The Godfather Part III (1990), Cert 15.

Director - Francis Ford Coppola.

Writer - Mario Puza.

Starring - Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy Garcia, Joe Mantegna, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda & Sofia Coppola.


Premise - The continuing story of the Corleone family. Don Michael Corleone is trying to legitimise the family business, but petty street level squabbles and Vatican conspiracies have other ideas.

The Godfather Part 3 comes in for a lot of criticism and whilst some of it is merited, for the most part it is a very good film. I feel that it is being critiqued to harshly because of the superlative nature of it's predecessors.

One thing that you can't criticise is the look of the film. Like the two previous films Francis Ford Coppola has created a believable world filled with believable characters. Whether it's high society New York apartments, a little Italy street party, Vatican cathedrals, Sicilian villas or a grand opera the film is shot with keen eye and an assured hand.

The set pieces in the film are also handled well. Of special note are the Atlantic City shoot out and the films finale at the opera. In-fact the opera scene is one of my favourites in the whole trilogy. Coppola deftly weaves together events in London, the Vatican and the opera house perfectly to amp up the tension to almost breaking point.

The script cannot be faulted also. Even though there were rumours that it was constantly being rewritten on set, the story is just as strong as in the preceding movies. The use of real world events like the hanging of the banker and the untimely death of the Pope and weaving them into the workings of the Corleone family is inspired.

If anything scuppers Part threes chances of being as good as the other two films it's the questionable casting decisions.

Whilst for the most part it's business as usual, with the returning players all giving outstanding performances (in particular another epic piece of work from Al Pacino), certain members of the cast just don't click. Robert Duvall wanted a large sum of money to return as Michael Corleone's lawyer and confidant. Coppola wasn't willing to pay and his role was rewritten for George Hamilton, who is not really in Duvall's league. Bridget Fonda seems to have been added as an after thought. After a couple of interesting early scenes she does not return at all in the rest of the film.

The main problem however with the casting is Coppola's own daughter Sofia as Mary Corleone. The part is large and has many emotional scenes, unfortunately Sofia just doesn't have anything like the range required to pull this part off. It's a problem that does drag the rest of the film down. The part was originally intended for Winnona Ryder, but she had to turn it down because of fatigue. You wonder how the film would have turned out with a capable actress like Ryder in this crucial part. Luckily Sofia has gone on to be an accomplished director and clearly hasn't let this early set back get her down.

Not all of the additions to the cast are a problem however. Andy Garcia gives (In my mind) a career best performance as the hot-headed bastard son of Sonny Corleone. He hit's the part just right and reminded me of Sonny (James Caan) many times during the movie. Joe Mantegna has a nice little role as Joey Zasa. I really can't take him seriously however, as every time I hear his voice I think of 'Fat Tony' the mafia boss from The Simpsons that he voices.

As I said, I feel that The Godfather Part 3 gets a bad rap because it's not as good as the first two Godfather flicks. This doesn't alter the fact that part three is in itself a very good film, with a few glaring problems as far as casting is concerned.


8/10 for The Godfather Part 3.

Poster Quote - Third time unlucky?