Francis Ford Coppola says criticism of daughter Sofia’s ‘Godfather III’ performance “hurt her terribly”

"I felt that I did this to her"

Francis Ford Coppola has spoken out about the criticism his daughter Sofia faced for her performance in The Godfather: Part III.

Released in 1990, critics were not kind to the director’s third instalment in the legendary mafia franchise, which featured a turn from a 19-year-old Sofia Coppola.

Winona Ryder had originally been cast in the role of Michael Corleone’s daughter, Mary, but the character was ultimately played by Sofia – now a highly regarded filmmaker in her own right, having directed award-winning movies including The Virgin Suicides (1999) and Lost In Translation (2003).


Speaking to Vulture about the decision, Francis said: “I asked her to come in, and she tested for it. She didn’t particularly want to do it. She was in school, but she did it. I felt that I did this to her.

“Of course, Sofia went on to have a wonderful career of her own, but it must have hurt her terribly to be told, ‘You ruined your father’s picture,’ when in fact, she hadn’t – in my opinion. At any rate, the whole subject of The Godfather III was painful for me.”

The Godfather Coda
Michael Corleone’s last dance first came out in 1990. Credit: Paramount

Francis added that he felt the main problem with the film was that “the story wasn’t clear or really interesting”.

Last week (December 4) Paramount suggested that there could still be room for a fourth Godfather film.

In a statement following the release of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death Of Michael Corleone, the studio left the door open.


Francis Ford Coppola would not be involved, however, after he confirmed he was “done with” the series.

“Me and The Godfather are done now,” he told The Guardian. “I feel that I’ve made my trilogy. I have other fish to fry.”