Francis Ford Coppola’s conclusion to his iconic The Godfather trilogy is to be given a re-edit and re-release this December, just in time for the film’s 30th anniversary.
The new version of the film, which has been given the lengthy title of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, is reportedly slightly shorter than the original theatrical run and will hit US cinemas over Christmas (where available) before arriving on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray shortly after. An international release has not yet been announced.
The Godfather Part III is seen by many fans as the outcast of the trilogy; arriving sixteen years after Part II took home six Oscars, the film opened to lukewarm reviews, with many criticising its inconsistent tone and some of the performances. Despite its mixed reception, it went on to gross over $135 million worldwide, and scored seven Oscar nominations.
Coppola was initially not keen to revisit the franchise – both he and author/screenwriter Mario Puzo saw the series as a duology, with The Godfather Part III as a coda (hence the new title). The pair eventually did join the project, but the rest of the production was not without its issues: Robert Duvall refused to return to star opposite Al Pacino, and Winona Ryder dropped out before shooting a single scene. She was swiftly replaced by Coppola’s daughter Sofia, whose performance was the subject of much of the criticism aimed at the film. Coppola hopes the new cut will ‘vindicate her.’
Of course, Coppola is no stranger to revisiting and re-cutting his own films. Three versions of his Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now have been released (the 1979 original, the 2001 Redux and last year’s Final Cut), each with a wildly different running time to the last.
He is also far from alone in undertaking such endeavours: Ridley Scott famously tinkered with Blade Runner for years after its release, only settling on the finished version in 2007, 25 years after the film’s initial release; after nearly three years of campaigning on social media, the so-called ‘Snyder Cut’ of 2017’s Justice League is being released on HBO Max next year; Peter Jackson’s extended versions of his The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies clock in at around twenty hours in total; Steven Spielberg released three different versions of his sci-fi flick Close Encounters of the Third Kind; and George Lucas infamously recut the original Star Wars trilogy as recently as last year, when the films became available to stream on Disney+. One has to wonder what a female director would have to do to be given the same amount of freedom…
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone hits cinemas this December.
Words by Matt Taylor
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