It’s only right for one of cinema’s defining works to celebrate its 50th anniversary in the biggest way possible, and that’s exactly what Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award-winning masterwork, “The Godfather,” is doing.
In honor of the film’s half-century celebration, Paramount Pictures is releasing all three films in “The Godfather” trilogy on 4K Ultra HD for the first time ever. The first film will also be returning to theaters for a limited run.
For film fans, the debut of “The Godfather” on 4K is reason enough to instantly purchase the new collection, but hearing of the meticulous work that went into this latest restoration will only further validate that decision.
The films have not undergone a restoration since 2007, and it’s safe to say things in the world of home cinema have advanced greatly since then, and Coppola made sure that his defining work was once again the very best.
The restoration process, which was completely overseen by Coppola, produced some whopping statistics that show the immaculate detail that went into this transformation. Over 300 cartons of film were scrutinized to find the best possible resolution for every frame of all three films, over 4,000 hours were spent repairing film stains, tears, and other anomalies in the negatives, and over 1,000 hours were spent on rigorous color correction to ensure the high dynamic range tools were respectful of the original vision of Coppola and cinematographer Gordon Willis. In addition to the 5.1 audio approved by Walter Murch in 2007, the original mono tracks on “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part II” have been restored.
Those details, and the films themself, are reason enough to add the 4K Ultra HD release to your collection, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The new release also comes loaded with bonus features – both new and previously released. The legacy material is extensive with behind the scenes looks, deleted scenes, short films and more, but the new material dives into the restoration process and features new extras from the filmmakers.
NEW Special Features on 4K Ultra HD and Digital
- Introduction to “The Godfather” by Francis Ford Coppola
- Full Circle: Preserving “The Godfather” – Paramount Pictures archivists detail the incredible restoration process with archival footage showing the evolution of the film through various home entertainment incarnations as picture and audio technologies make quantum leaps over the decades.
- Capturing the Corleones: Through the Lens of Photographer Steve Schapiro – In this reflective and frank discussion, special photographer Steve Schapiro shares his unique perspective and cherished memories as a witness to the making of this seminal film. Commentary on curated archival images makes for a fascinating, never-before-seen addition to the production’s history.
- “The Godfather”: Home Movies – An assortment of 8mm home movie footage shot in 1971 offers a candid glimpse into the production of “The Godfather.” Shot on location at the Norton family estate on Staten Island’s Emerson Hill, this is the first time it’s been made available to the public.
- Restoration Comparisons— Before and after highlights showcase extensive picture quality improvements to “The Godfather.”
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.