The Godfather Trilogy was one of the most influential and talked about films of the crime-drama genre ever made. It is considered as the seminal masterpiece and also the corner stone of the American Crime Films. Mario Puzo, who wrote the books, collaborated with Francis Ford Coppola to write the screenplay for all the three films. As Coppola admitted in an interview, Puzo turned out to be the one with the more cinematic inputs into the tale while Coppola himself became more of the literary guy. The result of this collaboration was out there for everyone to see. When the first film was made, even the makers might not have thought that it would turn out to be such a game changers and would result in two more films just to complete the story of the Corleone family. Even if they did, they still made the films in a way which was not particularly speaking in chronological order.
While the first and the third films were more or less in chronology, the second installment which also happens to be my favorite was presented in a contemporary style which related the journey of the father and the son at the same age in two disjointed time periods. Thus THE GODFATHER : THE CHRONOLOGICAL SAGA (1901-1980) was of particular interest to me as it laid out the events of the three films in chronological order. The film starts off with the first scene of The Godfather Part II, wherein we are introduced to an infant Vito Andolini who helplessly watches, his mother, elder brother and father murdered by Don Ciccio. He escapes with the help of some locals and arrives in America.
Growing up in America he faces some tough ordeals before finding his true calling in crime and overthrowing the local kingpin going by the name of Fanucci. He is able to become the don. He subsequently sets up a law and order enterprise in which he practically becomes the overseer of peace and justice in his own society. He gets old and becomes a father to three sons and raises many. But he doesn’t forget to take revenge on Don Cicio who is now a dying hag. The film subsequently shifts to the first part of the trilogy and from here on the events unfold in manner similar to the three films. Before moving further with the review let us just take a sneak peek into the plots of the three films.
The Godfather, the first film in the franchise, was released on March 15, 1972. The feature-length film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name. The plot begins with Don Vito Corleone declining an offer to join in the narcotics business with notorious drug lord Virgil Sollozzo, which leads to an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Vito’s oldest son Sonny takes over the family and Michael strikes back for the assassination attempt by killing Sollozzo and a corrupted police captain, forcing Michael to go to Sicily in hiding. While in Sicily, Michael travels around the country and meets a young woman whom he marries, but who is eventually killed in a car bombing. Michael returns to America after the news of his Brother Sonny’s killing. After returning, Vito turns over the reins of the family to Michael. Michael plans to move the family business to Las Vegas; but before the move, he plots the killing of the heads of the five families on the day of his sister’s son’s baptism. Other subplots include Vito’s daughter’s abusive marriage, Johnny Fontaine’s success out West, and Vito’s second oldest son Fredo’s role in the family business.
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II, the second film in the franchise, was released on December 20, 1974. The feature-length film was again directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based upon Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name. The film is in part both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, presenting two parallel dramas. The main storyline, following the first film’s events, centers on Michael Corleone, the new Don of the Corleone crime family, trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily in 1901 to his founding of the Corleone family in New York City.
The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III, the third film in the franchise, was released on December 25, 1990. Francis Ford Coppola reprises his role as director for the feature-length film, while also writing the screenplay with the help of the author Mario Puzo. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire. The film also weaves into its plot a fictionalized account of real-life events — the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981–1982 and links them with each other and with the affairs of Michael Corleone.
There have been innumerable reviews written for the three films which leave almost nothing more left to be said about these films from our generation of critics. However, speaking of this version of the trilogy which not only combines the first three films but also adds additional material to it which was not a part of theatrical releases, we might just have a few things to say. This is the most elaborately laid out and complete version of the trilogy that is out there. This is the version which practically ties up every loose end which the trilogy might have left out. There is a truckload of scenes which we have never seen before. Here I would like to bring to your notice these scenes.
The Godfather additional scenes
1. After Vito agrees to help Amerigo Bonasera avenge the beating of his daughter, Vito whistles to Sonny and asks if he was paying attention.
2. After Vito tells Hagen to go to California, Hagen tells him that the hospital called and the dying Genco Abbandando will not last the night. Vito tells Sonny he wants all his sons to pay their respects to Genco and for Fredo to drive the big car.
3. After Connie’s wedding reception, Vito, his sons, and Johnny Fontane go to the hospital to visit Genco, where Vito calls Michael’s military decorations “Christmas ribbons”. Genco asks that Vito stay with him and scare away death to which Vito says that he has no such power.
4. Before Hagen and Jack Woltz start talking, Woltz presents a young girl, Janie, with a pony for her birthday. Her mother is there. After Tom leaves Woltz, he’s walking to the exit and sees Janie, crying at the top of the staircase, being retrieved by her mother; the implication is that Woltz molested her.
