While the first two The Godfather films are as perfect as films can be, a cut of the movies put together was made. It has long been unavailable, but thanks to HBO, we can finally see it again.
HBO began airing The Godfather Epic, a 424-cut of The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974) put together, on Jan. 17. If you missed it, HBO has more airings scheduled on HBO2, HBO Zone and HBO Signature. The cut is also available on HBO Now, HBO Go and On Demand for HBO subscribers.
This cut - which previously aired on television with commercials - puts the films in chronological order, so it begins with the young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) sequences from Part II before we meet the elder Don Corleone (Marlon Brando). There is also a lot more footage from the young Vito’s days, as writer/director Francis Ford Coppola had to make cuts just to keep Part II at 202 minutes long.
All of the extra footage is available on DVD and Blu-ray sets of The Godfather trilogy, but this version has never been released on either format. And the super-long cut that includes The Godfather Part III has also never been released on DVD or Blu-ray.
It is strongly recommended that anyone new to The Godfather films see the first film and Part II as individual films before seeing this cut. Part II is structured as a film that juxtaposes the rise of the Corleones with their downfall, so you completely lose that theme if you see it in chronological order.