“I am very proud of The Godfather, which certainly defined the first third of my creative life,” said Francis Ford Coppola. “With this 50th anniversary tribute, I’m especially proud Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is included, as it captures Mario and my original vision in definitively concluding our epic trilogy. It’s also gratifying to celebrate this milestone with Paramount alongside the wonderful fans who’ve loved it for decades, younger generations who still find it relevant today, and those who will discover it for the first time.”
Coppola’s masterful film adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family and the film trilogy is rightfully viewed as one of the greatest in cinematic history. In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the first film’s original release on March 24, 1972, Paramount and Coppola’s production company American Zoetrope undertook a painstaking restoration of all three films over the course of three years.
Every effort was made to create the finest possible presentation for today’s audiences who can watch the films using technology that has advanced dramatically since 2007 when the last restoration was completed by eminent film historian and preservationist Robert Harris. Using that work as a blueprint, the team spent thousands of hours to ensure that every frame was evaluated to create the most pristine presentation while remaining true to the original look and feel of the films.
The monumental effort included the following:
- Over 300 cartons of film were scrutinized to find the best possible resolution for every frame of all three films.
- Over 4,000 hours were spent repairing film stains, tears, and other anomalies in the negatives.
- Over 1,000 hours were spent on rigorous color correction to ensure the high dynamic range tools were respectful of the original vision of Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis.
- In addition to the 5.1 audio approved by Walter Murch in 2007, the original mono tracks on The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II have been restored.
- All work was overseen by Coppola.
“We felt privileged to restore these films and a little in awe every day we worked on them,” said Andrea Kalas, senior vice president, Paramount Archives. “We were able to witness first-hand how the brilliant cinematography, score, production design, costume design, editing, performances, and, of course, screenwriting and direction became famously more than the sum of their parts. It was our commitment to honor all of the filmmakers’ exceptional work.”
Newly restored and remastered in Dolby Vision, all three films in the landmark trilogy will be released together with HDR-10 on 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™ for the first time ever. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set will include The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, and Coppola’s recently re-edited version of the final film, Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. The disc set includes legacy commentaries by Coppola, as well as access to Digital copies of The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II and Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.
In addition to the widely available 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set, a 4K Ultra HD Limited Collector’s Edition will also be released in deluxe packaging and includes a hardcover coffee table book featuring stunning photographs, as well as portrait art prints on archival paper. Both 4K Ultra HD sets include new bonus content including an introduction to The Godfather by Coppola, a featurette about the preservation process, photos by acclaimed photographer Steve Schapiro, home movie footage, and comparisons of the new restoration to earlier versions of the films. A full list of new and legacy bonus content follows:
NEW BONUS CONTENT:
- Introduction to The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola
- Full Circle: Preserving The Godfather—Paramount Pictures archivists detail the incredible restoration process with archival footage showing the evolution of the film through various home entertainment incarnations as picture and audio technologies make quantum leaps over the decades.
- Capturing the Corleones: Through the Lens of Photographer Steve Schapiro—In this reflective and frank discussion, special photographer Steve Schapiro shares his unique perspective and cherished memories as a witness to the making of this seminal film. Commentary on curated archival images makes for a fascinating, never-before-seen addition to the production’s history.
- The Godfather: Home Movies—An assortment of 8mm home movie footage shot in 1971 offers a candid glimpse into the production of The Godfather. Shot on location at the Norton family estate on Staten Island’s Emerson Hill, this is the first time it’s been made available to the public.
- Restoration Comparisons—Before and after highlights showcase extensive picture quality improvements to The Godfather.
LEGACY BONUS CONTENT:
- The Masterpiece That Almost Wasn’t
- Godfather World
- Emulsional Rescue—Revealing The Godfather
- ...when the shooting stopped
- The Godfather on the Red Carpet
- Four Short Films on The Godfather
- The Godfather vs. The Godfather: Part II
- Riffing on the Riffing
- The Family Tree
- Crime Organization Chart
- Connie and Carlo’s Wedding Album
- 2008 Credits
- Behind the Scenes
- A Look Inside
- On Location
- Francis Ford Coppola’s Notebook
- Music of The Godfather
- Nino Rota
- Carmine Coppola
- Coppola & Puzo on Screenwriting
- Gordon Willis on Cinematography
- Storyboards – The Godfather: Part II
- Storyboards – The Godfather: Part III
- The Godfather Behind the Scenes 1971
- Additional Scenes
- Acclaim & Response
- Additional Material
- The Filmmakers
- The Godfather: Part III—newly remastered and restored versions of the original theatrical cut and Coppola’s 1991 cut (note: these are exclusive to the 4K Ultra HD Collections)
Newly restored and remastered versions of The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, and Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone will also be available together on Blu-ray™ with access to Digital copies and the new and legacy bonus content detailed above.
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So that’s the press release.
Just to clarify (and we have confirmed this with Paramount this morning): These 4K sets WILL include the original theatrical version of The Godfather: Part III in addition to the new Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone version. Also, we’ve confirmed that audio options will include 5.1 Dolby Digital, 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, and Restored English Mono. We’re further checking to confirm whether both Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 will be included or just the latter. (An update will be added here when he hear back from the studio.)
[Editor’s 8 AM Update: The 4K discs will feature both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range. We’re awaiting a second confirmation from the studio as to whether BOTH 4K sets include the same number of discs (and thus the same disc-based content) or not—the official press release above isn’t clear on this point. And despite studio’s initial clarification in response to our questions this morning, retail sources suggest that there’s a 3-disc 4K set (3 UHDs) and a 5-disc 4K set (4 UHDs and 1 BD) and it’s only the 5-disc set that includes the legacy special features (on BD only) and both the original theatrical and 1991 versions of The Godfather: Part III (in 4K on the same UHD disc via seamless branching). As soon as we’re able to confirm this 100% we’ll post an update right here.]
Meanwhile, here’s a look at the newly-restored trailer for the film…
And here’s a look at the wide 4K Ultra HD release as well as the Limited Collector’s Edition. Both are NOW AVAILABLE for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking on the images…
Back later with more. Stay tuned!