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Francis Ford Coppola
Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia
Writing Credits:
Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola

Set in 1979, an aging Don Michael Corleone is striving to legitimize his family investments and secure a peaceful future for his beloved children.

Rated R.

Presentation: Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Japanese Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish
Simplified Chinese
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 157 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 12/8/2020

• Introduction from Director Francis Ford Coppola


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone [Blu-Ray] (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 1, 2020)

30 years after The Godfather Part III debuted, director Francis Ford Coppola brings us an altered version. Now titled The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, the 2020 update makes a smattering of changes.

Whereas the version of the film on the Blu-ray linked above goes for two hours, 50 minutes, 15 seconds, Coda runs two hours, 37 minutes, 55 seconds. Note that the prior release didn’t offer the movie’s theatrical cut either.

Instead, the Blu-ray – and prior DVD – brought a “Director’s Cut” that ran about eight minutes longer than the theatrical version. This means Coda goes for about 13 minutes less than the “DC” and four minutes shorter than the 1990 theatrical rendition.

Because I already reviewed Part III multiple times, I’ll skip my plot synopsis and overall movie review. For those interested, please choose the link at this article’s start.

To summarize my opinion of Part III, it brings a decent but flawed film, partly because it just doesn’t connect to the world of Godfather well. It also tells a not especially interesting story and suffers from some iffy performances.

For this review, my primary concern becomes the changes made for Coda and how they impact the film’s success. If you don’t want to learn specifics about the alterations, please skip to the picture and audio part of this article.

We find a change literally at the movie’s opening, as the scene in which Michael receives the Catholic honor gets cut. However, don’t expect the “new beginning” that the film’s PR claims.

Instead, Coda takes the sequence between Michael and Archbishop Gilday and simply moves it. Whereas that segment appeared at 39:29 on the Part III Blu-ray, it now becomes our introduction to the story.

This turns into a moderately good change, as it lightly echoes the opening to the first Godfather. While not an overt homage, it reminds us of how Don Corleone granted favors, so it feels like a spiritual cousin to the 1972 flick’s beginning.

Note that the scene in which Michael gets his honor never appears in the film. It becomes a total omission.

After this, Coda tends toward minor trims for much of its running time. These small cuts include:

-Michael and Mary discuss the foundation.

-Vincent discusses killing Zasa with Connie.

-Recuperating Michael meets with Don Altobello.

-Mary’s reaction when Michael tells her not to see Vincent.

-Don Tommasino gets out of a car.

-Michael at Tommasino’s coffin.

-Flashbacks to younger Michael after Mary’s death.

Coda may come with a few more tiny trims that I missed. I couldn’t run the two versions literally side by side so I flipped between them often, and this meant I might’ve not seen a few seconds of cuts here or there.

We also get occasional alternate lines. For instance, when Mary refuses Michael’s order to stay away from Vincent, she exclaims “no!” loudly twice in the prior version, whereas in Coda, she says “no” quietly just once.

Note that Coda adds some small bits as well. For instance, during the executions toward the film’s finale, we find more graphic violence than in the prior version.

Coda also promises a new ending, and it gives us one – sort of. We still find an elderly Michael on his own in a courtyard, but – despite this version’s title – Michael does not die.

In the prior version, a sad old Michael literally falls off his chair and collapses dead. Here. Michael puts on his sunglasses and we cut to text that reads “When the Sicilians wish you ‘Cent’anni’… it means ‘for long life’ … and a Sicilian never forgets”.

Alrighty then! It’s certainly a more ambiguous ending, one that hints elderly Michael might still have some tricks up his sleeve and he may pursue revenge for Mary’s death.

Maybe. While I like ambiguous endings, this one seems more frustrating than intriguing, as it finishes the movie on an oddly incomplete note – especially given the movie’s title.

Yes, we can assume Coppola means Michael “died” of heartbreak when his life of sin caused Mary’s actual death. Nonetheless, our final image of elderly Michael makes him look…. well, not robust but not beaten down and defeated.

I took that image from the original Part III: Michael suffered a mental breakdown after Mary’s death until he finally died a lonely, pathetic old man. We don’t get the same impression from Coda.

