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Section Header
The Godfather Part III
Composed, Arranged, and Conducted by:
Carmine Coppola

Additional Pre-Existing Music by:
Nino Rota
Pietro Mascagni

Produced by:
Francis Ford Coppola

CBS/Columbia Records

Release Date:
December 18th, 1990

Also See:
The Godfather
The Godfather Part II

Audio Clips:
5. The Immigrant (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

8. Vincent's Theme (0:32):
WMA (211K)  MP3 (269K)
Real Audio (189K)

9. Altobello (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

10. The Godfather Intermezzo (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Regular U.S. release.

  The song "Promise Me You'll Remember" was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. The score was also nominated for a Golden Globe.

The Godfather Part III
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Buy it... if you are primarily in search of the vocalized portions of this soundtrack, including the Harry Connick, Jr. song or the extensive excerpts from the opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" that dominate half of its only album.

Avoid it... if you expect any part of Carmine Coppola's original score to compete with the far more effective and compelling thematic continuity that Nino Rota provided for the first two films.

The Godfather Part III: (Carmine Coppola/Nino Rota) An offer from Paramount to director Francis Ford Coppola in regards to a third film in the famed The Godfather franchise had long been standing, and reportedly due to financial difficulties, he eventually agreed to make what he termed the "epilogue" to the first two films in 1990. Completing the story of mafia king Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part III extended the story of the Corleone family from the late 1970's through the 1990's, culminating in Michael's victory over his remaining enemies in the 1980's and his eventual, lonely death more than a decade later. The structure of the third film followed the same tragic formula as the previous two, ending in not only a series of assassinations seen executed simultaneously on screen, but also in the cold death of a close member of the family. Response to The Godfather Part III was nowhere near that of the previous two films, with significant casting problems (mostly involving Sofia Coppola as Michael's daughter and the absence of Robert Duvall's important character due to the actor's salary demands), a rushed script with connections to contemporary events (related to the Pope) too ambitious to cover, and a soundtrack that didn't continue the standard of compelling thematic impact established by Nino Rota in the early 1970's. Rota had long been dead by the time production on The Godfather Part III began, though the director's father, Carmine Coppola, who had arranged all of the original source material for the first two films and conducted the entirety of the second, was hired once again to adapt Rota's themes and provide a few fresh identities for new characters. The absence of Rota's sensibilities was clearly felt in The Godfather Part III, which diminished the role of the original score and forced source-like material and the opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" by Pietro Mascagni (seen performed at the famous Teatro Massimo in Palermo during the entirety of the film's climax) into roles as the centerpieces. This fact also led to Coppola's score being quite short in length and thus not able to really develop any of the existing or new ideas to any convincing degree. The result is a film for which the music was quite memorable, but for which the score was almost completely forgettable.

After nearly two decades, it was refreshing to hear some of Rota's material in this context once again, but the adaptations of those themes by Coppola are pedestrian at best. He concentrates most frequently on the "Godfather Waltz," a piece that was somewhat marginalized (along with the original love theme) in The Godfather Part II. The secondary phrase of this theme (famously heard on trumpet at the outset) occupies "Main Title" and is integrated into other thematic explorations in "Altobello" and "The Godfather Intermezzo." The actual waltz is performed on its own in concert-like arrangements in two different "The Godfather Waltz" variants (the first barely audible at the start and the latter utilizing the familiar accordion, mandolin, and the likes) and in extended form on solo violin in "Coda: The Godfather Finale." The love theme is, at least in the major cues, lost completely. The theme for Michael, which had slowly taken over the personality of the first two scores, is referenced a few times, including "Michael's Letter" and as an appropriate conclusion to "Vincent's Theme." The melancholy theme for Kay finds no redemption here, relegated to fragmentary positions such as the fleeting, secondary phrase heard at the end of "Michael's Letter" and slight references in "Altobello." The powerful immigrant theme for Vito Corleone is given one blatantly token performance in "The Immigrant & Love Theme from The Godfather Part III," though it prematurely dies in unsatisfactory fashion within thirty seconds. One of Coppola's two new themes debuts in that track, and it is this idea that accompanies Mary Corleone on her whimsical but doomed association with Michael's illegitimate nephew, Vincent. He receives his own theme, a somewhat morbid cello identity in "Vincent's Theme" that doesn't at all address the character's ambition. It is this intangible failure that causes Coppola's score to be mediocre at best, relying on Rota's material to scratch out even an average rating. The theme for Mary and Vincent's somewhat sick and tragic love affair especially flourishes in "The Godfather Intermezzo," where it is quite lovely in an awkwardly airy atmosphere, but this theme accesses a set of classical structures that address neither the character's Italian roots or her American culture, thus becoming a pretty idea with no real purpose. As a musical orphan in tone, it lacks any punch.

