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on 7 December 2011
Finally! I have seen the Godfather Trilogy, something I've wanted to be able to say for the longest time. And, with this part of the trilogy, I went in with my eyes wide-open: the movie the critics despise. I was absolutely determined to avoid having my view or my opinion poisoned by this known negative bias, and I think I succeeded. The problem, though, is that the film just isn't as good as the other two.

You see, the film has its strengths, sometimes it even displays strengths the other two just didn't, such as the strong emotional reaction evoked by Pacino and Keaton's chemistry; although, of course, one shouldn't ignore the well written dialogue between the two characters either. For the first time, I was made care about Michael's love for Kay, something that his immorality had blocked in the prior two parts. This time, however, with Michael's quest for redemption, his love is absolute and obvious, which Pacino makes very obvious in his (again) outstanding performance.

Unfortunately, the emotional depth sacrifices the sort of objectivity the previous films had, making this movie a little melodramatic and soppy at points. This is actually a holistic problem for the film: almost all of it is simply too over the top. Any believability the other two films had is sort of shot here. This just wasn't a film I wanted some sort of alternate history in, it completely destroyed my ability to suspend disbelief.

The inclusion of the new characters is necessary, I suppose, but also not entirely successful. I found the new characters a distraction for a number of reasons, both the problem of the writer and a certain actor. For one, the new characters just didn't get any real development; the exception being Vincent Mancini, of course, but his development was so rushed. By the end of the movie, he ends up where Michael took a film and a half to get to. Then there's the pivotal character of Mary Corleone who is completely savaged by Sofia Coppola, as sad as that is. The returning characters though are as outstanding as they always were.

Although not too big of a problem- because direction was never really a big deal for Coppola with these movies- the direction feels off. It just doesn't fit with the other two. But I suppose that's too be expected considering the time gap between part two and three. This is a problem, though, because it kind of alienates the film.

With so many criticisms, it may seem like I intensely disliked the movie, but that isn't true. The great soundtrack, dialogue and characters are still here to be loved. And I, for one, feel the ending did do the trilogy justice. I've heard complaints that Brando's death scene was so much more dramatic than Pacino's, but surely it's supposed to be? Michael is an empty vessel at the end; with nothing to live for and no one to care, such an eventless demise seems perfectly fitting to me. I also like the operatic climax, if not a little predictable.

So all in all, this was a good movie; a character study in Michael Corleone. After all, Coppola did want to call it 'The Death of Michael Corleone'. I think a problem many people had was the change in tone from the first two, but that's expected, as this really isn't a sequel but an epilogue. Putting the character to bed was Coppola's intention here, and I think he did it with style. Not a masterpiece, but a good, steady finale for Michael Corleone.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2007
I confess it! "Godfather III" is one of my favorite movies. All right, it has less-than-perfect moments, but it also has memorable ones, such as the touching confessional scene between Michael (Al Pacino) and the Cardinal (Raf Vallone) in the cloister, and the reconciliation of Michael and Kay (Diane Keaton) in Don Tommasino's dining room.

I especially enjoy the Italian locations, and since I spent the `80s in Italy, amidst rumors about what was commonly regarded as the suspicious death of John Paul I; the scandals of the Vatican Banco Ambrosiano (with the banker Calvi hanging from the Blackfriars bridge); the P-2 scandals in the highest posts of the government, not to mention numerous assassinations of judges in Sicily, the background of the story--the last half of which takes place in Sicily--rang true for me. Furthermore--and more importantly--Coppola's brilliant use of recurrent visual and thematic imagery renders the film outstanding not only on its own merits but also in respect to the first two films. Besides the well-discussed use of oranges whenever a catastrophe is imminent, Coppola constantly juxtaposes themes of religion and death, replicating the events of the story--the biting of the ear; the religious procession, the veiling of the head--with those of Mascagni's magnificent opera about death, revenge, and religion in Sicily: "Cavalleria Rusticana." Coppola intersperses scenes of the opera with scenes of actual vendetta, as the plans of Vincenzo--the new godfather--are carried to their violent conclusion. The part I love the best, though, is when Coppola transfers the tragedy taking place onstage in the opera, outside onto the steps of the opera house--life imitating art. That final choreographed scene, staged to the heart-rending music of Mascagni, gets me every time (Please pass some more Kleenex tissue!).

Al Pacino's silent scream on the steps of the opera house embodies the mask of Greek tragedy. And tragic irony renders "Godfather III" particularly powerful, when the film is viewed in the context of the whole. For instance, the preservation of the family is the device that moves the plot of the entire trilogy. The crimes committed first by Vito Corleone and then by Michael are committed in order to keep the family safe, even though the meaning of 'family' becomes distorted from its original significance during the course of the trilogy. In "Godfather III," however, the aging Michael, who is trying to become a pillar of society in order to preserve his immediate family, accomplishes the very opposite of what he intended. The final scenes of "Godfather I" and "Godfather III"--both set in gardens--emphasize the tragedy. Whereas Vito Corleone dies in the garden, alone except for the youngest member of the family--his toddler grandson--at his feet, Michael Corleone dies in the garden, alone--except for a dog at his feet. Perfect examples of tragic irony!

