The Death of Michael Corleone: Final ‘Godfather’ chapter re-imagined in new release


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Francis Ford Coppola is inviting fans of The Godfather franchise to get pulled back in.

To celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, the acclaimed director and Paramount Pictures released a reworking of The Godfather Part III– now titled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.

Opening December 4 to select theaters and arriving on Blu-ray Tuesday, the final film in the epic Godfather trilogy was re-edited to fulfill Coppola and co-screenwriter Puzo’s original vision along with their preferred title, according to the director.

“For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues,” Coppola said. “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.”

Watch an introduction to the project from director Francis Ford Coppola courtesy of Paramount Pictures:

Puzo’s 1969 The Godfather novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the Corleone family, which was of course adapted into film and released in 1972 followed by The Godfather Part II in 1974 to massive fanfare and acclaim including Best Picture Oscar wins for both films.

Released in 1990, The Godfather Part III follows an aging Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) who looks for a successor (Andy García) to his empire while trying to make his family’s businesses legitimate.

While the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director, The Godfather Part III was met with disappointing reviews and box office turnout, including harsh criticism of the performance given by the director’s daughter Sophia Coppola who has since become a successful filmmaker in her own right.

While the new cut was still being discussed, Coppola told Deadline in 2019 that his daughter never wanted to be an actress, but he thought a new version of the film would allow audiences to see her in a new light.

“I believe that in a new version of The Death of Michael Corleone, Sofia’s performance will vindicate her,” he said of the project that was officially announced in September of this year. 

Watch film critic Leonard Maltin discuss the film with Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino and Andy García courtesy of Paramount Pictures:

Coppola’s production company American Zoetrope spent six months restoring both the new Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone and the original The Godfather Part III

Zoetrope produced a 4K scan of the original negative for a frame-by-frame restoration. Scratches, stains, and other anomalies were repaired while enhancements were made to the original 5.1 audio mix.

Paramount and Coppola’s new version has been met with positive accolades, notably from Diane Keaton who plays Kay Corleone, Michael’s estranged wife.

Keaton told Variety in November that it was one of the best moments of her life to see it now, while admitting she was not a fan of the original release of The Godfather Part III.

“I saw the movie in a completely different light,” she said. “When I saw it way back, it was like ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ It didn’t seem to do that well and the reviews weren’t great. But Francis restructured the beginning and the end and man, I’m telling you it worked.”

The physical release features the newly restored and re-edited film, an introduction by Coppola, and access to a digital copy of the film. The last chapter of the Corleone saga is out now on Blu-ray and Digital from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Watch the official film trailer courtesy of Paramount Pictures:

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