The Godfather: Part III (1990)
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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.
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...
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.
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.
I don't really have too much to say about this venture. It's a little sad. Coppola is a sensitive family man. He loves babies. And he blames critics for condemning the movie because he cast his daughter. I don't know whether he's right or not. She looks proper for the part of the virginal Italian girl, not exotic or spectacularly beautiful but innocent. Her performance is hard to judge from one role. She comes across as natural rather than as a seasoned actress. It fits her role but it's hard to tell what her range might be. Diane Keaton was available, probably because not many parts were coming her way, but there is no spark between her and Pacino, just a wan regret without moment.
But Coppola is wrong in believing that the movie failed because of Sofia. The movie failed because it was a watered-down and meandering story that seemed without point. The material -- Al Pacino, his family relationships and his intrigues -- is no longer fresh. There is no novelty in it.
And sometimes it seems as if the elements that are important to the director are more personal than portentous. He may find it shocking that a newly elected Pope could be assassinated. I doubt that most people care as much as he does, especially since we hardly get to know Raf Vallone. The whole Vatican provides not much more than a backdrop for colorfully robed figures having business meetings and enacting rituals.
I'm happy for Coppola that he was able to cast his father as the local band leader in Sicily. And I like Coppola's personality. He's growing wine now in Napa or somewhere. And when I lived in San Francisco he owned a small underground restaurant, Tomasso's, where the customers waiting for a table could tap the wine barrel in the dark, tiny room as often as they liked and get half lit during their wait. The wait was worth while. The clams cuscus were a rarely encountered treat.
I wish I could recommend the movie as highly as the restaurant.
That seems like an odd way to start a review, as it is a minor plot point and has nothing really to do with the major action. Just bear with me here; you'll see where I'm going with this eventually. Now let me tell you about the major plot. It is about Michael Corleone wanting to quit crime for good (he has largely abandoned all criminal elements in his family business). But then along comes Vincent Mancini, an illegitimate nephew, who is involved in a feud. So of course Michael must endure yet another brush with criminality and gun violence and all that good gangster stuff. Meanwhile, Vincent has a semi-incestuous affair with Michael's daughter Mary. Oh, and Michael and Kay are trying to patch up all the horrid things that happened at the end of Part II.
It is like a soap opera. One horrid, awful, 169-minute soap opera. Gone is any sort of the sophistication, romance, and emotional relevance that made the first two movies hit home so hard. After a 16-year break in the franchise, Francis Ford Coppola delivered a mess of sop and pretentiousness entirely incongruous with the first two films, once again proving his last great work was "Apocalypse Now" back in the 1970's.
What's worse, "The Godfather: Part III" isn't even a logical follow-up of "The Godfather: Part II." Michael is a completely different person. He hasn't just gone to seed (which might be legitimate, even if it'd be no fun to watch). He's become a goody-goody that's trying to fix all the tragedy that made Part II such a devastating masterpiece. His confession to the priest was bad enough, but that little diabetes attack in the middle pushed it over to nauseating. He also gets back together with Kay! For heaven's sakes, there is absolutely no way that should happen, as the 2nd movie made abundantly clear! She aborted his baby, and his Sicilian upbringing made him despise her for it. Didn't Francis Ford Coppola even think of these things?
And don't even get me started on Mary and Vincent's affair! For a romance so forbidden, it was shockingly unengaging. Sofia Coppola's acting did nothing to help. She made the smartest move of her life when she switched from in front of the camera to behind it, because she was possibly THE worst actress I have ever seen in a Best Picture nominee. Every line she delivered was painfully memorized, and every time the drama rested on her acting abilities, all she elicited was inappropriate giggles. In the climactic scene--I won't go into detail, but you'll know which scene I'm talking about when/if you watch it--she looks at Michael and says, "......Daddy?" I think I was meant to cry, but the line was delivered so poorly I burst out into long, loud laughter!
