The question from some of my film study Students is, should we watch the Godfather trilogy customized for television with less violence and language and shown in chronological order or watch the films as they were shown to audiences upon their release?
Master Director Francis Ford Coppola is able to maintain
an amazing balance of powerful character driven stories written by Mario Puzo,
peppered with the ruthless violence we expect from a gangster film in this
multi-generational saga of the rise and fall of the Corleone crime family. The
10 hour long Godfather trilogy starts in chronological order from 1901-1980.
However, if you watch it as three separate movies, as I
1.The Godfather 2 hr 58 min., 3 Oscars, Best Picture
including of course best writing by Mario Puzo and Best Actor Marlon Brando is
absolutely spot on.
2.The Godfather part II 3 hr 22 min., 6 Oscars, Best
Pic, Director, Writing, Music, Costume and Art Direction. With well deserved
Nominations for the Pacino-De Niro connection.
3.The Godfather part III 2hr 50 min., 7 Oscar
nominations, no wins.
It runs a little over 9 hours and I believe the story is
best told this way. Flashbacks and all.
Technically, part 2 is the best film out of the three.
However, these films need each other. Part 2 has the unmistakable air of saga as
it moves back and forth through time, juxtaposing Michael's emotional struggle
with becoming a don to that of his father's seemingly effortless rise to power.
In doing so, Dave and I have spent many hours in discussion of all three films.
Both of us agree, it is not a story of Vito but of his Son Michael.
The superbly written storylines and amazing performances
by the principal actors, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Diane Keaton,
is why PART II is considered a cinematic masterpiece. It's often called the best
of the Godfather trilogy.
Godfather Part 2 tells of the good young Husband and
Father Vito, played to perfection by a young Robert De Niro, and his bride
beginning their journey as a new American immigrants from Sicily to a miserable
existence in a Hell’s Kitchen tenement. Vito’s family and fellow immigrants
rely on him for protection and survival making him become the Don or Godfather.
Michael does not possess the same kind of love for
family that his Father did and when eldest Brother is killed it makes Michael
next in line to become the new Don. We get to see a very real side of Michael
and the very good side of Al Pacino’s acting chops when he tries his hand at
living in the old Country as a Siciliano.