Vito Corleone will make an offer that you can’t refuse and will you accept that offer even if it means your life on the line? In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola would release a film based off of a novel by Mario Puzo which has to be one of the greatest in film history. Then in 1974, Coppola would return with the sequel ‘The Godfather Part II’ which even trumps the original. 16 years later in 1990, the trilogy is complete with ‘The Godfather Part III’ which wasn’t well received by fans and critics. With a DVD Box Set release in 2001, things felt great that one of the most influential films in history would receive the next generation media upgrade to better sound and video on the format. Paramount would do the unthinkable; they decided to release ‘The Godfather Collection’ here in 2008 on Blu-ray and DVD with a frame by frame restoration by Coppola.

‘The Godfather’ was a box office smash in 1972 with a total gross of $134 million dollars having only a $6 million dollar budget. Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) is the focus of ‘The Godfather’; the story slowly builds up the rise of his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). Yet, Brando steals the show in this film with such superb acting. Vito has three more sons in Sonny Corleone (James Caan), Fredo Corleone (John Cazale), and adopted son Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall). The story of ‘The Godfather’ is simple, yet complex in nature as it revolves around the family drama between as mobsters trying to run a business with a father-sons relationship being the highlight of the film. The performances by these five men are done so beautifully that makes this film a classic.

‘The Godfather Part II’ would release in 1974 with a total gross of $57 million dollars in the theaters and a $13 million dollar budget. The tale of the Corleone family continues, but this time we get two wonderful tales into one film. Yet again, it is about father-son relationship here as we see a young Vito Corleone’s (Robert DeNiro) rise to power as a as a poverty stricken immigrant from Sicily that takes the New York City by storm in 1910. While we see Vito trying to make a name for himself on the streets, Michael Corleone in the 1950’s is trying to expand the empire that his father built by taking position in Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Cuba. What we have here is intertwining stories and timelines between a father’s rise to power to build the Corleone family name as the son while he is taking his father’s dream to places that he probably couldn’t. The sequel needs to be seen to be understood and appreciated. This is the ultimate sequel in film history and should be the blue print on how to make a successful sequel.

‘The Godfather Part III’ released in 1990 with a total gross of $66 million dollars at the box office with a $55 million dollar budget. The third Godfather suffered from casting issues that which caused the film to be criticized. Michael Corleone has a goal to legitimize the family by having them involved with the Catholic Church. The gangster elements that made the Corleone family so ruthless are gone. As the first two films revolved around family, so does the third film. Tragedy strikes the family as it did in the first film tying together the trilogy. While the third film is not as bad as many make it out to be, there are pieces of the film that just make it almost a whole different film from the first two.

Picture/Audio Quality
‘Godfather Part I-III prints are presented in 1080p MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 transfer. I have seen all three films countless of times and they have never looked so beautiful. While the first two films are 36 and 34 years old, the frame by frame restoration for both the Blu-ray and DVD versions of this set really paid off. While colors won’t jump right out at you for all three films since Coppola filmed these at the time to give them that look and feel as if these films were ripped right out of the eras they were representing. All three prints look very clean and I didn’t notice any artifacts or blemishes on the print.

The audio is presented in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound mix for ‘Godfather Part I-III’. While the rears aren’t going to win any awards for producing the most dynamic sound mix, they do a find job during times when the score is introduced into the mix or there is any kind of action going on at the time. I can expect that from the first two films considering that they were filmed in the early 70’s. The dialogue, which is a very important part of this film comes through very clear and crisp.

Special Features
I am very impressed by the sheer number of extras that are available on the Blu-ray version of ‘The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection’. There are a lot of extras that are available in 1080p high definition that were ported from the previous DVD box set.

  • Commentary: Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola (original 2001 commentary – legally cleared)
  • Godfather World HD
  • The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t HD
  • When The Shooting Stopped HD
  • Emulsional Rescue – Revealing the Godfather HD
  • The Godfather on the Red Carpet HD
  • Four Short Film on the Godfather
  • The Family Tree (menus)
  • Crime Organization Chart (menus)
  • Connie and Carlo’s Wedding Album (menus)
  • Easter Eggs: Costra Nostra & Coppola HD
  • 2001 DVD Archive
  • Behind the Scenes (Audio Over Behind The Scenes Menu 5:00)
  • The Godfather Family: A Look Inside
  • On Location
  • Francis Coppola’s Notebook
  • Music of the Godfather
  • Carmine Coppola
  • Nino Rota
  • Coppola & Puzo on Screenwriting
  • Gordon Willis on Cinematography
  • Storyboards – The Godfather Part II (menus)
  • Storyboards – The Godfather Part III
  • The Godfather Behind The Scenes 1971
  • The Filmmakers
  • Additional Scenes: Additional Scenes
  • Galleries
  • Acclaim & Response
  • Trailers: Trailers
  • Photo Gallery
  • Rogues’ Gallery

I highly recommend ‘The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration Collection’ as this is one of the best trilogies in film history that tell a tale so beautifully of the rise of a family and their tragedies along the way. I can’t say anything else but positive things about this set, run out and purchase this as it is a set of films that should not be missing from your collection.

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