‘The Godfather Coda’ Summary & Review – Coppola’s Biggest Disappointment


After years of its first release, The Godfather Trilogy kept it’s bittersweet nature intact and its memories haunt Francis Ford Coppola’s dreams as well as nightmares. The first two films (The Godfather Part I & The Godfather Part II) in the trilogy showcase the epitome of filmmaking with execution whereas the final one (The Godfather Part III) remains as something that disappoints Coppola till date and will always be remembered as ‘not as good as the first two‘. The year 2020, has been excruciatingly painful for the world and with the end of the year approaching, mitigation measures might restore and rehabilitate things. It may happen in the real world but in case of Coppola’s re-edit frenzy of his own film’s, The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone changes nothing!

It is a feeble attempt and simply not enough to make you feel like it’s finally what The Godfather Part III should have been. Coppola has tried his best to salvage something out of nothing by reducing the length of the film and removing various scenes and even tries to tweak the ending by providing spirituality to the demise of Michael Corleone but the changes are like taking a different route to the same location, with a minor spiritual detour at the end.

I don’t want to see the reader rage against me for writing this so I just wanted to point out two things:-

  1. Francis Ford Coppola is an amazing filmmaker and I am disappointed at the decision of re-editing this film as it was not a good idea in the first place. The rekindling of his other ventures has been successful because they were standalone projects and not a trilogy with a cult following, which makes the first two films the bane of last by being the benchmark for it.
  2. The Godfather Coda shows us how a re-edit works and it’s limitations in changing the end. In order to be ethical and respectful, I have not decoded specific scenes added or removed, because if I did that it would have defeated the whole purpose of the re-edit.

Moving forward, the re-edit tries but fails to garner anything for Sofia Coppola and her role remains unchanged. A simple Google search with the keywords will let you feel the sheer hatred people have for her and the various discussion forums, it’s an unwarranted hatred stemming from the love for the film and its characters. I define the hate as something that should have been avoided simply because even if she is the director’s daughter, she simply couldn’t have altered the course of action substantially as various errors are simply structural.

The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone takes an awful inclination towards spirituality which seems forced and unwanted. Coppola didn’t want to make a trilogy but only two films as the end of the second film act as the final piece of a puzzle and complete everything rendering the third Godfather useless. Coppola being an excellent filmmaker was aware of this and it’s evident by the time taken by Coppola to succumb to the pressure of the fans and studio combined with the re-edit it feels like he would have been entirely different if he had an opportunity, unfortunately, time doesn’t work like that.

The efforts make The Godfather Part III better by addressing the pacing of the story and is an attempt at trying to make a better film. It fails because the changes required to make it better will need some reshoots as well as rewriting the script which is not possible on the 30th anniversary year of a trilogy. The new ending is shocking and comes in as a surprise but it doesn’t matter if the results are the same.

In the end, nothing changes even after changing a few things as the first two films are already a complete story. The Godfather Coda makes the film better but is faced with the same comparisons and even a better film cannot change the fact it’s the weakest link in the trilogy despite the efforts and Paramount makes the 1990 cash-grabbing move again in 2020 it seems, even if they tried fixing it.

The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is available for Video On Demand.

The Godfather Part III (1990) original edit is streaming on Netflix. Check Here.

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Shreshtha Shukla
Shreshtha Shukla
"Thou art the suffering from which unwarranted melancholia emerges" Shreshtha Shukla is a writer, teacher, and a film enthusiast.

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