The Godfather trilogy has a huge cast full of some of the best performances, but only four of the hundreds of actors have been in all three movies.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy is one of the most celebrated movie series, and part of what makes it great is its cast of actors. The original 1972 movie follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) as he ultimately becomes the head of the Corleone mafia family after the death of his father. The Godfather Part II, released two years later, follows Michael becoming more power-hungry and relentlessly evil than anyone could have imagined. Finally, 1990’s The Godfather Part III depicts Michael as a more regretful mobster, attempting to legitimize the family business and redeem himself for his past crimes.


The series has received several accolades, including a ton of acting nominations and awards. and The Godfather Part II was the first sequel to win Best Picture. Given that the epic period crime series spans decades, the trilogy features over a hundred different characters, and even the smallest roles are unforgettable. However, even despite the franchise featuring tons of murders and deaths, a shockingly small number of actors with speaking parts were in all three movies. Excluding John Cazale, who posthumously appears in The Godfather Part III in a flashback, these four actors remained tentpoles of the franchise.

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Al Pacino

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone The Godfather

The Godfather trilogy is about the rise and fall of Michael Corleone, so it comes as no surprise that Al Pacino starred in every part of the series. However, while he played Michael in every Godfather movie, he plays a very different version of the character in each installment and perfectly depicts the character becoming corrupted. While many different actors almost played Michael, including Martin Sheen and Dustin Hoffman, few actors could have portrayed the many different sides of the character. Michael goes from being a war hero wanting revenge for his father’s death to become a merciless, evil mobster to a repentant and friendless old man who dies alone.

Diane Keaton

Kay confronts MIchael in The Godfather Part II

Diane Keaton plays Kay Adams-Corleone, who is naive and in disbelief at how criminal Michael’s family is in The Godfather. When he returns from Sicily, Michael marries Kay, though it seems one-sided and as if she is unwilling, and what follows is a life full of sorrow and suffering. Kay confronts Michael about how he’s changed in The Godfather Part II, which results in him assaulting her, but she sort of forgives him in The Godfather Part III. Though Keaton didn’t initially like The Godfather Part III, she brilliantly plays a mob wife that goes against the typical tropes, as Kay never once hypocritically enjoys what Michael’s profession affords her.

Talia Shire

Connie argues with Michael in The Godfather

Connie Corleone is played by Talia Shire, the sister of Francis Ford Coppola, in all three Godfather movies. The actress perfectly captures how unhinged Connie is and what it is that made her that way. From being treated terribly by her former husband to being ignored by her family, Connie acting out and becoming an absent mother is the most realistic character arc in the series. And while nepotism runs through Hollywood, especially with Coppola, as he also cast his daughter, Sofia Coppola, as Mary Corleone and almost cast his nephew, Nicolas Cage, as Vincent in The Godfather Part III, it’s hard to see anyone in the role but Shire.

Richard Bright

Al Neri in The Godfather Part II

Even though Richard Bright has a relatively small role in the Godfather trilogy, he still appears in all three movies, and he’s the only supporting actor to do so. Al Neri is one of the very few mobsters who doesn’t betray Michael in The Godfather, so it’s hardly surprising that he’s the only character on the business side of the family who survives to the end. Al is Michael Corleone’s personal enforcer, and he assassinates a lot of characters who Michael turns into targets, including Michael’s brother, Fredo, in The Godfather Part II. And in The Godfather Part III, he replaces Fredo as Michael’s underboss.

MORE: The Godfather – Every Mobster Who Betrayed Michael Corleone

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