Three Reasons The Godfather Part III doesn’t work (movie review)

And the wheels come off. The Godfather: Part III isn’t a terrible movie, but it certainly doesn’t live up to the standard set by the first two Godfather movies. Here are a few reasons why the picture just doesn’t work all that well.

1. Who’s this movie about?
The biggest problem with this flick is its focus… or perhaps lack thereof. As soon as Paramount found out that director Francis Ford Coppola wanted to call the movie The Death of Michael Corleone, they probably should have fired him, because that’s not what this movie is about at all. I appreciate that Al Pacino was and is one of the world’s biggest movie stars and he needs to be the star of the movie, but Andy Garcia needed to be right there next to him, with equal or more screen time, but he’s not. See, The Godfather Part III as the movie exists is about the rise of Vincent Corleone and how he goes from a hot tempered street punk to the calm, collected head of the mafia and how Michael facilitates this transition and seeks redemption. The problem with that last bit is Michael says he wants redemption, but he never does anything to try to earn redemption. Perhaps this is intentional because Michael can’t change who he is and who he has become following World War II, but it doesn’t make for a very satisfying movie.
Meanwhile, Andy Garcia is barely in the movie. One minute, he’s biting people’s ears off and shooting people down in the street, the next, he’s all “I’ll have everything ready.” and “Love somebody else.” How the hell did that happen? There’s nothing in the movie to facilitate this character change from ‘serious impulse control problem’ to ‘calculated psychopath.’ This should be a movie about Michael grooming Vincent to replace him with Pacino as a strong supporting character who’s in most of the movie and with Garcia as the lead, but it just doesn’t work out that way, and it’s too bad, because I think that might have been an excellent movie – Michael becomes his father. Neither Vito nor Michael wanted that to happen, but that’s life… I think that would have been a great flick, but here we are.

2. Incest and Sofia Coppola
I don’t know why incest or Sofia Coppola are in this movie. Neither work. Coppola’s Mary has nothing to do in the movie except commit incest with Vincent, which just comes out of nowhere. To me, Francis Ford Coppola decided he was going to shoe-horn his daughter into this movie no matter how awkward it was, and that’s just what he did, right down to the awkward reveal shot.

3. Robert Duvall (or lack there of) and Talia Shire
This movie has a complete and total lack of Robert Duvall, “my Kraut-Mic friend.” You could say that Michael has outgrown Tom’s advise, but his character created a nice balance, a chemistry that really kept everything together. The idea that Talia Shire’s Connie could take Tom’s place (“If anything happens to Michael, I want you to strike back”) doesn’t make any sense as she’s never done anything before or during this flick to make us believe she’s capable of filling such a role in the family. It just doesn’t work.
My understanding is Duvall wanted more money than they were willing to pay him to appear in this movie, so the production moved on without him. This was another HUGE mistake – they should have just paid that dude his money.

I must have used the phrase “it doesn’t work” a zillion times in this review, but it’s true. It’s not a terrible movie, but The Godfather Part III is shockingly flawed, especially for a Francis Ford Coppola movie. The flick does have quality performances and photography, but given what we’ve come to expect, it’s sorely lacking. I give it a 5.5 out of 10, and I feel like I’m being generous.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on May 8, 2014, in lists, movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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