Major The Godfather Part 3 Moment Removed in The Godfather Coda

Director Francis Ford Coppola's new cut of The Godfather Part III, titled The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, ironically does not actually depict the on-screen death of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), which appeared in the original cut of the movie. Instead, it opts for something more like a "spiritual death," with the film omitting the scene of his death and ending instead on an earlier scene from the film, when his daughter Mary (Sofia Coppola), was murdered by a hitman. Sparing Michael the finality of death, The Godfather, Coda instead prolongs his suffering and provides a bleak and tragic end to his quest for redemption.

At the start of The Godfather, Michael wants nothing to do with the family business. It is only through a series of tragedies that he almost inadvertently ends up taking over from his father as the head of the Corleone mafia family.

In the time after his ascension to the head of the family, much of Michael's story is about living up to the responsibilities of his role while hoping that he can find personal redemption in spite of being responsible for so much evil. The quiet, solitary, and somewhat underwhelming end he got in the original cut of the movie makes some kind of argument for a measure of redemption. Certainly he was punishing himself enough for the death of Mary, before being given the release of death.

The new cut of the movie removes that release, leaving audiences to speculate whether Michael's ultimate fate will match up with the one seen in the original cut of the movie, or if it's something else -- likely something even more tortured and tragic, since it is now without a specific end.

The release was scheduled to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original film's release, and gave Coppola a chance to find some measure of redemption for the movie which is widely regarded as one of the biggest disappointments in cinema history. The original cut scored 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, compared with the first two films in the trilogy, which are widely regarded as being among the best movies ever made. The Coda cut managed to raise that to 88%, with critics noting that "coda" is an appropriate description, giving this movie its own identity that feels less like just another attempt to duplicate the success of the first movie.

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You can get The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, at digital retailers.