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(Boxed Set)

introduction - behind-the-scenes
synopsis - additional footage


9 hours, 43 minutes of pure heaven, plus The Godfather Family: A Look Inside (the Making-of documentary)

The Trilogy boxed set (1992) contains Parts I through III on 5 VHS cassettes:


The following behind-the-scenes and synopsis text were taken from the program guide from The Godfather Trilogy boxed set


"I always thought of THE GODFATHER as the story of a great king with three sons. The oldest was given his passion and aggressiveness; the second, his sweet nature and childlike qualities; and the third, his cunning and coolness."

(Note: This quote was incorrect in The Epic!)

The Filmmaker describes the mythical quality inherent in the story of the Corleone Family. Paramount Home Video is proud to present that story in THE GODFATHER TRILOGY 1901-1980. Prepared especially for the home-video audience, the trilogy is Francis Ford Coppola's personal interweaving of the films THE GODFATHER, THE GODFATHER PART II AND THE GODFATHER PART III, and includes scenes not seen theatrically [see below]


Behind The Scenes
(This text was close to that in The Epic guide. Changes are in italics and deletions are in [brackets])

Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather was a best-seller many times over when filming began in 1971. Controversy and turmoil surrounded the announcement of the project; protests were lodged by the Italian-American Civil Rights League and by Senators, Congressmen and New York State legislators. Bomb threats and actual intimidation took place. But meetings were held to reassure many of the discontented parties. [and negotiations reassured many of the querulous, who were convinced] Former foes became allies who agreed to participate in the making of the movie.

It was the task of producer Albert S. Ruddy and director Francis Ford Coppola to assemble the brilliant cast. Marlon Brando was one of the many distinguished actors being considered for the role of Don Vito Corleone, but the feeling for him was not uniformly positive. So eager was Brando for the part that he improvised props and makeup, darkening the shadows under his eyes with shoe polish and stuffing his cheeks with tissue for a privately filmed [Kleenex, and filmed a private] screen test. His classic characterization is one of moviedom's most memorable.

Glamorous and renowned contenders for the crucial supporting roles of the sons were ruled out in favor of lesser-known, more authentic-looking actors: James Caan, John Cazale and young Al Pacino, who skyrocketed to fame with his portrayal of Michael Corleone. [Later] in PART II, surprise choice Robert De Niro turned in an Oscar-winning performance as the young Vito Corleone. Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, Diane Keaton, Lee Strasberg, Morgana King and many others etched their portraits with great skill to contribute to the epic films. The tradition of impeccable casting continued in Part III, made 18 years after the first Godfather saga. Al Pacino, Diane Keaton and Talia Shire reprised their original roles. Andy Garcia gave an Oscar-nominated performance as ambitious young firebrand Vincent Mancini. Sofia Coppola, Eli Wallach, Joe Mantegna and others in the unerring cast provided compellingly effective portrayals.

This care in casting extended to the smaller roles and even the extras, all of whom were coached in the atmosphere, mannerisms and attitudes of the times being filmed. In addition, meticulous attention to details of setting, place and time made the films models of depth and subtlety. Great care was taken to obtain correct costumes, props, cars and even properly-dated posters and handbills.

"It was my intention," says director-producer-screenwriter Coppola, "to make this an authentic piece of film about gangsters who were Italian, how they lived, how they behaved, the way they treated their families, celebrated their rituals." Coppola and Puzo collaborated on the three films' scripts, faithfully maintaining the spirit and complexity of THE GODFATHER.

The rhythm of the film is called by Coppola "legato, rather than staccato," easily flowing and building as the stories are developed. This cohesiveness is no small accomplishment, as the chronicle deals with three generations, encompassing literally hundreds of characters and complicated story lines.

THE GODFATHER was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won three for "Best Picture of 1972," "Best Actor" (Brando) and "Best Screenplay"

THE GODFATHER PART II captured twelve Academy Award nominations, and won six Oscars, including "Best Picture of 1974," "Best Supporting Actor" (De Niro), "Best Director" and "Best Screenplay"

THE GODFATHER PART III added to the legacy with seven Academy Award nominations, including "Best Picture of 1990.) It also introduced the saga to filmgoers who were toddlers or not even born when the first film was released. The series that had captured the imaginations of Americans almost 20 years earlier reconfirmed its lasting appeal by entertaining both its original fans and a new generation of viewers.


The Story: An Overview

Eight-year-old Vito Corleone, the lone survivor of a family cut-down in a Sicilian vendetta, is smuggled into New Yorks's Little Italy at the turn of the century. When he reaches manhood, Vito (De Niro) returns to Italy to avenge the murder of his family. Back in New York, Vito works his way to the top of the organized-crime world. Feared and respected, Don Vito is known by all as the Godfather.

