Popularly known as among the finest films of all time, The Godfather from Francis Ford Coppola is a crime classic that follows the Corleone family as they navigate the passing of the mantle from one generation to another. Starring the likes of Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton, the film spawned a sequel that surprised audiences worldwide by being as good, if not better, than the iconic original.
The Godfather: Part II was released two years after the original film in 1974 and continued the story of the Corleone family, centring in on Al Pacino’s character Michael as well as the early escapades of Vito Corleone, this time portrayed by Robert De Niro. The sequel to the classic film set up great potential for an enthralling final film in the Godfather trilogy, though unfortunately, The Godfather: Part III was released in 1990 to less than favourable critical and commercial popularity.
Recognised as the worst film of the trilogy and the one thorn in the side of the series that stops it from becoming the greatest trilogy of all time, The Godfather: Part III sees the story of Michael Corleone come full circle as he now searches for a successor to his throne. The great Diane Keaton takes a starring role in the third instalment as the wife of the crime lord, with Andy Garcia and Sofia Coppola also taking lead characters.
Over 30 years after the release of the series’ third instalment, however, Diane Keaton is quick to convey her dislike for the original film, telling Vanity Fair: “When I saw it, I thought, Well, this movie doesn’t work. I had just dismissed it. I thought, ‘No, it’s not good'”. Her opinion on the film is joined by audiences and critics alike who thought it lacked the punch and dramatic gravity of the previous two instalments.
It appears that Keaton has had a change of heart recently, however, revealing that she experienced a different movie after watching the newly restored version of the film. “I saw it and I was so moved and touched. That includes the massive amount of it that’s just the film, not even the changes. That ending is really good,” Keaton told Vanity Fair, backtracking on her original damning comments.
“I saw it in a totally different light, a completely different point of view,” Keaton reported, with the film receiving something of a rejuvenated appreciation following over 30 years to mellow and mature in people’s minds.
The Godfather: Part III marked a significant turning point from director Francis Ford Coppola, whose films took a noticeable downturn in quality following the likes of Apocalypse Now, The Conversation and Rumble Fish, released earlier in the 20th century. Following the release of the third film in his iconic trilogy, Coppola failed to regain his popularity, releasing Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Twixt and Distant Vision to little fanfare.