The Godfather: Part 3 (1990)


The Godfather Part III is a 1990 American gangster film written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, who directed. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire. The movie 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. 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. However, Paramount Pictures would not accept that title. Coppola states that The Godfather series is in fact two films, and Part III is the epilogue. Part III has received mixed reviews and receptions, but nevertheless grossed $136,766,062 and was nominated for seven Academy Awards.


Michael Corleone is nearing 60 and wracked with guilt for his ruthless rise to power, including 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 former enforcer Joey Zasa. Michael and Kay have been divorced since 1959, and Michael gave her custody of their children, Anthony and Mary. He has since returned to New York City, where he is using his tremendous wealth and power to restore his reputation via numerous acts of charity. In an attempt to break with the past, Michael creates a charity, the Vito Corleone Foundation. 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, Michael and Kay have an uneasy reunion. 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. Michael eventually acquiesces to Anthony's wishes. Meanwhile, 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. In Michael's study, a discussion between the two men erupts into a fight, in which Vincent bites Zasa in the ear. Michael scolds Vincent for losing his temper, but ultimately agrees to take Vincent under his wing. That night, as Vincent has a one-night stand with a journalist he met at the party, two men break in and try to kill him. Vincent quickly gains the upper hand, and learns that Zasa is the one who sent them. Meanwhile, Michael busies himself with the biggest deal of his career: he has recently bought up enough stock in Immobiliare, an international real estate holding company known as "the world's biggest landlord", to control six of the 13 members of the company's board of directors. He now makes a tender offer to buy the Vatican's 25% interest in the company, which will give him majority control. Knowing that Archbishop Gilday, who serves as head of the Vatican Bank, has run up a massive deficit, he offers to pay $600,000,000 to the Bank in exchange for the shares. 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. 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 follows close behind.. Minutes later, a helicopter hovers outside the conference room and sprays it with submachine 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, Michael is told that those mob bosses who escaped the massacre quickly made deals with Zasa, and realizes that Altobello supported Zasa in carrying out the hit. 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. As Michael recuperates in the hospital, Vincent begins a romantic relationship with Mary, and also 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 and Zasa himself. 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 dealings puts her life in jeopardy. The family takes a vacation to Sicily in preparation for Anthony's operatic debut in Palermo. They stay at the villa of Corleone family friend Don Tommasino. Michael tells Vincent to speak with Altobello and falsely tell him that he is planning to leave the Corleone family. Altobello supports the idea of Vincent switching his allegiance, and introduces him to Don Licio Lucchesi, a powerful Italian political figure. Michael realizes that the Immobiliare deal was a conspiracy by 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. 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 Lupe, disguised as priests, make their move, attempting to hijack Don Tommasino and force him to allow them entry to his villa. Tommasino refuses, and Mosca kills him. 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. 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. Vincent wants to strike back, but Michael cautions him. Vincent, however insists on revenge, and Michael relents, making Vincent 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". Meanwhile, Vincent exacts his revenge: Frederick 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 a silent death as Connie watches sadly from her box. Al Neri travels to the Vatican, where he shoots Archbishop Gilday. Finally, Calo (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, Calo stabs him in the throat with his own glasses. The killings are too late to save the Pope, however. Even as Michael and Vincent's men wipe out the plotters, 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, killing three of Vincent's men and preparing to shoot his target from a box, but the opera ends before he has the chance to pull the trigger. The assassin retreats to the opera house façade's staircase and tries to shoot Michael there. At the same moment, Mary is confronting her father about the forced break-up with Vincent. Mosca fires his handgun twice, one bullet wounding Michael and the other accidentally killing Mary. As Mosca is wrestled to the ground by a group of real priests, Vincent kills him with a single shot. Michael cradles Mary's body in his arms and screams in agony. The scene dissolves to a short montage of Michael's memories, composed of scenes with Mary, Kay and his first wife, Apollonia. The film ends with Michael as an old man, seated alone in the front yard of his Sicilian villa. He slumps over in his chair, collapses to the ground, and dies.