Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:

The Godfather
Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
James Caan as Santino 'Sonny' Corleone
Richard S. Castellano as Peter Clemenza
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Sterling Hayden as Capt. McCluskey
John Marley as Jack Woltz
Richard Conte as Don Emilio Barzini
Al Lettieri as Virgil 'The Turk' Sollozzo
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams
Abe Vigoda as Sal Tessio
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
Gianni Russo as Carlo Rizzi
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
Rudy Bond as Don Carmine Cuneo

The Godfather: Part II
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton as Kay Corleone
Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone
Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
Michael V. Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli
G.D. Spradlin as Senator Pat Geary
Richard Bright as Al Neri
Gastone Moschin as Don Fanucci
Tom Rosqui as Rocco Lampone
Bruno Kirby as Young Peter Clemenza
Frank Sivero as Genco Abbandando
Francesca De Sapio as Young Mama Corleone

The Godfather: Part III
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams Michelson
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
Andy Garcia as Vincent Mancini
Eli Wallach as Don Altobello
Joe Mantegna as Joey Zasa
George Hamilton as B.J. Harrison
Bridget Fonda as Grace Hamilton
Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone
Raf Vallone as Cardinal Lamberto
Franc D'Ambrosio as Anthony Vito Corleone
Donal Donnelly as Archbishop Gilday
Richard Bright as Al Neri
Helmut Berger as Frederick Keinszig
Don Novello as Dominic Abbandando

Special Features:
Commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola
Making of The Godfather
Additional Scenes
Filming Locations
The Corleone Family Tree
The Music of The Godfather
The Godfather Historical Timeline
Profiles on the Filmmakers
Photo Galleries and Storyboards
Godfather World
The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t
...When the shooting stopped
Emulsional Rescue Revealing The Godfather
The Godfather on the Red Carpet

Four Short Films on The Godfather
- The Godfather vs. The Godfather: Part II
- Cannoli
- Riffing on the Riffing
- Clemenza

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 549 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD description:

"See this famously dark, staggeringly beautiful trilogy of films presented by the filmmaker as originally envisioned for the cinema.

Five Discs Including All Three Films And Over 4 Hours Of Supplemental Materials 'The Godfather' And 'The Godfather Part II' Fully Restored With All-New 5.1 Digital Surround Sound 'The Godfather Part III' Newly Remastered

A true cultural phenomenon

'The Godfather Trilogy' is the benchmark for all cinematic storytelling. Francis Ford Coppola's masterful adaptation of Mario Puzo's novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family in this celebrated epic. Collectively nominated for a staggering twenty-eight Academy Awards, the films are the winner of nine, including two for Best Picture for 'The Godfather' and 'The Godfather Part II.'

An enduring cinematic legacy...with all-new DVD supplements!

Explore the phenomenal impact 'The Godfather' films had on our culture, on other filmmakers, on the cinema, and - over 35 years later - the enduring legacy and influence Coppola's 'Godfather' trilogy has generated, as the films are lovingly quoted and mercilessly parodied in contemporary media. Hear the unlikely tale of the masterpiece that almost never happened! Witness the fascinating meticulous restoration of 'The Godfather' and 'The Godfather Part II.' In addition to the 2001 DVD Bonus Materials and provocative director's commentaries, this 'Godfather' release contains these all-new DVD supplements:

Godfather World - The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn't - When the Shooting Stopped - Emulsional Rescue Revealing The Godfather - The Godfather on the Red Carpet - Four Short Films on The Godfather."

"The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration" is rated R.

Mini-Review:
OK, I have a confession to make - I had never seen "The Godfather" movies before watching this Coppola Restoration. Yes, I am ashamed. For one reason or the other over the years, I never saw it though I fully intended to watch it. I wasn't even going to mention I hadn't seen it until I confessed to Edward Douglas and this site's editor, then I found out their lists of 'classics' they hadn't seen either. So I figure there are a lot of movie fans, like me, who haven't seen a number of classics. You can form a line and confess in the comments section below.

Despite never having seen it, I knew a lot about it. I knew of the lines; "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse," "Leave the gun and take the cannoli," "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in," etc. I knew about the horse head scene, the music, the stellar cast, and so on. You can't be familiar with pop culture and not be familiar with "The Godfather." So what did I think after having seen it?

I enjoyed watching it and was definitely hooked by the story and performances. It took me several nights of watching it after the kids went to bed in order to make it through this marathon. It was an interesting story about Michael Corleone's transformation from war hero to head of the organized crime family. His slow change seems natural though you wouldn't expect it from his early, lighter scenes. I was surprised how the movie jumped around in time, though. From one scene to the next there could easily be a one year jump in timeline. If you didn't pay attention you could quickly get lost.

My opinion of the trilogy pretty much reflects the general consensus on the films - I liked the first two but was bored by the third one. I enjoyed the performances and story from the first film, but I particularly liked the flashbacks of "The Godfather Part II." I liked the back story on Don Corleone's origin as well as Robert De Niro's performance. I also liked how it was a period film covering two distinctly different eras - the 1920s and the 1950s. I liked the jumps from New York to Las Vegas to Miami to Cuba. It made for interesting and contrasting settings. The third film was bogged down with too much religious conspiracy and confusing plotting and scheming against the families. I lost track of all the betrayals.

Sometimes I dread seeing these movies that are put on pedestals because I feel like if I don't like them, I'm somehow missing something. And without the rose colored glasses of nostalgia, there were a few things that I'm not sure worked so well in a modern context. As famous as Brando's performance is, I have to wonder what would happen if an actor tried to use the same voice in a film today. He'd probably be universally ridiculed. I also found that the three films fell into a similar pattern. Each starts out with a dinner party and the Godfather meeting various associates. Shortly after, there's a murder attempt on him. The rest of the film is spent on plotting and scheming until the end where the Godfather sets up several enemies for brutal executions in a montage scene. I wasn't expecting those overall plots to be so similar.

If, like me, you haven't seen "The Godfather Trilogy," this "Coppola Restoration" is a perfect opportunity for you to get caught up. Each frame of the film has been digitally restored. (I have to admit, though, that I watched a regular DVD version on an HD TV and it didn't look as good as it could have. I should have watched it on Blu-ray Disc.) There's a really interesting documentary about it in the bonus features. There are also a number of featurettes that are a mix of vintage footage and new interviews. They're interesting if not a little bizarre. For example, they interview George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and many other notable Hollywood filmmakers. However, they also interview the cast of the upcoming "Star Trek" film as they walked the "Cloverfield" red carpet. It was a bit strange. Nevertheless, there's plenty of extras to check out on the two DVDs included in the set.

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