The Godfather Part III  

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The Godfather Part III is a 1990 American crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from the screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo. The film stars Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy García, Eli Wallach, Joe Mantegna, Bridget Fonda, George Hamilton, and Sofia Coppola. It is the third and final installment in The Godfather trilogy. A sequel to The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974), it concludes the fictional story of Michael Corleone, the patriarch of the Corleone family who attempts to legitimize his criminal empire. The film also includes fictionalized accounts of two real-life events: the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981–1982, both linked to Michael Corleone's business affairs.

Coppola and Puzo's intended title for the film was The Death of Michael Corleone, which Paramount Pictures rejected; Coppola considers the series to be a duology, while Part III serves as the epilogue. The Godfather Part III received generally positive reviews, albeit not to the same extent as the earlier two films; critics praised Pacino's performance and the screenplay, but criticized the convoluted plot and Sofia Coppola's performance.

The film was distributed by Paramount, which also distributed the previous two films. It premiered in Beverly Hills on December 20, 1990 and released in the United States on Christmas Day, December 25. It grossed $136.8 million and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In December 2020, a recut version of the film, titled The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, was released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original version.


In 1979, Michael Corleone is approaching 60. Wracked with guilt over his ruthless rise to power, especially for having ordered his brother Fredo Corleone's murder, he donates millions to charitable causes. Michael and Kay are divorced; their children, Anthony and Mary, live with Kay. At the reception following a papal order induction ceremony in St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in Michael's honor, Anthony tells his father that he is leaving law school to become an opera singer. Kay supports his decision, but Michael wants Anthony to complete his law degree first; nevertheless, Michael agrees to let Anthony go his own way. Michael and Kay have an uneasy reunion when Kay reveals that she and Anthony know the truth about Fredo's death. Vincent Mancini, the illegitimate son of Michael's long-dead brother Sonny Corleone, arrives at the reception. Michael's sister, Connie Corleone, arranges for Vincent to settle a dispute with his rival, Joey Zasa, but Zasa calls Vincent a bastard, and Vincent bites Zasa's ear. Michael, troubled by Vincent's fiery temper yet impressed by his loyalty, agrees to include Vincent in the family business.

Michael knows that the head of the Vatican Bank, Archbishop Gilday, has accumulated a massive deficit and offers $600M in exchange for shares in Internazionale Immobiliare, an international real estate company, which would make him its largest single shareholder. He makes a tender offer to buy the Vatican's 25% share in the company, which will give him controlling interest. Immobiliare's board approves the offer, pending ratification by the Pope.

Don Altobello, a New York Mafia boss and Connie's godfather, tells Michael that his partners on The Commission want in on the Immobiliare deal. Michael pays them from the sale of his Las Vegas holdings. Zasa receives nothing and, declaring Michael his enemy, storms out. Don Altobello, assuring Michael that he can diplomatically resolve the matter, leaves to speak to Zasa. Moments later, a helicopter hovers outside the conference room and opens fire. Most of the bosses are killed, but Michael, Vincent, and Michael's bodyguard, Al Neri, escape. Michael realizes that Altobello is the traitor, and suffers a diabetic stroke. As Michael recuperates, Vincent and Mary begin a romance, while Neri and Connie give Vincent permission to retaliate against Zasa. During a street festival, Vincent kills Zasa. Michael berates Vincent for his actions and insists that Vincent end his relationship with Mary, explaining Vincent's involvement in the family's criminal enterprises endangers her life.

The family goes to Sicily for Anthony's operatic debut in Palermo at the Teatro Massimo. Michael tells Vincent to pretend to defect from the Corleone family in order to spy on Altobello. Altobello introduces Vincent to Licio Lucchesi, Immobiliare's chairman. Michael visits Cardinal Lamberto, anticipated being the next pope, to discuss the deal. Lamberto persuades Michael to make his first confession in 30 years, during which Michael tearfully confesses that he ordered Fredo's murder. Lamberto says that Michael deserves to suffer for his sins, but can be redeemed. He gives him sacramental absolution, permanently forgiving all his past sins in the eyes of God. Michael discovers that the Immobiliare deal is an elaborate swindle, arranged by Lucchesi, Gilday, and Vatican accountant Frederick Keinszig.

Template:AnchorVincent tells Michael that Altobello has hired Mosca, a veteran hitman, to assassinate Michael. Mosca and his son, disguised as priests, kill Corleone family friend Don Tommasino as he returns to his villa. While Michael and Kay tour Sicily, Michael asks for Kay's forgiveness, and they admit they still love each other. At Tommasino's funeral, Michael vows to sin no more. Following the pope's death, Cardinal Lamberto is elected to succeed him, and humbly accepts, choosing as his name Pope John Paul I. Subsequently, the Immobiliare deal is ratified. The plotters against the ratification attempt to cover their tracks and Gilday kills the new pope with poisoned tea. Michael sees that Vincent is a changed man and names him the new Don of the Corleone family, in return for ending his romance with Mary.

The family sees Anthony's performance in Cavalleria rusticana in Palermo while Vincent exacts his revenge:

  • Vincent's men smother Keinszig and then hang him from a bridge, making his death look like a suicide;
  • At the opera, Connie gives Altobello a poisoned cannoli and watches him die from her opera box;
  • Calò, Tommasino's former bodyguard, stabs Lucchesi in the neck with his own spectacles.
  • Neri travels to the Vatican, where he shoots and kills Gilday.

At the opera house during Anthony's performance, three of Vincent's men search for Mosca, but he overcomes them. After the show, on the opera house steps as they leave, Mosca shoots at Michael, wounding him, and a second bullet hits Mary, killing her. Vincent shoots and kills Mosca. Michael cradles Mary's lifeless body and screams in agony; the scene fades out into a montage of Michael dancing with Mary, his first wife, Apollonia, and finally, Kay.

Years later, an elderly Michael, sitting alone in the courtyard of Don Tommasino's villa, slumps over in his chair and falls lifeless to the ground.


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