Francis Ford Coppola did not intend to make The Godfather movie sequels. While Coppola's film was a massive critical and award-winning success, the director never intended for the film to be serialized. The latter installments, released in 1974 and 1990 changed what Coppola had intended.
The Godfather is a critically acclaimed film that won best picture in 1973. To this day, it is considered a classic film and a masterpiece in filmmaking. It's also one of Coppola's best-known projects. The two films that followed were unique in their own way. The Godfather: Part II split the story between past and present, and it showed audiences the story of a young Vito Corleone side-by-side with his son, Michael. The third installment saw Michael nearing the end of his life, but it wasn't as well received by critics as much as its predecessors were.
In an interview with Film Comment, Coppola confessed that he actually never intended to create sequels to his seminal film. The director was asked about how a pivotal moment in the third installment, when Michael's daughter (played by Coppola's own daughter, Sofia) dies, relates to his own personal tragedy, Coppola began his answer by discussing his feelings on the third and second Godfather films.
"Well that movie [stabs the air for emphasis] . . . I never wanted to make a third Godfather. I never wanted to make a second Godfather. I didn’t think The Godfather was a serial-type story. To me the first Godfather was the Godfather, and everything else is greed."
There was a gap of time between the first two Godfather films and the third installment. To this end, Coppola addresses the lapse in time, saying, "The third Godfather happened so late. It helped put me over the top getting out of my financial hole and getting my career started again." Since The Godfather trilogy, Coppola has focused his efforts on a wide range of projects. He has even worked with his daughter, Sofia Coppola, as a executive producer on her films: Lost In Translation, Marie Antoinette, and Somewhere.
Coppola's Godfather trilogy has retained success over the years. The first two films are still widely praised, but it remains that the director's intention was never to make the films that followed the 1972 original. Since the time following the final film's release, the first two films have stood the test of time, while the third seems to have been forgotten. The Godfather: Part II follows two stories, one from the past and one in the present. Even this decision can tell fans that the director was looking for a way to keep the story interesting while still maintaining some semblance of the original.
And the gap in time between the second and third installments ultimately makes it even more clear for fans of Coppola that the director never really intended to follow through with more than one movie. Even when his career is discussed, The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II are held in high regard with critical acclaim and lasting influence.
Source: Film Comment