The Godfather: A Novel for Television: The Godfather Epic
January 12, 2016 11:16 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

In 1977, Francis Ford Coppola had his editor Barry Malkin make a seven-hour version of The Godfather for NBC television, he needed money to continue work on Apocalypse Now. The Godfather Saga was a chronological compilation edit that combines The Godfather, The Godfather Part II and numerous extra scenes into one film. It originally aired on NBC over four consecutive nights. Due to network constraints, much of the violence had been toned down, and commercial breaks added.

The Godfather Epic is the version with the commercial breaks removed and the violence that had been removed restored.

According to the HBO web site:

Francis Ford Coppola's legendary gangster epic "The Godfather" and its Oscar winning sequel "The Godfather II" are edited into this single film--told chronologically and with added footage that was cut from the original films. Beginning in 1902, the film reveals the compelling saga of the Corleone family--led by patriarch Vito (Marlon Brando) and later his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino)--from its Sicilian beginnings to its rise as the most powerful crime family in America. 424 minutes

The Godfather Epic premiers Sunday, January 17 at 5:00pm, on demand 1/18/16
posted by Marky (8 comments total)
I saw this on VHS back in the day. I thought I was sitting down to watch just "The Godather" and knew it was long but it just... kept... going. So it was accidentally my first exposure to the series. I didn't know it was coming back.. cool!
posted by starman at 4:25 PM on January 12, 2016

I watched The Godfather Saga with a friend in college. He had never seen The Godfather; I grew up with it, and the Saga was the only version we could find on VHS.

What I remember about it was how much it doesn't work. How much is lost by the lack of juxtaposition of the early scenes and the late scenes from Part II. It was like, "hold these themes and ideas and images in your head, then watch one of the best feature films ever made, then watch this next set of themes and ideas and images and compare them to the first set."
posted by gauche at 6:52 AM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I've always considered this a really perverse re-edit, since it eliminates the really special and distinguishing feature that made The Godfather Part II arguably more compelling than the first film — the sophisticated narrative cross-cutting. This version exists because money and nothing else. But it is kind of neat that HBO is bringing it back in case people want to check it out.
posted by Mothlight at 7:38 AM on January 13, 2016

I saw this when it was shown on broadcast TV on a 13" B&W so it didn't seem all that epic at the time. I'll be interested in seeing this version on HBO (all seven hours of it).
posted by octothorpe at 8:03 AM on January 13, 2016

Did they add The Godfather Part 3 to the end of it as well? The promo image seems to have Old Pacino on it, so...
posted by wabbittwax at 9:01 AM on January 13, 2016

Obligatory "What Part III?" comment.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:04 PM on January 13, 2016

That's from a couple of scenes of "Devils Advocate" they decided to Lucas in.
posted by rhizome at 9:29 PM on January 14, 2016

If you're interested in The Godfather, I must recommend Coppola's commentary tracks.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:02 AM on January 23, 2016

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