Wow, this is a really poor cousin of the first two films. Centring on the later life of "Michael" (Al Pacino) this has much more of an episodic, almost soap opera, feel to it. He is determined to become legitimate, to look after his family and to stay alive despite the conspiring of Eli Wallach's "Don Altobello" and some of his cohorts who are trying to assassinate him and claim the Corleone crown. Talia Shire is quite effective as his sister "Connie" but Andy Garcia's smarmy "Vincent" (the son of the gunned down "Sonny") just made me squirm. This film really does miss the previously strong supporting cast too. No Robert Duval; Diane Keaton (with some simply hideous jewellery) features but sparingly and the whole thing just plugs along until a rather downbeat ending that just didn't seem to do justice to the excellence of Puzo's story or to the previously established, captivating, characterisations. It looks great, the production is first rate but this is just not a story to compare with the others.
**_Michael Corleone seeks redemption while a young buck takes over the shady business_** RELEASED IN 1990 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, "The Godfather: Part III" stars Al Pacino as aging Mafia don Michael Corleone in 1979, who seeks to legitimize his work in New York and Italy and avow for his sins. He mentors his bastard nephew, Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia), while trying to steer his teenage daughter, Mary, away from him (Sofia Coppola). MAIN CAST: Diane Keaton returns as Michael's ex-wife, Kay, while Talia Shire reprises the role of sister, Connie. Franc D'Ambrosio is on hand as Michael's son, Antonio, who wants to leave law school and become an opera singer. George Hamilton co-stars as B.J. Harrison, essentially taking the place of Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) as Michael's chief financial adviser and attorney. Eli Wallach plays an aged don and Joe Mantegna the gangster Michael put in charge of Little Italy after semi-retiring. Raf Vallone plays a dubious Cardinal and Bridget Fonda a fornicating reporter in a small role. Part III is on par with Part II in tone and quality, but I give this one the edge in overall entertainment value. Michael (Pacino) has much more human dimension here as opposed to his one-note grim depiction in Part II. His scenes confessing his sins to a priest in a Vatican City garden and, later, with Kay in Sicily are good examples. There are several other highlights amidst the drama, like the break-in scene at Vincent's abode, the Atlantic City massacre, the street festival hit, the entire closing opera sequence that juxtaposes the performances of the play with various violent attacks and the aftermath. Andy Garcia brings fresh blood and vitality to the trilogy in a pretty significant role, as does Sofia in a relatively small part. Winona Ryder was originally cast for the part, but she was too sick to perform and so Francis chose his daughter at the last minute and she's fine in the role. Does anyone seriously think Winona Ryder would have taken this peripheral part and done it any better? I heard all the ridiculous criticism over Sofia's performance before viewing the film and therefore kept waiting for a serious train wreck, but it never happened. She did a fine job for a side character who's an unseasoned, slightly self-conscious (i.e. wooden), flirty teen. To those sheeple who have joined the idiotic critical feeding frenzy: Shut the fudge up and get a life! The moral of the story rings loud and clear: Choosing the life of organized crime will result in a grim life of constant heartache and premature death all around you. Needless to say, Life's hard enough without taking that foolish route. Bottom line: This is a worthwhile crime drama with several highlights, but it doesn't rank up there with the first movie, which stands alone. If you're a fan of the first two films it's almost mandatory that you watch this one. It lacks the thrilling greatness of the first film, but it's about equal to the second, although I favor this one a little. THE FILM RUNS 2 hours & 42 minutes (or 2 hours 50 minutes, the longer version) and was shot in Sicily and numerous places on mainland Italy, including Vatican City; the New York City area; Atlantic City, NJ; and Lake Tahoe, California. WRITERS: Coppola & Mario Puzo. GRADE: B+
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