Godfather III Gets a New Restoration, Cut, and Long Title for 30th Anniversary Re-Release

Release the Coppola cut!

Francis Ford Coppola is bringing an all new version of The Godfather: Part III to theaters/VOD this December to give the saga a more “appropriate conclusion.”

If you always thought The Godfather III could (SHOULD) have been better, you’re not alone! The director himself has come out of retirement to give the film a completely new edit (and restoration) for its 30th anniversary. With an all new beginning, ending, and re-arranged scenes, it sounds like there are going to be quite a few changes!

Among those, is the title. The film will re-release in theaters (limited) and on home entertainment under the name: Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. It’s a mouthful to say the least.

“‘Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone’ is an acknowledgement of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became ‘The Godfather: Part III,’” said Coppola. “For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues. With these changes and the restored footage and sound, to me, it is a more appropriate conclusion to ‘The Godfather’ and ‘The Godfather: Part II’ and I’m thankful to Jim Gianopulos and Paramount for allowing me to revisit it.”

Coppola’s masterful film adaptation of Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family and the saga is rightfully viewed as one of the greatest in cinematic history. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, The Godfather: Part III was nominated for seven Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director*. The film follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.

Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative to undertake a painstaking, frame-by-frame restoration of both the new Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone and the original The Godfather: Part III. In order to create the best presentation possible, Zoetrope and Paramount’s restoration team began by searching for over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative. This process took more than six months and involved sifting through 300 cartons of negative. American Zoetrope worked diligently to repair scratches, stains, and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints, while enhancements were made to the original 5.1 audio mix. These thorough restoration efforts were not immune to the coronavirus pandemic: midway through the project, all work—even the search for the negative—shifted to the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles and was completed by Zoetrope and Paramount remotely.

“Mr. Coppola oversaw every aspect of the restoration while working on the new edit, ensuring that the film not only looks and sounds pristine, but also meets his personal standards and directorial vision,” said Andrea Kalas, senior vice president, Paramount Archives.

Aside from the naming, it’s really cool to see the director come back for such a thorough overhaul of the film. While I’m certainly not the biggest fan of the flick, I’m eager to see how this cut looks.