I wish that Coppola would reprise his "Godfather Saga" which he made for television in the seventies. He reshuffled the scenes so that the narrative ran in chronological order from the funeral of Vito's father in Sicily at the beginning of "Godfather I" to the shooting of Fredo at end of "Godfather II." In combination with this particular format, "Godfather III" would make an especially effective tragic finish to the trilogy. The entire saga would then recall the Greek dramatist Aeschylus's trilogy. The original saga of family and its disintegration through revenge and murder, "The Oresteia" depicts the fall of the House of Atreus, just as the Godfather trilogy depicts the fall of the House of Corleone.

When I once made this observation to my daughter, she gave me a sarcastic look and said: "Mom, you're over-educated!"

Mea Culpa!
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on 26 November 2010
This film bears no truly artistic relationship to the original two. If it was a stick of rock the term 'SELL-OUT' would run through it in bold letters and it would taste bitterly of shame and embarrassment. The presence of Sofia Coppola smacks of blind nepotism and the misjudgement of a once great, now seemingly exhausted, talent. She is without any acting ability at all and gives one of the most truly terrible performances it has ever been my misfortune to witness. It takes every effort not to groan each painful second she is on the screen.
As well as this, and just as unforgivable, is the replacement of the mighty Robert Duvall with the faintly ridiculous George Hamilton; perhaps the most cynical intimation of the only real reason why this film was made, that is, money {Coppola wouldn't pay Duvall what he was asking}. A tired, hackneyed script, ropey performances {at best} from all involved and woefully uninspired direction from a once great master makes this film one of the most monumental duds in modern cinema. In short, TO BE AVOIDED.
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VINE VOICEon 6 November 2004
I enjoyed this film even more than the acclaimed Godfather II and it provides a seamless and accomplished finale to the Godfather series. There is another awesome performance from Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, supported superbly by Diane Keaton,Talia Shire , Andy Garcia and Sofia Coppola who plays Michael's beloved daughter Mary. Godfather III is set in 1979 and deals with the declining years of Michael Corleone and his desire to distance himself from his gangster past and to achieve the respectabilty and legitimacy he craves for. This leads him into financial dealings with the Vatican and involves him in a brilliant, but controversial sub-plot concerning a web of corruption and murder within the Roman Catholic hierarchy. However it is family, tradition, revenge , love and power which are the main themes of the film. Michael's desire to mend fences with ex wife Kay and his relationship with his two children are superbly explored, yet his repemtance and paternal love remain always shadowed by a murderous criminal past that he cannot shake off. The climax of this film is superb, one of the best endings to any film I have seen, full of tension ,suspense and brilliantly directed by Coppola. The poignant final scene is a perfect conclusion to the whole trilogy.
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on 28 June 2016
“Friendship and money: oil and water” (Michael Corleone / Al Pacino)

The Godfather. Part III got Oscar nominations (including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Andy Garcia, Best Director: Coppola, and Best Cinematography: Gordon Willis). It didn’t win any Oscar.

Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen) didn’t want to be in the movie because he considered it “unacceptable” that Al Pacino would earn 5 times more than him.

The Godfather. Part III is not so amazing as The Godfather and The Godfather. Part II, but nevertheless it is a really good movie. Another Coppola gem, and a brilliant, unexpected and painful end.

The best: Joe Mantegna and Michael’s confession.

The worst: Al Pacino’s hairdo.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 June 2014
I got this as part of the Godfather "box set" so it was a compulsory buy as such all the 3 main films and the extras.

Part III I watched many years ago after first release and I didn't like it much, it felt rather wooden and not particularly convincing screenplay wise. Having had the chance to sit down and watch it more times, it isn't a terrible movie...but it's clearly not up to the hard hitting previous instalments.

The story is a continuation from the previous film, a more aged and somewhat regretful Michael Corleone is trying to clean up his business affairs and seeks to do some good deeds giving to charity and his involvement with the Vatican can be seen as "sin cleansing" for his ruthless prior actions. We have an enthusiast though slightly OTT performance from Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini the son of Michael's late brother Sonny, who is the perky though lacking in restraint potential future "Don" in waiting as Michael winds things down personally.

