary's body, then cuts back to Michael. Blood has now appeared prominently on his shirt.
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Continuity 

After the shooting of Mary, Vincent is seen standing with blood on his clothes when he was not near anyone shot.
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Continuity 

Right after Mary gets shot a frame of Vincent screaming enraged is shown a few steps below where he had just killed the assassin, next frame Michael clasps a motionless Mary and Vincent is seen calmly strolling upstairs in the background as you continue to hear his enraged cries. Seconds after there's a shot of what appears to be a supposedly dead twin bodyguard checking on the assassin, and a somehow blood-stained suit worn by Vincent, who apparently jumped 20 steps in 3 seconds and now looks despaired.

Continuity 

When Vincent shoots Joey Zasa, he first fires two shots and after that two blood stained bullet holes are visible in the glass door behind Zasa. Vincent then fires another shot and hits Zasa again from the same position, but there is no third bullet hole in the glass.

Revealing mistakes 

When Joey Zasa is killed, he attempts to enter a store only to find a locked door. Before Vincent shoots him, his blood is already on the door window.
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Revealing mistakes 

In one close-up of the dead Don Tomassino, he is clearly moving slightly or breathing.
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Revealing mistakes 

No less than two shots of the dead Don Tomassino in the casket were done with very obvious rear projection, most evident by frozen film grain around the casket. Meanwhile, Michael (to the left of the casket) is surrounded by a very natural film grain.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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