Not that I’ll claim Coda makes elderly Michael seem vigorous, but he lacks the same feeble sense that we see in Part III. As Michael dons his shades, it almost feels like he wants to tell us “I’m back, baby”, and the tease about how Sicilians “never forget” seems to imply he plans his revival.

Did Coppola intend these notions? Probably not, but who knows? The ending seems so vague that it becomes completely open to interpretation, and my sense leans toward a renewed Michael.

Which makes no sense in the scheme of everything that happened in the prior two hours, 29 minutes, of course. The Part III ending seems much more logical in that context, whereas “puttin’ on my shades” Michael doesn’t quite fit.

I guess perhaps the ending intends to imply that Michael will live a long life and also suffer from the painful memory of Mary’s death over an extended period. However, the Part III finale already leaves that impression, so the more vague conclusion to Coda doesn’t give the character a meaningful fate.

Outside of the unsatisfying ending, I think Coda works marginally better than Part III. Because it runs less time, it doesn’t wear out its welcome to the same degree.

Also, it certainly helps that I watched Coda on its own. When I viewed the film in the past, it always followed the first two movies, and it suffered by comparison. Screened solo, the contrast seems less obvious, and the film fares better.

Nonetheless, the flaws of Part III remain. The plot and characters still don’t seem well-rendered or particularly interesting, and various lackluster performances don’t get better.

Al Pacino still overacts, and Sofia Coppola continues to show an utter inability to create a decent performance. After she saw Coda, Diane Keaton opined that audiences would rethink their criticisms of Sofia’s work, but at least this viewer finds no reason to reappraise her work. Sofia continues to deliver a wholly wooden, amateurish turn.

Francis Ford Coppola wants us to believe that Coda substantially alters and improves Part III, but he’s wrong. Coda offers a very similar experience, as the director’s nibbling around the edges doesn’t fix its problems.

Footnote: even though Coda got released in 2020, I called it a 1990 movie because that accounts for the release of the original Godfather Part III. Despite some 2020 tinkering, this remains a 1990 project, so it’d feel weird to call it a 2020 production.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

The Godfather Part III appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer provided a good visual presentation.

Sharpness worked fine. Occasional slight soft shots emerged, but the majority of the flick brought nice accuracy and delineation.

Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no noticeable concerns, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws were absent, and with a nice layer of grain, I suspected no problematic use of noise reduction.

In terms of palette, Coda often maintained a reddish-golden tone. Within its choices, the colors looked solid, and they came across as accurate and concise as a whole.

Black levels were reasonably deep and dark, and shadow detail looked appropriately clear but not excessively opaque. This turned into a satisfying transfer.

All three of the Godfather films offered Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtracks remixed from the original material. However, the first two worked from monaural stems, whereas Part III reconfigured a mix that already provided multichannel sound.

During its 1990 theatrical run, Part III used a Dolby Surround track. As such, Coda enjoyed a broader source than its predecessors.

For the most part, the soundfield remained oriented toward the front speakers. There the music showed decent stereo separation, and a variety of elements cropped up from the side channels. These blended well and created a good layer of atmosphere.

The surrounds contributed mild punch at times – such as during a helicopter attack scene or an opera sequence – but usually they stayed fairly subdued and focused on reinforcement of the forward spectrum. Nonetheless, they did what they needed to do and gave the audio a good sense of place.

Audio quality held up well after the last 30 years. Speech sounded natural and concise, without edginess or other distractions. Music displayed nice range and vibrancy, as the score appeared full and rich.

Effects also demonstrated solid definition. Those elements showed good accuracy and packed a decent punch when necessary, such as during the more violent sequences. All in all, this was a consistently positive auditory experience.

Only one extra appears here: an introduction from director Francis Film Coppola. In this one-minute, 31-second piece, he gives us a few minor thoughts about Coda. Don’t expect many insights.

Three decades after The Godfather Part III emerged to a lackluster reception, Francis Ford Coppola attempts to improve the movie via The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Alas, Coda falls short of these stabs at redemption, as it becomes a minor improvement at most. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio but it lacks supplements. No matter how much Coppola tinkers, he can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

To rate this film, visit the original review of THE GODFATHER PART III

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main