In this essay written by Reece Crothers, we explore the reason behind the vitriol that exists for The Godfather: Part III (1990). Treated as the final part in a trilogy of equal parts, the expectations for the film are clearly out of line with what the film offers – especially when pitted against contemporary films like Goodfellas, New Jack City, State of Grace, etc. – but is that necessarily a flaw with the film? Taking Francis Ford Coppola’s intended title, The Death of Michael Corleone, as a starting point, we look at the film as a self-reflexive epilogue to the intertwined first two films. How and why does this film reflect back on the first two in such an explicit manner? Why is the Michael character so radically different in manner and appearance? Why is the film filled with references to other texts outside the Godfather universe?

This video essay is part of ISSUE FIVE of The Seventh Art.