While I had always seen bits and pieces of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films growing up, it wasn’t until the famed films made their way to DVD back in 2001 that I was able to finally sit down and see why they’re so beloved. Now Paramount has outdone themselves and their previous Blu-ray releases with The Godfather Trilogy on 4K. Featuring Dolby Vision and audio coupled with loads of special features new and old, there’s no way any movie lover can refuse this collection.
To explain this massive trilogy of films is a feat in itself, but to make things simple, it follows the Corleone family, an organized crime family that runs things with some of the other crime families during the mid-1940s. In the first film, their patriarch Vito (Marlon Brando) is busy celebrating the wedding of his daughter Connie (Talia Shire) and being delighted that his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) is back home after battling in World War II.
As Vito is handling the crime side of things during these events, his eldest son named Sonny (James Caan) is looking to take over the family business with Vito’s adopted son and consigliere, Tom (Robert Duvall). Without giving anything away, let’s just say things don’t go as planned as betrayals from within and outside interfere with the family and their crime business, leading to a lot of death and destruction as things fall apart.
The second film is regarded by most to be the best of the trilogy, and rightly so as not only does it continue the struggles of the Corleone family now led by Michael, but it also travels back and forth through time to give us a look at a young Vito (Robert De Niro) during the turn of the 20th century and his rise to power.
Lastly there’s the third film which is somewhat lacking compared to the previous two epic entries, but has now been fixed up and made better in Coppola’s 2020 cut titled The Godfather – Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Featuring rearranged scenes, some extra footage mixed in to smooth out some of the rough edges, and a different ending, it finally feels like a decent end to the trilogy, but still comes off feeling unnecessary sadly.
All three films look and sound fantastic thanks to a beautiful 4K remaster that utilizes HDR 10 and Dolby Vision to bring out all of the details and colors without taking away the “filmed look” of the movies. The audio is superb thanks to both Dolby True HD 5.1 tracks as well as the original Dolby Digital mono tracks on the first two movies in case anyone wants to listen to the original audio.
Then there’s the special features which are too many to list here, but I’ll mention the key ones, starting with audio commentary by Francis Ford Coppola on all three films, though only on the 1991 Director’s Cut of Part III. Speaking of which, that cut along with the standard theatrical version is included on the first bonus disc in stunning 4K. There’s also another bonus Blu-ray disc that includes some new special features as well as bringing back nearly all of the previous ones from the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the movies.
The new extras include “Full Circle: Preserving The Godfather” which goes into the restoration process of the trilogy during the pandemic, “Capturing the Corleone’s: Through the Lens of Photographer Steve Schapiro” has the famed photographer discussing the films and what they mean to him and how they changed films forever.
I liked “The Godfather: Home Movies” that shows off some classic, 8mm film footage that was taken during the filming of the first film, and “Restoration Comparisons” is another I enjoyed as we get to see what went into restoring these movies with some clips from the first two films. These clips show the night and day differences between previous versions of the movies to the beautiful end result we have in this collection.
Fans of the films and movie lovers will want to pick up The Godfather Trilogy as its a no-brainer for anyone’s collection. These classic films hold up fifty years after the first entry, and will hold up for another fifty thanks to an amazing 4K transfer along with tons of special features that will make you hold previous releases of the films close, but this new collection even closer.