A 424-minute long version of Francis Ford Coppola’s legendary crime drama series is now streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now. The re-edited cut, called The Godfather Epic, combines The Godfather and The Godfather II with cut footage from the theatrical releases, totaling over 7 hours of Godfather action.
That’s certainly plenty of time to catch up with the Corleone family, led by Vito and — later, of course — his youngest son Michael. The first film, as most will recall, details the complex tale of Vito handing over his powerful Mafia organization to his son Michael. The Godfather II — a rare mix of sequel and prequel — stands up to the original (against all odds), both delving into Michael’s expansion of the empire, as well as cleverly going back to the beginning to see father Vito rose from a kid in Sicily to a Mafia kingpin in New York City. The latter film, which received six Oscars, was the first sequel to win Best Picture.
However, there’s a big twist in this new version.
The Godfather Epic covers all of the same territory as the original movies, but it tells the story from beginning to end: from Vito’s childhood in 1902 all the way through to Michael’s ascent. This re-edited version is, understandably, controversial as it strays from the original sequence of the film that Coppola constructed.
While controversial, this latest revision isn’t the first re-edit of Coppola’s masterpiece. As reported by Indiewire, the doubled-down, chronological version was first aired on NBC in 1977 in a watered-down version the network called The Godfather: A Novel For Television. The whitewashed edition removed the sex and violence from the films to make the collection TV friendly. Luckily, the HBO revision pulls no punches — and possibly even adds a few.
HBO has actually already aired the latest experiment in Godfather lore, broadcasting the longer conglomerate version of the two films last Sunday with little fanfare to promote the event.
However, for those who missed it, there are now plenty of ways to get your 7+ hours of Godfather on. The Godfather Epic, featuring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, James Caan, and the rest of the gang, will air on January 23 on HBO. And it’s also available on HBO Now and HBO Go anytime through January 28.
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