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Classic Blu Review: The Godfather (1972) & The Godfather: Part II (1974)

The Movies

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) are considered to be two of the greatest films about organized crime ever made. They both won the Best Picture Oscar in their respective years and are both included on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies list (The Godfather is #3 and The Godfather: Part II is #32). They are also ingrained in pop culture and are frequently referenced in other films and television shows.

Set in 1945, the first film focuses on Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) — the head of a mafia family who controls the underbelly of New York. When he denies a drug dealer the right to push drugs on his streets he’s gunned down and badly hurt. His son Michael (Al Pacino), a WWII hero who wants nothing to do with the family business, is pulled in to take his place and starts a bloody mob war. The sequel tells the story of a young Vito (Robert De Niro) getting his start in Sicily during the early 1900s and also follows an older Michael trying to expand the reach of the family outside of New York during the late 1950s.

Image

The films were previously released on Blu-ray in 2008 as part of the 4-Disc Coppola Restoration Collection which also included the horrible third part (it didn’t win an Oscar so is excluded from being released as part of the Sapphire Series). The image from that restoration has not changed for these new releases so if you have that set there is no reason to upgrade. That said, if you’ve never seen The Godfather or The Godfather: Part II in 1080p high-def it is truly breathtaking. Fans of the film will be surprised at how clean it is and newcomers will be shocked at how well it’s stood the test of time. Due to the original source there are a few grainy moments but unless Coppola pulls a Lucas and re-shoots scenes this is the best quality you are ever going to see from these two films.

Sound

Both titles have an amazing 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio mix that really brings the films to life. The biggest difference I noticed was how clear the music and dialogue sounded compared to the regular DVD versions. For purists the original mono audio track is intact on both titles too. As with the video restoration these new audio tracks are the same as the 4-Disc Coppola Restoration Collection on Blu-ray.

Special Features

Sadly, Paramount has dropped the ball with these releases when it comes to special features. Besides an audio commentary track with Coppola there is nothing on these discs. With all the great material previously released on the regular DVD box set and the 4-disc Coppola Restoration Collection it would have been nice to see something else included.

Overall

If you don’t own the previous Blu-ray box set and only care about getting the best quality versions of the films these are a must own. If you’re a hardcore fan who wants the extras (and the The Godfather: Part III) pick up the 4-Disc Coppola Restoration Collection. And although the films are being released separately they do deserve to be seen together to feel the power and intensity they both have.

The Godfather Sapphire Series
Film **** out of 5 stars
Blu-ray **** out of 5 stars

The Godfather: Part II Sapphire Series
Film **** out of 5 stars
Blu-ray **** out of 5 stars

brian.mckechnie@citynews.rogers.com

Images: Marlon Brando (top) and Al Pacino (middle) in The Godfather. Courtesy Paramount Home Video.