In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, all three films in the epic trilogy have been restored under the direction of Coppola and will be made available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time on March 22. Also, Paramount Pictures will give the 1972 Best Picture Oscar winner a limited theatrical release in Dolby Vision beginning Feb. 25 exclusively in Dolby Cinema at AMC Theatres in the United States, as well as in international territories around the world.
Newly restored and remastered in Dolby Vision, all three films in the landmark trilogy will be released together with HDR10 on 4K Ultra HD Digital and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time ever. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set will include The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Coppola’s recently re-edited version of the final film, Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. The disc set includes legacy commentaries by Coppola, as well as access to digital copies of The The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II and Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone.
“I am very proud of The Godfather, which certainly defined the first third of my creative life,” Coppola said in a statement. “With this 50th anniversary tribute, I’m especially proud Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is included, as it captures Mario and my original vision in definitively concluding our epic trilogy. It’s also gratifying to celebrate this milestone with Paramount alongside the wonderful fans who’ve loved it for decades, younger generations who still find it relevant today, and those who will discover it for the first time.”
Coppola’s film adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone family. In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the first film’s original release on March 24, 1972, Paramount and Coppola’s production company American Zoetrope undertook a painstaking restoration of all three films over the course of three years, using technology that has advanced dramatically since 2007 when the last restoration was completed by eminent film historian and preservationist Robert Harris, according to Paramount. Using that work as a blueprint, the team spent thousands of hours to ensure that every frame was evaluated to create the most pristine presentation while remaining true to the original look and feel of the films, according to the studio.
The effort included the following:
- More than 300 cartons of film were scrutinized to find the best possible resolution for every frame of all three films.
- More than 4,000 hours were spent repairing film stains, tears and other anomalies in the negatives.
- More than 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.
- All work was overseen by Coppola.
“We felt privileged to restore these films and a little in awe every day we worked on them,” Andrea Kalas, SVP of Paramount Archives, said in a statement. “We were able to witness first-hand how the brilliant cinematography, score, production design, costume design, editing, performances, and, of course, screenwriting and direction became famously more than the sum of their parts. It was our commitment to honor all of the filmmakers’ exceptional work.”
In addition to the widely available 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set, a 4K Ultra HD Limited Collector’s Edition will also be released in deluxe packaging and include a hardcover coffee table book featuring photographs, as well as portrait art prints on archival paper. Both 4K Ultra HD sets include new bonus content including an introduction to The Godfather by Coppola, a featurette about the preservation process, photos by acclaimed photographer Steve Schapiro, home movie footage and comparisons of the new restoration to earlier versions of the films.
Newly restored and remastered versions of The Godfather, The Godfather Part II and Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone will also be available together on Blu-ray with access to digital copies and the new and legacy bonus content.