Vital Signs

Returns

The Godfather Part III
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Mario Puzo and Mr. Coppola
Directed by Mr. Coppola
Released by Paramount Pictures

Awakenings
Produced by Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker
Written by Steven Zaillian
Directed by Penny Marshall
Released by Columbia Pictures

Alice
Produced by Robert Greenhut
Written and directed by Woody Allen
Released by Orion Pictures

The return of Francis Ford Coppola to the Godfather epic was clearly the movie event of 1990. The first two parts of the Godfather series had both won Oscars (Best Picture), and there was so much pressure—or skepticism—about the likelihood of a third film maintaining their extraordinarily high level that the critics wound up being kindly in their treatment. In a bizarre way, Coppola had become an underdog for whom it was impossible not to root. There was also the possibility that innocent movie-going was still alive and that some of these critics, remembering the earlier pictures and their easy zest, just wanted to have a good time.

Coppola seems to have understood this and exploited it. Godfather Part III is frankly nostalgic, full of references and clips of the earlier movies, which are not mere embellishments but...

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