5. There is additional footage of Tom, Sonny and Vito discussing the Woltz situation before the horse head scene. Vito calls Woltz’s pedophilia an “infamita”.
6. Michael and Kay pretend to be in New Hampshire to get away, even though they are in New York. The scene is the two of them in a hotel bed, getting a wake-up call at 3 p.m. They’re supposed to go to the Corleone residence, but Michael does not want to go yet. He calls the mansion and Kay pretends to be the long distance operator. Michael tells Hagen that they’re “stuck in New Hampshire”. This scene occurs before Fredo gets the car for Vito.
7. There is some short extra footage of Luca Brasi walking through the hotel hallways before meeting with the Tattaglias. He sees a neon sign turn off, which signals him it is OK to enter the bar.
8. After the Don is shot, Sonny gets a phone call from a detective telling him about it. Sonny then tries to call Tom, but Theresa says he is not home.
9. After Sonny gets the call from Virgil Sollozzo (“We have Tom Hagen”), he goes to tell his mother that Vito has been shot. He then calls Sal Tessio to get 50 of his men over. He tries to call Brasi, but he’s not there.
10. After Michael calls Sonny about Vito’s shooting, there is additional footage near the phone booth of Michael telling Kay to go back the hotel.
11. There is some short extra footage of Michael in the car arriving at the mall.
12. After Michael meets Peter Clemenza, he asks Hagen’s wife Theresa how he is. The two of them go in to see Sonny (who’s with Tessio). After discussing how Paulie Gatto, not Clemenza, was the traitor, Hagen enters the room.
13. Before Clemenza leaves the house with Paulie, he and Rocco Lampone talk about Clemenza’s car with the wooden bumpers. Clemenza gives Rocco the gun he’s to use to “make his bones” by killing Gatto.
14. After they leave Clemenza’s driveway, we see them make a stop “to call Sonny”. Clemenza eats a meal and buys cannoli while Lampone and Gatto wait in the car.
15. When Michael is hiding in Sicily, there is a scene in which his bodyguard Fabrizio asks him about New York, and whether it is true that he is the son of a Mafia boss. Fabrizio then asks Michael if he could be his bodyguard in America. This scene happens just before they meet Apollonia.
16. In Sicily, after Michael tells Don Tommasino that they’re going to Corleone, Michael and his bodyguards see a procession of what appears to be Communists marching through the hills.
17. There is some short extra footage of Michael and bodyguards walking through Corleone, before he says “where have all the men gone?”
18. Before they’re on the road as the G.I.s pass by, Michael visits his father’s birthplace and he asks a woman if there are any family/friends of the Andolini family around. She says they’ve all left and gone overseas.
19. After Hagen makes the call to Bonasera following Sonny’s murder, we see Bonasera getting dressed and contemplating what task Vito is going to ask him to do. (Exclusive to the Saga only)
20. After Apollonia is killed in the explosion, there’s a short scene of Michael, in shock and in bed, muttering to Tommasino and Apollonia’s mother: “Apollonia..?” / Tommasino: “Dead” / Michael: “Fabrizio..? Get me Fabrizio…”
21. After Connie hangs up the phone following a fight with her husband Carlo Rizzi, she walks into the bathroom where Carlo is showering. She confronts him about the “whore”; he ignores the comment and tells her to make him dinner. The subsequent footage is slightly tailored to fit the standard scene, and a couple of extra lines are added where they were not before.
22. Before Hagen asks Michael why he is being replaced as consigliere, there’s some short extra footage. There is also some after Michael says “You’re out Tom.” These two short scenes talk about Al Neri.
23. After Hagen leaves the room, Vito takes Michael out to the garden though the French doors in the study. (Exclusive to the Saga only)
24. The original ending of the film showed Kay praying at an altar while the credits were shown. The scene though faithful to the original novel was used only as a final of The Godfather Saga.
The Godfather Part II additional scenes
1. After Vito’s brother Paolo is shot, two of Don Ciccio’s thugs arrive at the Andolini home looking for Vito. His mother says she’ll take him herself.
2. When Vito and Genco go backstage at the theater, there is additional footage before and after the scene where Don Fanucci grabs a young girl. Fanucci tells the theater owner that he should have more Sicilian songs and begins to sing.
3. There is a scene before Vito gets fired from Abbandando’s Grosseria: While Vito is delivering groceries, he sees three punks over on 9th Street assaulting Fanucci, and they cut his throat “from ear to ear…to scare him”. Genco and Vito discuss how much power Fanucci actually has.
