The Godfather, Coda: The Death Of Michael Corleone (Blu-ray Review)

One of Paramount’s most exciting releases this year is Francis Ford Coppola’s revisiting of The Godfather, Part III with a brand new cut entitled The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. This is coupled with a theatrical release for the revisited edit (Stay at home, folks). Surprisingly, this didn’t get a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release, nor was it branded on the Paramount Presents line. Luckily, shortly after this announcement, word was given that The Godfather films would be coming to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray next year in a new set. Here’s hoping this revisited edition of the third film is not only included in that set, but also in a true 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray presentation. The Blu-ray for the film released on December 8th, and the Day 1 price is actually pretty darn good just for those curious in checking it out. You can order yourself a copy of the Blu-ray for The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone by using the paid Amazon Associates link below.


As Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) ages, he finds that being the head of the Corleone crime family isn’t getting any easier. He wants his family out of the Mafia, but the mob kingpin (Eli Wallach) isn’t eager to let one of the most powerful and wealthy families go legit. Making matters even worse is Michael’s nephew, Vincent (Andy Garcia). Not only does Vincent want a piece of the Corleone family’s criminal empire, but he also wants Michael’s daughter, Mary (Sofia Coppola).

If you’re a fan or knowledgeable about The Godfather films (And why aren’t you? Do you hate movies?), when you saw the title of The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, you knew exactly what had happened. For years and in documentaries, interviews, DVD and Blu-ray extras, Francis Ford Coppola has openly discussed how the third Godfather film didn’t go quite the way he had wanted the film to upon its release. There were choices, like the title and the cut, that went beyond what he had wished for the film. Now, 30 years later, Paramount has given him the green light to go back and craft the film closest to what he would have wanted the first time out.

Coppola finally got the title he wanted. The cut here is an interesting one. He’s rearranged many of the scenes to play in a little bit different order. We open with the scene of the meeting with the smoking Arch Bishop about making a deal with the Vatican. That scene original took place 40 minutes into the original cut and happened AFTER many of the scenes that will follow. This is an improvement as before we catch up with Michael’s family life, its now clear what his overarching agenda is.

From there the differences are less drastic and there are plenty of scenes that have been excised in this too. He’s slightly altered the ending, which I approve. I won’t spoil for those wanting surprised by the change, but there was always this slight thing that felt a little goofy. Overall, it feels the biggest goal of Coda was tighten up the film, figure out a way to tell the story at a more clear and exciting pace and trim a lot of the fat. And it runs about 13 minutes shorter than the Best Picture nominated original version of the film.

I’ve always been a fan of the classically maligned The Godfather, Part III. I grew up always wondering why the film was so greatly trashed, as I thought it wasn’t as good as the first two, but still a very good movie. All I’d ever hear was complaints about Sofia Coppola’s performance which I think are bit crude as she’s surrounded by elite-level experienced talent and gives a fine, serviceable performance. But, I come away from Coda feeling pretty much no differently about the film than I did before. I’m not sure this is going to move the needle in either direction for the fans or the detractors as it feels the general story and details are still largely intact. The versions are different in their structure, but ultimately achieve the same feelings and impact.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/DetailThe Godfather, Coda: The Death Of Michael Corleone comes with a beautiful new 4K transfer of the film. This is definitely a noticeable jump from the quality of the original cut which was impressive in its own right. The new transfer has much more rich color and clarity to it. It has less of a red filter look over everything. The scenes that take place in daytime Italy are absolutely dynamite and gorgeous. They look like something fine transfer of a 1970s film in pristine condition. There is great color and contrast going on as well. This is really a nice tease for how great I imagine the entire set of films is going to look on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray next year.

Depth:  Compared to the previous Blu-ray for the original cut, this one opens up a bit more and feels a little more spacious and pushed back than before. Characters wander a bit more confidently and the depth of field is a bit stronger. Its plenty noticeable. No issues occur with any sorts of blurs or jitters during rapid movements or action.

Black Levels:  The dark reaches very natural levels here and is one of the most respectable points of the transfer. Darkened areas of a room, shadow and fabric carry a heavier bit of grain when really deep. The blacks really contrast and bring out some good strong color as well. Texture, pattern and follicle all still hold strong in fine detail despite how dark they sit against. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are very strong and bold in this lovely palette. They come most striking when in the aforementioned Italy sequences with light blues, pinks and such giving a great punch. There is also a lot of richness coming in the opera house toward the end of the movie with luscious reds contrasting with brass and gold.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are very impressive as you can make out wrinkles, stubble, freckles, lip texture, make-up brush strokes and more with ease from an given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin America) 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, French SDH, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish

DynamicsThe Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone comes with a nice 5.1 track that is quite lively and engaging. Much of the action is top notch. There’s a grand balance in this mix of the music, vocals and effects with each able to really shine and deliver moments on their own when called upon. Will an Atmos revision be in the cards for 4K? Who knows. But this 5.1 track really does suffice quite well if indeed it is the final say on audio mix for the third Godfather movie.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer drives it in quite well. Obviously the helicopter machine gun attack is a damn highlight and shakes the hell out of your room, but many an engine, door slam or regular pistol pop do the trick as well.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is a nice mix that doesn’t go overboard because the film doesn’t ask it to. But when it does, be it the helicopter mo-down or the street level assassination of Joey Zasa, the rear channels start pumping and participating. Sound travel is accurate and effective. Ambiance is very strong in the film, especially in the quieter big empty room moments.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp. They feel very present and like you are there in the room. There’s a natural sense to them.


The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone comes with a redeemable digital code for the film.

Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola (HD, 1:31) – Coppola gives a quick little rundown of why this cut was made and how he and Mario Puzo had original conceived the film. Basically saying this isn’t a new version of the film, moreso the original film as intended.


While Coda is noticeably different than the original telling, its overall the same thing. So I don’t know if its going to change any minds of detractors. It comes with an absolutely gorgeous presentation, making me wish they’d have just gone the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray route. Considering there’s barely a bonus feature here, why not? This will hopefully be included in the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray set for The Godfather film next year and maybe then done in 4K Ultra-HD. For now, at the price, its worth the curiosity and collecting.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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