Francis Ford Coppola described his vision of the Mario Puzo novel The Godfather as 'the story of a great king with three sons. The oldest was given his passion and aggression; the second, his sweet nature and childlike qualities; and the third, his cunning and coolness'. He went on to create a series of movies that were to capture the hearts and minds of cinema-goers around the world. Indeed, no other director has been so caught up with and measured by one project. The Godfather (1972) was Coppola's baby: he's never let go of it and it has never let go of him. Not only did he make a third instalment in 1990, he also went on, in 1992, to re-edit the first and second films into one more chronologically concise trilogy. Now, after much anticipation, he has come to the DVD transfer (released October 9). Fans will not be disappointed. Coppola, given free rein by Paramount, has done a superb job of presenting these movies at their home-cinema best. Each film in the trilogy has been painstakingly restored with the latest technology. The results are astounding; from the opening of the first film, in which we are introduced to Don Corleone, to the end of the final movie, in which his son, Michael, is replaced as head of the family, the footage has an ice-cool clarity. Furthermore, there is a bonus disc with three hours of extra material to explain and flesh out the story, including a 73-minute documentary on the films, and Coppola's directing 'notebooks'. And what a tale it is. Through the three films we are immersed in a world of power plays and politics. Marlon Brando, who got the part of Don Corleone by rubbing shoe polish into his hair and stuffing cotton wool into his mouth for effect at audition, gave one of the great screen performances in the first movie. Here is a powerful man, in the autumn of his years, presiding over a fractured family and worrying over the future of his three sons: the hotheaded Sonny (James Cann); the weak-minded Fredo (John Cazale); and the ruthless Michael (Al Pacino). As he takes a back seat, Michael, with deadly cold-heartedness, takes control of the family business and destroys his enemies. By the third film he has become so detached from everything his father was and everything he aspired to be that he hardly recognises himself. And it is Michael's character upon which these films revolve. Despite stunning performances from Oscar-winners Brando and Robert De Niro (playing the young Don Corleone in the second movie), Pacino's performances carry these films. Through his awesome characterisation, Coppola was able to paint Michael's plight as an allegory for America; from arrogance and youth to murder and paranoia, he describes a man and a country on the slide into a brutal heart of darkness. Marlon Brando as Don Corleone in mourning for his first-born, Sonny (James Caan).