Now we get to the climax, and now you will also realize why I took time to start the review with a description of Anthony Corleone's musical ambitions. After 140 minutes of petty drama and irrelevant happenstances, Anthony Corleone returns... with an opera! So Michael, Kay, Mary, and Vincent go to see it, and for about 10-15 minutes a couple killers walk around trying to assassinate Michael. About this climactic sequence, I must say one thing: It was really good! But not because of the killers--they were pretty boring. I just really liked the opera. It had some great music and real great set pieces. And, from what little it showed us, it seemed that the story had echoes of the Corleone family's origin. I'll bet it was one swell opera, and I'll bet Michael Corleone was glad he let his son switch from law school to music.
My biggest wish is this: that Francis Ford Coppola had merely filmed Anthony Corleone's opera for 169 minutes and ditched the rest of the soggy melodrama. Better yet, I wish he hadn't made "The Godfather: Part III" at all. Part II gave us the perfect ending. This spin off was self-indulgent and unnecessary.
P.S. This is not a gut reaction to the film. I watched all 3 Godfather films over a month ago (though I was rewatching the first one). Not only does this mean that my expectations for Part III weren't screwed (in fact, I had set the bar rather low for it after what I heard), but it also means I've had a good time to think about all three films. While I was a bit disappointed with Part II at first, the more I thought about it, the better it seemed. But with Part III, it was bad to begin with, then got worse the more I thought about it. The sad thing is that many people will stop with Part I, but if they watch Part II as well, they will most likely go on to Part III. If you have the will, watch Parts I & II and pretend like Part III never existed.
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.
Suggestion for those who loved the first movie: read the book and then go watch the first movie again. It's like putting on 3d glasses or switching from a black-and-white to color TV. But save yourself the anger of being duped and avoid GF3.
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 -
Casting problems: Diane Keaton said all she needed to say in part 2. Her presence in the part 3 added nothing whatsoever. We learn from her dialog that she will always love Michael but that she will never accept his gangster ways. Yeah. We learned that in part 2. George Hamilton as the lawyer/confident. Lame. Sophia Coppola as Mary. She comes across like a dull-witted 16-year-old that doesn't know a thing about acting but thinks it is fun to be able to stand in front of a camera. (spoiler alert) the primary dramatic event of the movie involved her death. By that time I was hoping that she would be killed off (or at least get no more screen time), so my ability to feel any emotional impact at the death of this air-headed monstrosity.
Dialog problems: The dialog in Michael's study in the initial scene is painful to hear. The movie gets better, but very awkward dialog pops up every 20 minutes or so throughout the movie. Part of the problem is the screen play and part of the problem is that at times the actors don't know how to effectively deliver their lines.
Plot problems: Awkward casting & dialog aside, I think this is the biggest problem. when you get to be one of the wealthiest business men in the world, wacking people no longer makes any sense. When you have untold millions at your disposal, you find that you a wide range of tools to accomplish your aims, and most of these tools work better than bullets (anyone remember the last time a Fortune 500 CEO was taken out in a mob hit?). (spoiler alert) There is a scene in which one of the baddies flies a helicopter outside a penthouse ballroom in a high rise building and then occupants of the helicopter riddle the ballroom with machine gun fire killing dozens of wealthy business men. This would be par for the course in the Matrix, or True Lies, or Commando, but this type of violence is not part of the real world we live in. It's cartoonishness is at odds with the other Godfather films and makes it difficult to take this film seriously. As well paced and tense as the final opera house scene was, it was also in the category of cartooney violence. Did the best assassin in all of Italy really think the cleverest way to kill one of the richest men on the planet was to slip into a well guarded public place, kill off a bunch of hired body guards and then shoot a man in front of 1000 witnesses? Well, I guess the screenwriter thought so. The end result was a complete mess. The narrative flow of the final film was a train wreck. The plot elements went back from somewhat believable to overblown Hollywood insanity and back again.
