What Godfather Coda changed about Godfather III

Francis Ford Coppola promised that Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone — his re-edit of The Godfather III — would change the film’s beginning and ending, as well as some points along the way. He has made good on that promise, in some unexpected ways. So what does Godfather Coda change about Godfather III?

We’ve watched both versions, and found a few noteworthy changes. Here is a by-no-means exhaustive list of them. Spoilers abound, obviously. Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is available on Blu-Ray and streaming.

The Beginning

The original Godfather III opens with a flashback to the lake house where Michael Corleone’s brother Fredo (John Cazale) was murdered — at Michael’s order. The scene is followed by a lovely establishing shot of 1979 New York City, including the Twin Towers.

Coda opens with Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) wheeling and dealing with the chainsmoking Archbishop Gilday (Donal Donnelly) — a scene that doesn’t appear until about 40 minutes into the original Godfather III. The change puts a somewhat confusing Vatican storyline from the original film front-and-center for Coda. The Twin Towers shot is gone.

Michael Corleone then delivers a lovely voiceover in which he writes to his children, Tony (Franc D’Ambrosio) and Mary (Sofia Coppola), that he would like to see more of them. “The only wealth in this world is children,” he says.

What Godfather Coda Changes About Godfather 3

The crooked Archbishop Gilday (Donal Donnelly) gets a prominent scene in The Godfather Coda.

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