THE OLD VITO: A Patriarch of Crime
Aging Don Vito Corleone (Brando) rules his empire with the aid of his four sons: quick-tempered Sonny (Caan), weak Fredo (Cazale), Ivy League-educated Michael (Pacino) and adopted son Tom Hagen (Duvall). Don Vito refuses to join the five ruling Families in the narcotics trade, touching off a gang war.

Sonny takes over the Family when the Godfather is wounded in an ambush. Michael, who wanted to avoid a life of crime, kills to avenge his father and escapes to Sicily. There he marries, but his wife is killed when rivals try to assassinate him. Sonny beats up Carlo (Russo), the abusive husband of his sister Connie (Shire). In retaliation, Carlo arranges Sonny's murder. Heartbroken, Don Vito agrees to join in the drug trade. Michael returns to New York, marries his college sweetheart (Keaton) and promises her he'll make the Family business legitimate.

MICHAEL: The New Don
Don Vito dies of a stroke. In a grab for power, Michael kills of the heads of the other New York crime Families and becomes the new, even more powerful Godfather. Michael moves to Nevada and muscles in on the gambling business. Attempting to expand operations into Cuba, Michael is double-crossed by his partner Hyman Roth (Strasberg) and his brother Fredo. Michael omnipotent, he gets a U.S. Senate hearing on organized crime dismissed and has both Roth and Fredo killed. Distraught over his ruthlessness, Kay leaves Michael.

In 1979, the Catholic Church honors Michael, now a legitimate billionaire businessman, for his charitable work. The family reunites for the celebration. Hot-headed Vincent (Garcia), Sonny's illegitimate son, is take into the family business. An Atlantic City conclave of Michael's associates is attacked by revenge-minded Joey Zasa (Mantegna). The cycle of retribution Michael hoped to avoid begins anew. Michael's European venture goes sour, turning the operatic debut of his son Anthony (D'Ambrosio) into a bloody vendetta that results in the murder of daughter Mary (Coppola). Michael dies. Vincent is now the Godfather.

"If you work with the same group of people for over 20 or 30 years, they become an important part of your life. Certainly, in The Godfather Trilogy, using old collaborators who knew each other over many years, who had worked together and learned together, had to give some flavor that would strongly influence the theme...because finally it is a film about a family being made by a family" —Francis Ford Copolla

trilogy set
(Click image to enlarge)

* Additional Footage! *

Added to The Godfather

Michael and Kay pretend to be in New Hampshire to get away, even though they're in New York. The scene is the two of them in a hotel bed, getting a wake-up call at 3 PM. They're supposed to go to the Corleone residence, but Michael doesn't want to go yet. He calls the mansion (Orchard-9-9539) and Kay pretends to be the long distance operator. Michael tells Tom that they're "stuck in New Hampshire." This scene occurs before Fredo gets the car for the Don. (This was also in the Epic)

When Michael is hiding in Sicily, there's a scene where Michael and his two bodyguards are laying down to rest. Fabrizio wants Michael to tell him about New York. M:"How do you know I'm from New York?" / F:"We heard. Somebody told us you were real important" / M:"I'm the son of a big shot" / F:"Is America as rich as they say?" / C:"Stop bothering me [Calo] with this rich America stuff!" Fabrizio asks Michael if he could be his bodyguard in America. This scene comes before their meeting Apollonia. (This was also in the Epic)

After Apollonia gets killed in the explosion, there's a short scene of Michael, in shock and in bed, muttering to Tommasino & Apollonia's mother: "Apollonia..?" / T:"Dead" / "Fabrizio..? Get me Fabrizio..." (This was also in the Epic)

After The Don tells Tom he's to go to California, Tom tells him that the hospital called and the dying Consiglieri Genco won't last the night

After Connie's wedding reception, The Don, his sons, and Johnny Fontane go to the hospital to pay their respects to Genco

Before Woltz and Tom start talking, Woltz presents his nymphette girl, Janie, with a birthday pony. Her mother is there. (We can see them in GF1, however)

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.

There's some short extra footage of Luca Brasi going to meet with the Tattaglia's

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 isn't home.

After Sonny gets the call from Sollozzo, he goes to tells Carmella that the Don's been shot. He then calls up Tessio to get 50 of his men over. He tries to call Luca, but he's not there

There's some short extra footage of Michael in the car arriving at the mall

After Michael meets Clemenza "he's gonna pull through, thank God," he asks Theresa about Tom. The two of them go in to see Sonny (who's with Tessio). Tom enters the room.

Before Clemenza leaves the house with Paulie, he and Rocco talk about Clemenza's car. Clemenza gives Rocco the gun he's to use to "make his bones" by killing Paulie.

After they leave Clemenza's driveway, we see them make a stop "to call Sonny." Clemenza eats a meal and buys cannoli while Rocco and Paulie wait in the car.