(Excluded passage due to word limit; concerning how Coppola did the film for the money, and that it actually makes the film a little easier to appreciate)
I think the film really, on a whole, is perhaps not 'bad', certainly not horrible, but definitely a failure. The plot is underdeveloped and not engaging - Michael Corleone suffers from guilt. Its not unreasonable to say he did that at the end of Part II already. Where does his search for redemption lead him? Do "they" really pull him in again? Does his character do or say anything really memorable? Once or twice. But the script really is a long filler-session. And while everybody seems to just automatically praise Pacino because, well, he's Pacino I don't think his performance in this film is particularly good either, at least not by his merits. He's a great actor, and this is as fine a performance as any other he's made, but when you consider how truly versatile Pacino can be (compare Godfather part II with Scarface, with Serpico, Devil's Advocate, you name it, he's right there in character) its a disappointment that the aged Michael Corleone has turned into... well, Al Pacino. Obviously the character is not the same man that he used to be, but I never once really believed that I was watching Michael Corleone. He looked, and acted, too much like Al Pacino.
Not to mention Andy Garcia being nothing more than Andy Garcia, Joe Pantanglio, Eli Wallach, Talia Shire in a strangely awful performance (she's not a bad actress at all, but whatever happened here?). And of course Sofia Coppola; she isn't the crucial problem, but in the end she does become responsible for a lot of misfiring. The only one still doing a prime job is Diane Keaton as Kay - truly an unsung hero in these films, and to me one of the main reasons the drama work - and the film's best scenes were the one's she shared with Pacino. Why? Because then I felt like I was even watching a Godfather movie.
Much of everything else simply doesn't work. Whereas the original films were subtle and ambiguous, part III filters the story with melodramatic punches that are un-inspired and obvious. Michael's son, played by Franc D'Ambrosio, seems taken from Days of Our Lives and so many of the questions we ask ourselves - what does he remember from his childhood? What does any of the characters feel about Michael's marriage in Sicily? Did Tom Hagen ever move to Las Vegas? etc - are left completely by the road, as if Coppola truly isn't interested in telling this story. There are instead near-insulting reminders to the audience that the other two movies still exist (like the pointless scene where Michael have kept the drawing Anthony left at his pillow when he was nine or so; "I remember this" he smiles, though I'm not sure if we are to understand this as "I also remember they shot up the bedroom that same night"; once again, it seems Coppola simply forgets his own story). There are also awkward attempts at creating dramatic highlights in line with the horse-head scene and that very shooting in the beginning of Part II, involving a shooting during a parade in Little Italy and a stupid and ugly scene involving a helicopter. Making a Godfather sequel formulaic is truly a depressing insult to the originality of the first two films. The attempts Coppola takes on the Vatican are also pretty flat when you think about how Italian cinema has been doing this for half a century.
There's no reason to watch this film have you not seen the first two. And there's really no reason to watch it if you have seen them either. When you think about it, I don't see why the film's few merits are worth talking about. Movie newbies having seen Part I and II will naturally see III too, and I think many of them will come to the same conclusion. It's not all bad, but so what. It simply doesn't work very well.
I liked The Godfather: Part III right up to and including Sofia Coppola's much maligned performance as Mary Corleone daughter of Don Michael Corleone, the one and only Al Pacino. I think she was unjustly criticized. In her performance she set out to play one of the innocent children of Al Pacino.
There's a moving scene in The Godfather where we saw Al Pacino and Marlon Brando talking for the last time. Brando's hopes were for his son to become Governor Corleone, Senator Corleone to attain that level of respectability that was out of the Don's reach. Pacino tells him, maybe the next generation.
Flash forward to the late seventies where Pacino has slowly divested himself of the illegal interests of the Corleone family. But the other crime bosses don't like the idea of him going completely legitimate. He also has some opposition within his own family. His surviving sibling Talia Shire thinks he ought to keep a hand in and his illegitimate nephew, Andy Garcia is having a running feud with another family head, Joe Mantegna.
Andy Garcia got the only acting nomination for The Godfather: Part III as Sonny's son out of wedlock. And he's every bit as wild and hot tempered as Sonny was from The Godfather. Garcia brings a lot of passion to the part. But he does prove able to learn from his uncle and eventually not repeat the mistakes of his father. Garcia lost to another hoodlum portrayal, Joe Pesci for Goodfellas for Best Suppporting Actor.
