The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Mario Puzo
Francis Ford Coppola

Al Pacino
Diane Keaton
Talia Shire
Andy García
Eli Wallach
Joe Mantegna
George Hamilton
Sofia Coppola

Music by Carmine Coppola
Cinematography Gordon Willis
Editing by Barry Malkin
Lisa Fruchtman
Walter Murch
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release December 25, 1990
Running time 170 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $54 million
Gross revenue $136,766,062
Preceded by The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part III is a 1990 American crime film written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, and directed by Coppola. 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 two real-life events; the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981–1982; linking both and with the affairs of Michael Corleone. The film stars Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, and Andy García, and features Eli Wallach, Joe Mantegna, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda, and Sofia Coppola.

Coppola and Puzo originally wanted the title to be The Death of Michael Corleone but this was not acceptable to Paramount Pictures. Coppola states that The Godfather series is in fact two films, and Part III is the epilogue. Part III received mixed reviews, grossed $136,766,062 and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including the Academy Award for Best Picture.


In 1979, Michael Corleone is nearing 60 and wracked with guilt for his ruthless rise to power, especially ordering the murder of his brother Fredo. By now, he has mostly retired from the Mafia, leaving the Corleone family's criminal interests in the hands of enforcer Joey Zasa, and is using his tremendous wealth and power to restore his reputation via numerous acts of charity. Michael and Kay have been divorced since 1960, and Michael gave her custody of their children, Anthony and Mary.

At a ceremony in St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, Michael is named a Commander of the Order of St. Sebastian. At a party following the ceremony, Anthony tells his father that he is going to drop out of law school to pursue a career as an opera singer. Kay supports his choice, but Michael disagrees, wishing that his son would either finish law school or join the family business, but Anthony refuses to have anything to do with his father's "legacy". Michael and Kay have an uneasy reunion, in which Kay tells him that Anthony knows the truth about Fredo's death.

Vincent Mancini, the illegitimate son of Michael's late brother Sonny, shows up at the party. He is embroiled in a feud with Zasa, who has involved the Corleone family in major drug trafficking and turned Little Italy into a slum. Michael's sister Connie arranges a "sit-down" between Vincent and Zasa in Michael's study. The discussion erupts into a fight, in which Vincent bites Zasa on the ear. That night Vincent has a one-night stand with a journalist named Grace Hamilton. Two men armed with knives and a gun break in and try to kill him. Vincent kills them both, but not before learning that Zasa sent them. Michael is troubled by Vincent's fiery temper, but is nonetheless impressed by his loyalty, and agrees to take his nephew under his wing.

Michael busies himself with the biggest deal of his career: He has recently bought up enough stock in International Immobiliare, an international real estate holding company known as "the world's biggest landlord", to become its largest single shareholder, with six seats on the company's 13-member board of directors. He now makes a tender offer to buy the Vatican's 25% interest in the company, which will give him controlling interest. Knowing that Archbishop Gilday, who serves as head of the Vatican Bank, has run up a massive deficit, he negotiates a deal to pay $600 million to the Bank in exchange for the shares. The deal is quickly approved by Immobiliare's board. However, it must be ratified in Rome by Pope Paul VI, who is gravely ill. Without his word, the deal is in limbo.

Don Altobello, an elderly New York Mafia boss and old friend of the Corleones (as well as Connie's godfather), soon visits Michael, telling him that his old partners on the Commission want in on the Immobiliare deal. Michael, however, is adamant that the deal shall be untainted by Mafia involvement. A meeting is arranged, and Michael appeases most of the Mafia bosses with payoffs from the sale of his Las Vegas holdings. Zasa, however, gets nothing and declares that Michael is his enemy and storms out. Altobello tells Michael that he will try to reason with Zasa and follows close behind. Minutes later, a helicopter hovers outside the conference room and sprays it with machine gun fire. Most of the other mob bosses are killed, but Michael, Vincent, and Michael's bodyguard, Al Neri, escape. Back at his penthouse in New York, Al Neri tells Michael that those mob bosses who escaped the massacre made deals with Zasa. Michael knows that Zasa was not the mastermind of the massacre due to Zasa's being "muscle" and not having the cunning to organize such a scheme. Vincent wants to kill Zasa, but Michael refuses. As he considers how to respond to the situation, he suffers a diabetic stroke and is hospitalized, but not before realizing Altobello is the traitor.

As Michael recuperates, Vincent begins a romantic relationship with Mary and plots revenge against Zasa. Neri and Connie give Vincent permission to act. During a street festival hosted by Zasa's Italian American civil rights group, Vincent's men gun down Zasa's bodyguards. Vincent, disguised as a policeman on horseback, shoots Zasa dead. When Michael discovers this, he berates Vincent for his rashness. Michael also insists that Vincent end his relationship with Mary, because Vincent's involvement in the family's criminal enterprises puts her life in jeopardy.