Cast wise a mixed bag we have a decent performance as ever from Pacino, Diane Keaton does solid service as Kay, Garcia is a bit too eager in my view and overplays the Vincent part. The film came in for serious criticism regarding the acting of Sofia Coppola who plays Mary Corleone, many saw it as a ill advised move from Francis Ford Coppola to parachute his own daughter into an important role. Sofia never looks at ease and struggles throughout the entire film. Roger Ebert defended her as a casting choice, but I won't..the girl can't act simple as that. (sorry but that's how I see it)

Even more painfully obvious when on-screen with people like Pacino (whilst not to everyones taste acting wise, is one of the hard hitters of acting no question), Sofia lets the show down and is unconvincing in the role. She withers and pales next to the on screen legend. I'm not fond of Garcia's over acting either trying too hard to overplay the role of a Sonny Mk II.

Leaving that aside, the story is ok, though feels a little dragged on in places in a way the first two instalments never did (they are all long films) certainly worth a watch and if you can overlook some weaker performances and flaws, the story is reasonable enough, but not really outstanding either and fairly predictable. The real problem is the reputation it has to live up to, Francis Ford Coppola openly admitted the film was done mostly for financial reasons, rather than a strong desire to continue the series (some fans would argue it was complete with part II and didn't need a third instalment) I think the film could have been just as good as the first two with a better story, a more risk taking screenplay and plot. In some ways it feels a little rushed to market as they say.

It's not a complete waste, there are some good performances here too. But don't expect the same as part I and II it's just not in that league.
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on 29 August 2015
Bought from the marketplace as a gift for a customer at my work. The DVD was in great condition and was a deluxe version so it came with a handful of brilliant postcards for an absolutely fantastic price. So impressed.
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on 17 October 2013

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on 11 January 2005
Having recently watched Part III for only the second time (the first being when it came out), I have completely changed my mind about this film. I was, perhaps, too influenced by the critics initialy and had dismissed it as being not worthy to bear the "Godfather" name. But I was wrong.
No, it isn't as good as the first two, but as these are as near to being the perfect film as you'll find that was always asking too much. It does, however, stand up to being an accomplished ending to the saga. Indeed, I was left thinking that the three films taken as a whole are the nearest thing to a Greek tragedy as one is likely to find in modern times.
And Sophia Copolla isn't nearly as bad as she was made out to be.
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on 23 October 2009
A story is told of the enthusiast who praised Verdi, saying, "In Otello, Verdi has raised Italian opera to the level of Shakespeare!" To which a critic replied sourly that actually, in Otello, Verdi had lowered Shakespeare to the level of Italian opera.

The first two Godfather films are great. In any survey of the top 100 movies of all time, they consistently feature near the top, and justifiably so. It isn't only *that* music, or the actors, or the epic cinematography, though that's a big part of it. But it's also because both films are about the Lear-like tragedy of the Corleone family, and the whole, transpiring sense that everything that proceeds is implicit from Vito's earliest days - a relentless vendetta that pursues and binds successive generations. Actions have consequences, decisions become unavoidable, evil erupts out of vengeance, out of escape, out of an honourable desire to protect one's family.

The obvious, natural sequel to Godfather II would therefore have been the unresolved story of Michael and Tom, two men with apparently parallel loyalties, but whose alliance was bound to disintegrate under the dual tensions of power and blood. Apparently, however, Robert Duvall wouldn't sign up. So Coppola went ahead without him.

In Godfather III, then, we find a modern-day (1979) Michael Corleone, with grown-up children, seeking to secure riches in heaven (as well as on earth) by acquiring the role of "God's Banker." And at first you don't notice anything wrong. It certainly looks just like a Godfather movie. The music is the same. The cinematography is as florid as ever - much of the action takes place in the Vatican, so plenty of Papal red and gold. And Pacino is back to reprise his role and do the best he can with the various members of Coppola's own family wandering about on set. It's only as the film goes on that it dawns on you, horribly, that Coppola has kept the external trappings in place, while jettisoning the element of intrinsic personal nemesis wholesale. Audiences, it seems, can no longer be trusted to work things out for themselves. Any impending tragedy must be flagged up. Heavily. So Michael swears "on the life of his children." Later, during a procession, a gilded plaster Madonna is brought crashing significantly to the ground, her innocent face shattered. So many, so heavy handed are the number of ominous foreshadowings, that it's only a matter of time before you start to think of Father Ted. By the time a cardinal was assassinated, in a ludicrously melodramatic scene, and came plunging down an ornate baroque staircase, face contorted, robes billowing in gorgeous, lovingly photographed slow-mo, it was to the accompaniment of remarks from our test audience of "Ah, I think I'll just give Father Cappaldi a ring now, he's always a great laugh."

And I'm sorry, but as far as I can see, some character motivations actually make no sense, no sense whatsoever. People do evil things because ... well. Just because. To get in on the act. If you do decide, against my recommendations, to watch this movie, wait for a certain scene near the end and you'll see what I mean. So. Sorry, Mr Coppola. With all due respect, most people do agree that in Godfather parts I and II, you raised the mob movie to the level of Shakespeare. But in Godfather III, sadly, you have brought it down to the level of Italian opera.
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