Probably Al Pacino has gotten all he could out of the character of Michael Corleone. He's gotten real respectability now, he's been conferred with a Papal Knightship for the good works of the Corleone Foundation now. He's high up the criminal world too. But people and circumstances won't let those worlds mix and as he ruefully remarks, "just when I think I'm out, they drag me back in again."
Only four characters made it through the three Godfather films, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Richard Bright as Al Neri. All except Neri seem to grow in character, Neri is still button man in chief since Lucabrazzi started sleeping with the fishes in The Godfather. Keaton's character is still the outsider. Separated from Pacino in The Godfather: Part II, she still loves him and regrets as much as he has the outside forces that caused their separation.
Although Talia Shire got an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in The Godfather: Part II, I think she really comes into her own in this one. Had it not been for male chauvinism implicit in the Sicilian culture, she'd be taking over the family business from Pacino. She's changed so dramatically over the course of the three films. In The Godfather she's the innocent daughter about to embark on marriage to a wife beater. In The Godfather: Part II, she's now entering middle age, overindulging in excesses, unhappy as a many time married widow, her first husband being killed in the original Godfather. She lives on the sufferance and tolerance of her brother. Now in The Godfather: Part III she takes an active interest in the family business and the family legacy. She realizes more than Pacino there's no escaping the Corleone roots. She champions Garcia as the new Don, she knows he's got the chops for the job, she hopes he can develop the smarts as does Pacino.
Eli Wallach contributes a fine performance as another aging crime Don who's got a lot more to him than when we first meet him. Raf Vallone plays Pope John Paul I and the urban legend of his sudden demise after a one month papacy is woven into the Corleone story. As is Joe Mantegna who plays an undisguised version of Brooklyn mob boss Joe Columbo.
I'm sure if the money's right and a workable screenplay is developed we may not have seen the last of the Corleones. There was one talked about a few years ago. Still if it never develops, The Godfather: Part III is a fine film to end the saga.
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.
Some key points: The movie tries desperately in every single scene without exception to be...I don't know...cool...in the way the first two movies are. The amber lighting...people sitting around eating cannoli...the raspy voices..."Joey ZAZA", really??, etc. And how many times can the cast say the name Joey Zaza? It should be a drinking game. The dialogue most often borders on absurd. After Michael's "confession" to the priest, why is Connie bringing up 'Fredo? Where did that even come from except for a cheap gratuitous explanation of her understanding of his death.
Why does the movie end with the same music used throughout Raging Bull?
Why is GEORGE HAMILTON in this movie?
Why did Coppola insist on using his daughter then dubbing in someone else's voice? How is that OK?
The plot is absurd. The Vatican wouldn't come to a NY organized crime family for money. Every scene with Talia Shire is unnecessarily dramatic and out of character for Connie.
The list goes on. It's unwatchable.
But you should watch it anyway. Because according to these reviews, there's something about it that doesn't suck. After watching it 4 times and wanting to love it, I have no idea what that is. This movie is a mistake.
The ending of this movie is sterling, of the highest quality. Pacino really lets rip.
The other actors? Sofia Coppola is, as others have pointed out, not all that great. Talia Shire? She was never that good, and she does an "OK" job here. Both of those actresses got into movies via their relative, Francis Ford Coppola, who directed this film. Nepotism....it shows. How Talia Shire ever got as much work as she has, I will never know....
Keaton is held back a bit in this movie, perhaps so as not to overshadow Pacino. Not one of her best performances.
Andy Garcia? I am not all that big a fan. I think his performance here is overrated a little bit. He is a ham. And Pacino is, too. But he has something Garcia will never have.
But many other rather good roles for a lot of great character actors, who perform well. Those character actors, along with Pacino, are the heart of this movie. That, and a very good script and production values and direction. Seamless direction!