In Sicily, after Michael tells Tommasino that they're going to Corleone, Michael and his bodyguards see a procession of what appears to be Communists marching through the hills

There's some short extra footage of Michael and bodyguards walking through Corleone, before he says "where have all the men gone?"

Before they're on the road as the GIs pass by, Michael visits his father's birthplace (house) and he asks a woman if there are any family/friends of the Andolini's around. She says they've all left and gone overseas.

At Connie & Carlo's, after Connie hangs up the phone, she walks into the bathroom where Carlo is showering. She confronts him about the "whore" which he blows off, 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 weren't before.

Before Tom asks Michael "why am I out?" there's some short extra footage. There's also some after Michael says "you're out Tom." These two short scenes talk about Al Neri.

Added to The Godfather Part II

After Paolo gets shot, 2 of Don Ciccio's thugs arrive at young Vito's home looking for him. She says she'll take him herself (This was also in the Epic)

There's a scene before Vito gets fired from Abbandando Grosseria: While Vito's delivering groceries, he sees three punks over on 9th Street assaulting Fanucci, and they cut his throat "from ear to scare him." Genco and Vito chat in the store. Vito says Fanucci's not a big shot. Genco says Fanucci has connections. The next time we see Fanucci, he's fine! (This was also in the Epic)

After the new carpet is installed, young Vito, Clemenza and Tessio meet up with a gunsmith, Augustino Coppola, and his young son, Carmine Coppola [sound familiar?]. This is where Clemenza sells his guns. The boy Carmine is the one playing the flute, NOT "young Vito" as the caption in the Soundtrack claims (This was also in the Epic)

We then see young Clemenza is hocking stolen dresses door-to-door for $5 a piece. He makes one married woman an offer (two for one), and even fools around with her. Clemenza tells Vito to bring the rest of the dresses to Dadine's Store, who'll turn it over the the wholesaler. While driving is when Fanucci hops aboard. (This was also in the Epic)

After Signor Roberto lowers Signora Colombo's rent, Vito sees Clemenza, who found a kid good with cars, to fix the truck. His name is Hyman Suchowsky, but Clemenza calls him "Johnny Lips." His name is then changed to Hyman Rothstien [sound familiar? Later it's Hyman Roth] (This was also in the Epic)

In a trip back to Sicily, young Vito finds and kills two of Don Ciccio's retainers (Strollo and ?) before he goes with Tommasino to kill Don Ciccio. (This was also in the Epic)

At the Communion party, Sonny's daughter, Francesca, comes to see Michael for his blessing to marry Gardner Shaw. He also asks how Santino's football is coming. (This was also in the Epic)

Then there's a scene in which Al Neri is talking to Michael (with Tom & Rocco) and they are looking at pictures of Fabrizio. He was brought over illegally from Sicily by Barzini. (This was also in the Epic)

After Michael's meeting with Sen. Geary, we see Fabrizio ("Fred Vincent"), leaving his pizzeria in Buffalo, NY, and getting firebombed in his car. He stumbles out of the car, before he dies. (This was also in the Epic)

There's added footage at the beginning of the scene where young Vito and Clemenza are drinking coffee, talking about the carpet

There's added footage at the end of Fanucci's talk with young Vito in the truck. This leads directly to the following:

There's added footage at the beginning of the scene where young Vito, Clemenza and Tessio are eating spaghetti and Vito's house

There's added footage at the beginning of young Vito's meeting with Signora Colombo

There's added footage at the end of young Vito's talk with Signor Roberto

There's added footage before we see Signor Roberto at young Vito's office. We see him enter through the garage area.

At the beginning of Anthony's party, we see Fredo and Deanna in the parking lot. Deanna is already drunk and Fredo doesn't want Michael to see her that way

There's added footage leading up to Pentangeli drinking from the garden hose we see him doing before he sees Fredo

There's added footage of singing on the grandstand, and in the parking lot. We also see Anthony walking up to the buttomen, and stopping as Kay calls after him

We see Pentangeli sitting and drinking wine with Anthony. He gives Anthony a $100 bill

We see Al Neri visiting Klingman at the casino, and kicking him out


Added to The Godfather III:

[nothing noted]

Missing from The Godfather Trilogy (why?!):

When Michael returns to New York, before he meets up with Kay, he and his father talk in the garden. Michael: "Pop, what about Sonny? What about Sicily? ...You gave them your word about breaking the peace, I didn't. I take all responsibility." [from The Epic]

Anthony's First Communion ceremony in the church

The very first few lines of Michael's Senate testimony: "New York City"/"Would you mind speaking up please"/"New York City"

**If I missed any, please let me know! Especially if there were scenes CUT from the Trilogy!**

Here are some notes on the videodisc version of The Trilogy:
Notes on the Laser disc version


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