clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Godfather returns to theaters for a 50th anniversary celebration

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. Go to the movies.

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Here’s an offer few cinephiles will be able to refuse: The Godfather, often cited as one of the greatest films of all time, will receive a limited theatrical release beginning Feb. 25, Paramount Pictures announced Thursday.

Programmed exclusively in the U.S. for Dolby Cinema at AMC Theatres (but expected to roll out across the globe in other venues), the re-release will take advantage of the recent 4K transfer supervised by writer-director Francis Ford Coppola. All three films were recently restored — with Part III even re-edited to skew closer to Coppola’s original vision — and will be released in a 4K ultra HD limited collector’s edition on March 22. Versions of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II will include both the original mono tracks and the 5.1 audio mixes approved by the legend Walter Murch in 2007.

“I am very proud of The Godfather, which certainly defined the first third of my creative life,” said Francis Ford Coppola 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.”

Starring Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, John Cazale, and many others, The Godfather originally hit theaters on March 24, 1972, and was immediately embraced as a modern classic. Even the persnickety New York Times film critic Vincent Canby was in awe of Coppola’s sprawling first chapter, writing at the time, “‘The Godfather,’ however true or false to specific facts, is as dark and ominous a reflection of certain aspects of American life as has ever been presented in a movie designed as sheer entertainment. Now, as then, when the system doesn’t work, the system will be by‐passed.”

Coppola, now 82, is still around and kicking it. Last summer, the filmmaker announced he would invest nearly $100 million into Megalopolis, a science fiction epic he’s dreamed of making for nearly two decades. But would he ever return to the Corleone family for a Godfather Part IV? While there may be loose ends that a storyteller could pick up and run with, Coppola has shot down the possibility, mostly due to working with a giant studio like Paramount.

“For me? At my age?” he told British GQ in 2012. “Being on a big, expensive movie that has a producer who’ll want to give me notes? They don’t have enough money on earth to give me to spend a year doing that.”

The original Godfather might be all we need. Fans of the saga will get their chance to see the film later this winter. For a closer look at the major anniversaries set to bow this year, read our 2022 preview.