A high quality film. Almost as good a script as parts 1 and 2.
I give it a 7.9.
Anyway,The Godfather Part III stars Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Andy García, and it features Eli Wallach, Joe Mantegna, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda, and Sofia Coppola.It is about an aging Don Michael Corleone,who seeks to legitimize his crime family's interests and remove himself from the violent underworld. Unfortunately,he is kept back by the ambitions of the young namely Joey Zaza and hungrier gangsters. While he attempts to link the Corleone's finances with the Vatican, Michael must deal with the machinations of a hungrier gangster in both Don Licio Lucchesi and Don Altobello,who are seeking to upset the existing mob order.Aside from that,it also involves Vincent Mancini,a young protégé of Michael who gets involved with a love affair with his daughter,Mary.The movie also weaves into its plot a fictionalized account of real-life events—the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981–1982—and links them with each other.
Director Francis Ford Copolla said the first two films had told the complete Corleone saga. In his audio commentary for Part II, he stated that only a dire financial situation caused by the failure of New York Stories compelled him to take up Paramount's long-standing offer to make a third installment.Coppola and Mario Puzo,author of The Godfather, requested six months to complete a first draft of the script with a release date of Easter 1991. Paramount agreed to give them six weeks for the script and, lacking a holiday movie, a release date of Christmas Day 1990. Given the conditions together with the casting of neophyte actress and the director's daughter,Sofia Copolla,whom many fans have vehemently criticized for her poor portrayal of Mary Corleone,I still believe that Part III is still a great film.
Part III still has great acting from the cast except from Sofia Copolla,whom I must really say deserved the Razzies he got from this film.Worthy of mention is of course,Al Pacino,Andy Garcia and Eli Wallach.Also,the movie's story still works despite missing Robert Duvall and his character,Tom Hagen,whom I believe was really essential in story as he plays an important role in the family. The screenplay was also good BUT one cannot fully comprehend this movie without watching the first two.And of course,other great features from the previous Godfather movies are still present in this movie like the great writing of Copolla and Puzo,the music of Carmine Copolla and Nino Rota and the direction of Copolla.Overall,it is still a great movie although not a masterpiece as compared to the first two.
After viewing The Godfather Part III once again after so many years before writing this review,I would say that if The Godfather is the greatest film ever made and The Godfather Part II is the greatest sequel ever made,this movie is definitely the greatest underrated film ever made.It is a great movie although it may not be comparable to the first two in terms of critical and commercial success.The Academy Award nominations it got attest to that.
Speaking of love, I always wondered how a movie like "The Godfather Part III" had crystallized so much hatred and disdain. The unforgettable "Never hate your enemies, because it clouds your judgment" is like a self-defense cry, from a film that wanted so much to be respected like its glorious predecessors, but apparently failed to, for even the fans will always concede after they say how the movie is great "but not as great as the two others"
So, as a fourteen-year old kid, I loved "The Godfather Part III", I couldn't complain about the absence of Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen. I wasn't mature enough to judge Sofia Coppola's acting abilities though I found something physically odd in her. From Michael's relationship with Kay to his haircut, "Part III" was my reference. And I guess I loved the movie for what it was: a great story with an unforgettable climax.
Till now, I can't watch the ending, even the clip, without crying, it broke my heart the first time, and it always does, even after so many viewings. It was like I felt the devastation of a man whose life's only meaning was incarnated by his children, his only inspiration in his quest of redemption. And it's ironically the very part that kind of redeems the film, even for the non fans. The others deserving to be mentioned are Michael Corleone's sadness while hearing the 'Brucia La Terra' song played by his son, and his heart-breaking confession of Fredo's murder
The film is about the redemption of a man who sinned so many times. Many would argue that his sins were necessary because they were the only ways to maintain the interests of his family, but hell is paved with many good intentions, and the way Michael ended at "The Godfather Part II", a ruthless cold-blooded zombie-like figure was demanding a sequel. The last shot of him, sitting alone in the park plunged viewers in a lot of interrogations and interpretations. What was he thinking? Probably, how he got in such a situation, and how this would end. And it's like Coppola, tortured by his own demons, felt there was more to do with Michael Corleone.
