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  • Breakthrough Hit: Because of the original, you know who Francis Ford Coppola is.
  • Dawson Casting: An unusual 'reverse Dawson' - by the third film Mary Corleone should be in her mid to late twenties (she is about 5 in Part II which is 21 years before the start of Part III) but Sophia Coppala was still a teenager when she played her.
  • Detractor Nickname: Some of the other Sicilian families refer to the Corleones as "the Irish gang" behind their backs because Don Vito gave Tom Hagen, who's of Irish descent, a high position in the family.
  • Easter Egg: In the videogame, on the mission where you help protect Vito in the hospital, if you go up to Vito's room while Michael is talking to him and listen in, the conversation is one of Marlon Brando's last recorded performances. A Marlon Brando soundalike was used for Vito's other scenes.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In the "Woltz's bedroom" scene, John Marley (who played Woltz) was not told that they would be using an actual horse head for the scene, as they had used various props in rehearsals.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • According to Coppola & Puzo, The Godfather Part III was meant to be titled The Death of Michael Corleone to highlight the fact that it did not follow on directly from Part II, but rather was meant to be "an epilogue." They were overruled, with executives saying "You can't make a Godfather movie without 'The Godfather' in the title!" This after Coppola had to demand the second film be titled The Godfather Part II instead of something else.
    • This also occurred during the first film as well. Stanley R. Jaffe, who was then Paramount's executive vice president and chief operations officer, along with producer Robert Evans, frequently fought with Coppola over creative matters during the film, from his decision to cast Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in the main roles, to his editing of the final product. It got so bad, that Coppola had to have the film's on-set physician prescribe him sleeping pills in order to combat his stress related insomnia.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • American Actor (of Anglo-Irish extraction) Marlon Brando plays Italian immigrant Vito Corleone. Jewish American actor James Caan plays his son Santino. The Jewish actor Abe Vigoda plays the Italian Sal Tessio. And in an unusual subversion of Jewish actors in Hollywood playing Italians, Italian-American actor Alex Rocco plays Jewish gangster Moe Greene.
    • Cuban American Andy Garcia plays Italian American Vincent Mancini.
    • Eli Wallach, of Jewish extraction, playing Italian Mob boss Don Altobello.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
    • Luca Brasi may sleep with the fishes, but Sal Tessio (Abe Vigoda) is Fish.
    • For the younger audiences Joey Zasa is Rossi and also Fat Tony.
  • Life Imitates Art: The real life mobsters were so flattered by the classy characterization of Brando and the Corleones in general that they started to style themselves after don Vito, invoking all kind of mannerisms old-fashioned or forgotten by then. In 2010, a real-life mob-boss was apprehended while he was playing the videogame adaptation.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Coppola's reason for making all three films. He was head of a very unprofitable film company when he was offered the first one (offered purely on the grounds that he was Italian), and thought it was a stupid genre movie that he didn't want to waste his time on... but he really needed the money. Coppola wanted to now move away from the studio and focus on his personal film projects The Conversation and Apocalypse Now, which he could get finance for... Providing he made another Godfather film. Then many years later he was struggling with debts from failed projects... people went to see my Godfather movies, didn't they? Yeah, let's make another one of those. People sometimes cite this trope as a reason the third one sucked, but it was there the whole time.
  • Playing Against Type: Michael (especially in Part Two) is a more subdued and quieter role than what Al Pacino usually plays. This, ironically, was also Pacino's first major role. It could be considered an actor-specific and positive example of Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Real Life Relative: Coppola defines The Godfather as his own family business because several of his relatives had minor acting or production-related roles in the movies. His sister Talia Shire played Connie Corleone in all three movies. His daughter Sofia was the baby being baptized at the end of Part I, and also played Mary Corleone in Part III. His son Roman played the young Sonny Corleone in Part II. Coppola's father Carmine composed part of the score.
  • Refitted for Sequel: Vito's backstory in Part II is taken from scenes left out of the original novel.
  • Sequel Gap: Part III was released in 1990, 16 years after the previous installment.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • Al Pacino (Michael), Diane Keaton (Kay), John Cazale (Fredo), who sadly didn't get much time to enjoy it due to his early death from cancer.
    • Robert DeNiro (Young Vito) in Part II.
  • Throw It In:
    • The actor playing Luca Brasi was so nervous about acting opposite Brando that he flubbed his line. Coppola liked it and kept it in, and later filmed the scene of Brasi rehearsing his line over and over to make the flub funnier.
    • Clemenza's famous "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli" was ad-libbed by Richard Castellano.
    • In the "You can act like a man!" scene, Vito suddenly jumping, shaking and slapping Johnny Fontane was an improvisation by Brando. Fontane's surprised face was unusable and is never shown, only his back.
  • Troubled Production: Paramount was not helpful to Coppola at all.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • A large list of actors were considered for the part of Vito Corleone:
      • Frank Sinatra tried very hard to be cast as Don Corleone. This would have made Vito's conversation with Johnny Fontane one of the funniest Actor Allusions ever.
      • Orson Welles lobbied heavily for the part of Don Corleone. Coppola felt so bad about turning him down that he offered him the part of Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, but for some reason or another Welles didn't take it.
      • Others considered for the Don Corleone role: Laurence Olivier, Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Quinn, George C. Scott, Edward G. Robinson, and Danny Thomas.
    • Robert Redford and Ryan O'Neal were considered for the part of Michael Corleone. Almost enforced by Executive Meddling as Coppola wanted the black-haired Mediterranean type but admitted that many Italians have blond hair and blue eyes.
    • Robert De Niro was very nearly cast as Vito's driver Paulie Gatto ("Won't see him no more") in the first film, which would have precluded him from taking his Star-Making Role in the sequel.
    • Part III was originally to be about the breakdown between Michael and Tom, however, Tom was written out when his actor, Robert Duvall, demanded to be paid the same as or marginally close to the amount that Al Pacino was getting.
    • Winona Ryder was supposed to play Mary in Part III. Rebecca Schaeffer was up for the part of Mary when she was murdered.
    • Originally Clemenza was to return in Part II but the actor made too many demands and he was replaced with Pentangeli. Given the scenes of Clemenza bonding with Michael and advising him on his first hit in the first film it would have made the events of the second even more tragic.
    • Marlon Brando was supposed to appear in the birthday party flashback at the end of Part II. But due to a dispute with Paramount he never turned up for the shoot, forcing Coppola to rewrite the scene on the spot.
    • Joe Spinell was originally supposed to reprise his role as Willi Cicci in Part III, in which he would have taken over the Corleones' New York operation, but Spinell died before production. Cicci's role in the story was replaced by new character Joey Zasa, played by Joe Mantegna.
    • Coppola wanted to make a fourth movie similar to Part II but focusing on the Corleones' rise to power under Vito and Sonny's leadership, and the fall of the Corleone empire under Vincent, but many of the actors were disinterested and it was abandoned with the death of Mario Puzo.
    • Coppola initially didn't want to direct Part II, and instead recommended a young, up-and-coming director: Martin Scorsese. Paramount rejected the idea because Scorsese was too unknown at the time.

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