Coppola's new love theme for The Godfather Part III is adapted into the vintage jazz piece "Promise Me You'll Remember," performed by Harry Connick, Jr. and arranged by Lennie Niehaus in such a way to badly reinforce the disconnect between the setting of the film and its musical personality. The absolutely limp nature of Vincent's theme is the other crucial mistake, for his forceful entry via rogue behavior into the trust of Michael is provided neither a conniving or brutal representation. It also suffers from the lack of a modern identity; if any character in this overarching story was to receive a contemporary brass or electronic instrumental performance, Vincent would be it. The absence of the original love theme as a part of this next generation of Corleones is a disappointment, especially with the lengths to which Rota had adapted the theme into the immigrant idea. Rota had so beautifully wrapped up his thematic material in the funeral scene for Vito's widow in the second film that everything thereafter by Coppola seems token (then again, many viewers say that about the entire production). With the exception of one notable cue, Coppola fails to develop or reinterpret Rota's material in any context other than its original concert form. That exception is "Altobello," a breath of fresh air that not only merges the traditional instrumentation with a hint of brass muscle, but also overlays the trumpet figure of the title theme with Michael's frightening theme and the descending woodwind phrase representing fear in Kay's theme. This one cue is the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing score. Coppola wins points by ensuring that Rota's musical identity for the franchise endures, but he does so in lazy methodology and fails to generate new themes of convincing character. Most casual listeners will seek the album for the 24 minutes of performances from the opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" that dominate the product's second half. Only about 20 to 25 minutes of score material exist on that album, about half of it concentrating on regurgitated performances that don't always ensure superior sound quality compared to the 1970's recordings. Coppola was never the less nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar for the song based on his love theme, and his Golden Globe score nomination was likely due to sentimentality about Rota. Like the score, the film won practically nothing, shut completely out of the Oscars despite seven overall nominations. Echoes of the past greatness will satisfy some, but even those echoes are faint in the final chapter of this otherwise solid franchise. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.81 Stars
Smart Average: 2.89 Stars*
***** 12 
**** 21 
*** 29 
** 23 
* 21 
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    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   The Godfather Part III Formula
  Bruno Costa -- 12/5/10 (4:54 a.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 54:17

• 1. Main Title* (0:42)
• 2. The Godfather Waltz* (1:10)
• 3. Marcia Religioso** (2:51)
• 4. Michael's Letter* (1:08)
• 5. The Immigrant*/Love Theme from The Godfather Part III** (2:37)
• 6. The Godfather Waltz* (1:24)
• 7. To Each His Own - performed by Al Martino (3:21)
• 8. Vincent's Theme**/* (1:49)
• 9. Altobello*/** (2:09)
• 10. The Godfather Intermezzo**/* (3:23)
• 11. Sicilian Medley: Va Pensiero/Danza Trantella/Mazurka (Alla Siciliana)** (2:11)
• 12. Promise Me You'll Remember** - performed by Harry Connick, Jr. (5:12)
• 13. Preludio & Siciliana*** (8:15)
• 14. A Casa Amiche*** (2:00)
• 15. Preghiera*** (5:30)
• 16. Finale*** (8:13)
• 17. Coda: The Godfather Finale* (2:28)

* composed by Nino Rota
** composed by Carmine Coppola
*** from the opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" by Pietro Mascagni

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Godfather Part III are Copyright © 1990, CBS/Columbia Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 10/5/09 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2009-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.