How Not to Watch The Godfather Trilogy

“Psssttt… this trilogy is really, really long.” | Paramount

It took my son and me three years to get through The Godfather trilogy. I’m not even sure why, because as everyone knows, it’s one of THE classic trilogies that everyone should watch. And a darn good primer on how to run a Mafia business.

Some people suggest just watching Part 1 and Part 2, and then skipping Part 3. But if you’re going to commit to watching any of it, you should definitely watch the entire trilogy. It’s Francis Ford Coppola, after all. It’s Mario Puzo, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton. The Corleones. You can’t just watch part of this story. That would be a travesty.

Which is why my son and I were entirely committed to watching the whole thing. Start to finish. Don Vito to Michael to Sonny to Vincent. Sicily’s Old Country to pre-revolutionary Cuba to New York City.

The Godfather, Al PacinoBut it’s a big commitment if you’re going to watch the legendary crime family rough up their enemies through several generations. We’re talking 537 minutes total, which translates to nearly nine hours of viewing time. That’s why it took us three years.

The conversation would go something like this:

Him: “Hey, let’s finish watching The Godfather. Where are we?”

Me: “Hmmm … I think we’re at Part 2, aren’t we?”

Him: “No, we watched Part 2 last year. We still need to watch Part 3.”

Me: “What happened at the end of Part 2?”

Him: “The boat scene, Mom. You know, Fredo swims with the fishes in Tahoe.”

Me: “Oh, right. We should go back and watch that scene again. So when do you want to watch Part 3?”

Him: “I dunno. It’s two and a half hours long, so maybe sometime this weekend.”

And then the weeks would go by and suddenly it’s been a year. The Godfather Project went on so long that after we finally watched Part 3, I couldn’t remember watching it months later. It’s like some sort of Godfather Dementia or something.

Anyway, we did finally get through it, and I’ve gotta tell you, that is one heck of a story. You should watch it.

Don’t do like we did, though. Don’t take three years to get through it. Just clear a whole day and do a marathon session. Order in some cannolis and make a day of it.

I recommend The Godfather Collection (The Coppola Restoration) [Blu-ray], a gorgeous restoration with tons of bonus features.


2 responses to “How Not to Watch The Godfather Trilogy”

  1. Bobbi Dempsey Avatar

    Jane, I always suggest watching the Godfather Novella, which is the first two installments arranged in chronological order – that makes it easier to keep all of the storylines and characters straight. (I’m of the camp that likes to pretend Godfather 3 doesn’t exist, so I don’t mind that it isn’t included.)

  2. Jane Boursaw Avatar

    Oh great idea, Bobbi. Thanks for the tip. So… they’re arranged the scenes in chronological order? Interesting! I wonder what Coppola thought about it – he must have given his permission, right? I don’t see it on Amazon, but will look for it. 

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