4. There is added footage at the beginning of the scene where young Vito and Clemenza are drinking coffee, talking about the carpet Vito is to steal.
5. After the new carpet is installed, Vito, Clemenza, and Tessio meet up with a gunsmith, Augustino Coppola, and his young son, Carmine Coppola. This is where Clemenza sells his guns.
6. We then see young Clemenza hocking stolen dresses door-to-door for $5 a piece. He makes one married woman an offer (two for one), and presumably has sex with her. Clemenza tells Vito to bring the rest of the dresses to Dadine’s Store, where Dadine will turn it over to the wholesaler. While they are driving, Fanucci hops aboard Vito’s truck.
7. There is added footage at the end of Fanucci’s talk with Vito in the truck.
8. There is added footage at the beginning of the scene where Vito, Clemenza and Tessio are eating spaghetti at Vito’s house discussing how to pay Fanucci.
9. There is added footage at the beginning of Vito’s meeting with Signora Colombo.
10. There is added footage during Vito’s talk with Signor Roberto on the street.
11. There is added footage before we see Signor Roberto at Vito’s office. He is seen entering through the garage area where he carefully asks for “Don Vito Corleone”.
12. After Signor Roberto lowers Signora Colombo’s rent, Vito sees Clemenza, who has found “a kid good with cars”, to fix the truck. His name is Hyman Suchowsky, but Clemenza calls him “Johnny Lips.” Vito suggests that Suchowsky change his name; Suchowsky then begins calling himself Hyman Roth.
13. In a trip back to Sicily, there is additional footage of Vito’s family exiting the train and walking with a small band.
14. While in Sicily, Vito finds and kills two of Don Ciccio’s retainers (Strollo and an unnamed man) before he goes with Tommasino to kill Don Ciccio.
15. There is additional footage of Vito and his family at the train station leaving Sicily.
16. There is footage of Michael walking on pier in Lake Tahoe playing with a dog.
17. There is footage of Anthony’s First Communion ceremony.
18. At the beginning of Anthony’s party, there is added footage of singing on the grandstand, and in the parking lot. We also see Anthony walking up to the button men, and stopping as Kay calls after him.
19. There is a scene of Fredo and his wife Deanna in the parking lot. Deanna is already drunk and Fredo does not want Michael to see her that way.
20. At the communion party, Sonny’s daughter, Francesca, comes to see Michael for his blessing to marry Gardner Shaw, of whom Michael approves. He also asks Francesca how her brother Santino Jr. is doing in football.
21. There is a scene (after Michael’s meeting with Sen. Pat Geary) in which Al Neri is talking to Michael (with Hagen and Lampone) and they are looking at pictures of Fabrizio. They explain that he was brought over illegally from Sicily by Don Barzini.
22. After Michael and Kay are dancing in the communion party, we see Fabrizio (“Fred Vincent”), leaving his pizzeria in Buffalo, New York, and getting into his car, which explodes. He stumbles out of the car, before he dies.
23. There is added footage leading up to Frank Pentangeli drinking from the garden hose when he asked a waiter for canapés.
24. When the family sits down to eat, we see Pentangeli sitting and drinking wine with Anthony. He gives Anthony a $100 bill.
25. There is footage of Al Neri visiting Klingman at the casino, and kicking him out.
The Godfather Part III additional scenes
The original introductory scene showed Michael in meeting with Archbishop Gilday about buying International Immobiliare in the same tonic that same introductory scene from The Godfather on meeting Bonasera and Vito. As is known the scene was moved in the final editing in final cut showing the Corleone house in Lake Tahoe in ruins.
The additional footage doesn’t just serve as some mare prop in a special edition presentation of the tale making you feel good about seeing it but serves to define the story in ways that the theatrical releases could never have without these additions. The scenes seamlessly gel into the narrative accentuating its feel and the drama that the films are so famous for. The second installment has the most number of additional scenes and also accounts for the whole story of the young Vito Corleone which unfolds here before the first part. The trilogy also shows the beginnings and ends of some key characters like Hyman Roth, Ciccio etc.
If someone is looking to immerse oneself into The Godfather Trilogy, this is the definitive version to go for. It has a duration of nearly 10 hours which would easily require more than three seating to take down fully. However the captivating narrative and the breezy screenplay won’t let you feel a thing. The iconic performances will be more definitive and after you are done with these films you will have a feel of a contentment as all the ends are tied up leaving not even a lone assassin(who had murdered Michele’s wife) escape without retribution. Watch it and fall in love with the trilogy if you haven’t already.
(the additional scenes index was written with help from Wikipedia.org)