The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration (2008)


Cast: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia..

Rating: 14A - 18A

Run time: 549 minutes

Genre: Drama

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

The three Godfather movies look and sound unbelivably good in this all-new edition of the Francis Ford Coppola classic series.

Spread over 5 DVDs, The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990) come with more than four hours of fascinating extra features that include original location documentaries, cast interviews and fly-on-the-wall segments about the behind the scenes battle between Paramount and Coppola during the making of the first movie.

There's simply not a surplus moment in the gripping, violent saga of the Corleone family, headed by Godfather Vito (Brando). The three movies constantly cut back and forth between the past and present showing the young Vito's escape from a family massacre in Scicily to his arrival in New York as a young boy and subsequent entry into crime. Eventually he heads his own crime "Family" as a revered and feared "Don".

Though Paramont thought the young Coppola was giving them the required 'B' movie mafia shoot 'em up in 1972, their maverick director fashioned a masterpiece about family honour and pride showing why the characters did the terrible things they did.

During the first few weeks of shooting, Paramount hated the rushes and seriously contemplated firing Coppola, but eventually wised up.

Brando's performance is iconic, but it's the (at the time) inexperienced Pacino who is mesmerizing in these movies. He lives and breathes the character of Michael, the "good" son intended for a life outside crime who is sucked into the famly business after an attempt on his father's life by a rival famly. He indeed becomes the most fearsome of all the characters.

The violence is ugly, but it always serves the story, and we come to cae about these characters over a saga that runs for more than 9 hours.

Viewed anew as a seamless series, the set still wields a potent punch - and the third movie now seems stronger as it wraps up loose ends and shows the price Michael and his family pay for their criminal exploits.

A brilliant achievement - the series won 9 Oscars, including two for best picture.

The series is also available in Blu-ray.



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