And the character's arc was concluded, with nothing I would reproach in Michael's portrayal, he's tired, sick as he had carried the weight of a lifelong guilt that ravaged his soul. He may be too pathetic, too different from the Michael we know,his use of profanity was quite out-of character, but who knows how killing his own brother could affect someone. Michael is still respected and feared, but is more melancholic, explaining how the movie needed to be driven by more active supporting characters. And after I finally watched the two other films, one year later my opinions were mixed.
First, I was fascinated by the sight of young War hero, Michael Corleone, in Connie's wedding, it was so contrasting with the pitiful diabetic Mike of the third opus, watching Part I was an extraordinary discovery, a refreshing experience. Besides, the gallery of new characters, Sonny, Tom, Clemenza, Tessio, enriched the film and made it even more entertaining, Part II confirmed my fascination. And step by step, when I started to watch the first two a little more and while I was sharing my opinions on the Net and learning about Part III's reputation, flaws were becoming more visible: Sofia, Duvall's absence and replacement by that Hamilton guy who was certainly not to Hagen what Pentangelli was to Clemenza, the helicopter scene etc. And the reading of the book made me wonder why they chose as the successor, Sonny's illegitimate son.
But if the film could have been better, it also could have been worse. And when I watch it, I'm more generous, as I see the tragic ending of one of the most fascinating character's story, a man who's always been "pulled back in". The movie respects the spirit of Part I, with a succession on the Corleone's throne, true historical events as back-stories, and so many unforgettable lines. In fact, we can make a parallel between the trilogy and the Corleone brothers:
- The Godfather is like Sonny : fierce, brutal, yet tender and good-hearted, it's entertaining and deep in the same time. And we all just love 'Sonny' ...
- The Godfather Part II is Michael : deeper, darker, smoother, yes, even 'boring' sometimes, but it's more implacable and ruthless ... we can't love it with the same intensity as the first opus, but we respect the cinematic achievement, and it leaves us with an extraordinary feeling. It's not the most entertaining, but certainly the most fascinating.
And of course ...
- The Godfather Part III is Fredo : it tries too much, it has a good heart but it's weak and even sometimes 'stupid' but hey, it's still a blood brother of the first two films, we still feel Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola's touch and it features some heartbreaking moments, like Michael's silent scream that will haunt me forever. Some magnetism was lacking from the very start, but can we really hate 'Fredo'?
I'm sure those who prefer the first film also appreciate the last one and those who love the second film and think it's the best one, identify so much with Michael that they hate "Part III", with the same intensity and severity Michael expressed towards Fredo. They don't forgive any mistake ... and consider the last film a disgrace for the trilogy, and symbolically disown it.
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Those who say this is a terrible movie, should never have been done etc etc are just exaggerating. I Think that the plot for this movie is excellent and I also really liked how a real life event like the death of the Pope just after a month in 1979 is linked to the story.
The plot and the acting of Al Pacino and Andy Garcia are in my opinion the three great plus's in the movie. What fails to upgrade this from a 'very good' to an 'excellent' movie is one main element: The atmosphere, the set and 'fashion' surrounding the actors did not look like 1979 at all! It looked more like the present day or at least the early 90's. This is a big shame, when considering how 'devoted', Coppola was to such details in the first two movies.
Another thing that could have been improved was the music to the movie. Not that it wasn't good, but I feel that in this department, this movie is more detached from the other two. More use of the main Godfather Theme could have given it a more 'familiar' touch.
My Opinion about why many people are OVER-Critical about this movie is because their brain works inversely proportional after seeing the first two movies. Let me explain myself - The first two movies simply cannot be more perfect and after seeing them it is like having a cup, filled to the brim with water. This makes the slightest imperfection in the third movie 'spill a lot of water'.
Continuing on this analogy, I think that a forth movie would simply 'Empty the cup'!