The family takes a vacation to Sicily in preparation for Anthony's operatic debut in Palermo at the Teatro Massimo. They stay at the villa of Corleone family friend Don Tommasino. Michael tells Vincent to speak with Altobello and tell him that he is planning to leave the Corleone family. Altobello supports the idea of Vincent's switching his allegiance, and introduces him to Don Licio Lucchesi, a powerful Italian political figure and Immobiliare's chairman. Michael realizes that the Immobiliare deal is an elaborate conspiracy among Lucchesi, Archbishop Gilday, and Vatican accountant Frederick Keinszig to swindle him out of his money, and visits Cardinal Lamberto, the man favored to become the next Pope, to speak about the deal. Lamberto convinces Michael to make his first confession in 30 years, in which he tearfully admits to ordering Fredo's murder. Lamberto tells Michael that he deserves to suffer for his sins, but that his life could still be redeemed.

Shortly after the meeting between Vincent and Lucchesi, Altobello travels to the small village of Montelepre, where he hires Mosca, a veteran hitman, to assassinate Michael. A few days later, Mosca and his son, disguised as priests, attempt to kidnap Don Tommasino and force him to allow them entry to his villa. Tommasino refuses, and Mosca kills him. While touring Sicily with Kay, who has arrived for Anthony’s operatic debut, Michael asks for her forgiveness. As they both admit that they still love each other, Michael receives word that Tommasino is dead. At the funeral, Michael swears over his old friend's coffin to sin no more.

After the death of Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Lamberto is elected Pope John Paul I, which means that the Immobiliare deal will likely be ratified. The new Pope's intentions come as a death knell to the plot against the ratification of the Immobiliare deal, prompting frantic attempts by the plotters to cover their own tracks. Vincent tells Michael that he has learned from Altobello of Mosca's plot on his life. Michael sees that his nephew is a changed man, and makes him the new Don of the Corleone family. In exchange, Vincent agrees to put an end to his relationship with Mary.

The family travels to Palermo to see Anthony perform the lead in Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana, a tale of murderous revenge in a Sicilian setting. Meanwhile, Vincent exacts his own revenge:

Keinszig is abducted by Vincent's men, who smother him with a pillow and hang him from a bridge to make his death look like a suicide. Don Altobello, also attending the opera, eats poisoned cannoli that his goddaughter Connie gives him. He dies as Connie watches from her opera box. Al Neri travels to the Vatican, where he shoots Archbishop Gilday. Finally, Calò (Tommasino's former bodyguard) meets with Don Lucchesi at his office, claiming to bear a message from Michael. As he pretends to whisper the message to Lucchesi, Calò stabs him in the jugular vein with his own glasses. The killings are too late to save the Pope, however. Just hours after he approves the Immobiliare deal, the Pope drinks poisoned tea provided to him by Archbishop Gilday and soon dies in his bed.

Mosca, still disguised as a priest and armed with a sniper rifle, descends upon the opera house during Anthony's performance, eliminating three of Vincent's men but is unable to shoot Michael from a box before the opera ends. The assassin retreats to the opera house façade's staircase and tries to kill Michael there. At the same moment, Mary confronts her father about the forced break-up with Vincent. Mosca fires twice, wounding Michael and accidentally killing Mary. Vincent then shoots him dead. As Kay and Connie weep, Michael cradles Mary's body in his arms and screams in agony.

The scene dissolves to a short montage of Michael's memories of all the women he has lost, composed of scenes with Mary, Kay, and Apollonia.

The film ends with Michael, an old man, sitting in the garden of Don Tommasino's Sicilian villa as he eats an orange, a symbol in the Godfather trilogy of coming death. He slumps over in his chair, falls sideways to the ground, and dies alone, with only his dog present.


  • Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
  • Andy García as Vincent Corleone
  • Diane Keaton as Kay Adams-Corleone
  • Talia Shire as Connie Corleone
  • Sofia Coppola as Mary Corleone
  • Eli Wallach as Don Altobello
  • George Hamilton as B. J. Harrison
  • Joe Mantegna as Joey Zasa
  • Richard Bright as Al Neri
  • Bridget Fonda as Grace Hamilton
  • Raf Vallone as Cardinal Lamberto
  • Franc D'Ambrosio as Anthony Corleone
  • Donal Donnelly as Archbishop Gilday
  • Helmut Berger as Frederick Keinszig
  • Don Novello as Dominic Abbandando
  • John Savage as Father Andrew Hagen
  • Mario Donatone as Mosca
  • Vittorio Duse as Don Tommasino
  • Enzo Robutti as Don Licio Lucchesi
  • Al Martino as Johnny Fontane
  • Jessica DiCicco as Child

External links

The Godfather films

The GodfatherThe Godfather Part IIThe Godfather Part III

Al Pacino films
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