‘The Godfather III’: New Director’s Cut Boasts Shorter Runtime Than the Original

     September 30, 2020

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More details on Francis Ford Coppola‘s new cut of 1990’s The Godfather: Part III have emerged, including the expected runtime. We first learned about Coppola’s new cut of The Godfather III in early September. At the time, we learned the new cut would be titled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. The release from Paramount Home Entertainment was set for December, which teased plans to release the cut around the 30th anniversary of the original Godfather trilogy finale.

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Image via Paramount Pictures

So, how long will the runtime of The Death of Michael Corleone be? Collider spoke with studio sources on Wednesday afternoon and learned the new director’s cut will clock in at 2 hours and 37 minutes (157 mins. total). For reference, the original Godfather III has a runtime of 2 hours and 42 minutes (162 mins.). Sources did not confirm what will be lost in the five minutes of footage now chopped from Coppola’s new cut. However, in a statement on the forthcoming release of The Death of Michael Corleone, Coppola shared his approach to crafting a cut which is true to both his vision and Godfather author Mario Puzo’s vision which in turn implies that chops to the final chapter of this trilogy will indeed be made. Coppola remarks:

Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is an acknowledgment of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became The Godfather: Part III. For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues. 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.”

Information on the assembly process for the new cut was also revealed by Paramount Home Entertainment. According to the studio, “Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative to undertake a painstaking, frame-by-frame restoration” made possible by first “searching for over 50 original takes to replace lower resolution opticals in the original negative” before assembling, which “took more than six months and involved sifting through 300 cartons of negative.”

Released in 1990, The Godfather: Part III was the epic conclusion to Coppola’s Godfather trilogy. Al Pacino reprised his role as Michael Corleone for the final time. The movie follows an aging Michael as he tries to legitimize his mafia empire in the late ’70s in New York City while trying to bring in his nephew, Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia), as his successor. The Godfather: Part III capped a trilogy that began in 1972 with the release of The Godfather, starring Pacino and Marlon Brando.

Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone arrives on digital and Blu-ray on December 8. Get even more updates on The Godfather here.

Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.

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