Paramount Pictures is marking the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award-winning The Godfather with a 4K UHD Home Entertainment release of the whole trilogy from 21st March and a limited cinema release of the original film from 25th February.
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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.
Over 300 cartons of film were scrutinized to find the best possible resolution for every frame of all three films and over 4,000 hours were spent repairing film stains, tears, and other anomalies in the negatives. Additionally, 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.
“I am very proud of The Godfather, which certainly defined the first third of my creative life,” said Francis Ford Coppola.
“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.”
“We felt privileged to restore these films and a little in awe every day we worked on them,” said Andrea Kalas, senior vice president, Paramount Archives.
“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.”
New bonus content will be included as well as ‘legacy’ content from previous releases. New content includes:
- 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.