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The Godfather: Part II
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
Francis Ford Coppola
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams Michelson
Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
Michael V. Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli
G.D. Spradlin as Senator Pat Geary
Richard Bright as Al Neri
Gastone Moschin as Don Fanucci
Tom Rosqui as Rocco Lampone
Bruno Kirby as Young Peter Clemenza
Frank Sivero as Genco Abbandando
Storyline: The continuing saga of the Corleone crime family tells the story of a young Vito Corleone growing up in Sicily and in 1910s New York; and follows Michael Corleone in the 1950s as he attempts to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Hollywood and Cuba.
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The Continuing Saga Of The Corleones
Although most movie sequels never equal the original this is certainly not the case of The Godfather: Part II. Many would argue it surpasses the original. With both films declared the Best Picture by the Motion Picture Academy in their separate years, I'd hate to argue the difference.

In this case we should thank the executives at Paramount for retaining both director Francis Ford Coppola and the original The Godfather author Mario Puzo to put their talents to this film. I'd hate to think what would have happened in other hands. Certainly these two men knew their characters and knew how to expand on them. And the best thing about The Godfather: Part II is that one can pick up the story, at least the modern portion of this one without reference to the original. In fact viewing this film will give you a burning passion to see the first.

Unlike The Godfather and The Godfather: Part III, this film runs on two parallel tracks. The modern story is a continuation of Al Pacino as Michael Corleone now residing on the shores of Lake Tahoe and now directing the family affairs from Nevada where the Corleone family is heavily into gambling as we well know organized crime was back in those days of the Fifties and Sixties. He's going into partnership with Lee Strassberg playing Hyman Roth, a thinly veiled portrait of Meyer Lansky. But there are a lot of things making Pacino hesitant about this move into Cuba under the Battista dictatorship.

The prequel parallel story is how young Vito Corleone came to this country as an orphan and worked his way up to establish himself as a crime boss. Here Coppola does a brilliant job in capturing the flavor of pre-World War I New York in the Italian ghetto. Robert DeNiro is young Vito Corleone and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Remarkable when you consider that two of his rivals were Lee Strassberg from this film and Michael V. Gazzo playing Frankie Pantangeli from this film as well, the Mafia kingpin turned Senate witness modeled on Joe Valachi. DeNiro and Marlon Brando have the unique distinction as players of winning an Oscar for playing the same role.

The woman do better in this film as in the original. Talia Shire got an Oscar nomination in the Supporting Actress category as Connie Corleone Rizzi. You remember her husband betrays the family and is killed in the original. She now is a drunken dependent on Pacino. Diane Keaton's character of Kay Adams Corleone is expanded here as well. She's a cultural outsider and the Sicilian vendetta code that she's expected to approve without comment becomes too much to bare. Her scene with Pacino when she tells him she's leaving him is one of the best for both in their respective careers.

Overlooked unfortunately at award time was John Cazale as Fredo Corleone. He's the middle son who's passed over for succession after eldest son James Caan is killed in The Godfather. Fredo's big moment in The Godfather is being unable to fire his weapon in defense of his father being shot and how he breaks down.

Fredo's got feelings as John Cazale dramatically points out. He does something really stupid in this film and it costs him dear. Cazale has some of the best moments in this film.

If the first Godfather film doesn't do it, The Godfather: Part II will have you permanently hooked on the inner workings and dynamics of the Corleone family both in the criminal and personal sense.
The Godfather: Part II
"It's not easy to be a son, Fredo. It's not easy." Is undeniably the best sequel ever made and one of the best films ever made. First off, Robert De Niro's performance as the young Don Corleone completely owns. Pure genius, pure craft.

Secondly, well it's Pacino, all Pacino. One pure example, at its best is when Diane Keaton's character confesses to him ' it wasn't a miscarriage'' revealing that instead she had an abortion, so that she wouldn't bring him anymore sons into the world. Watch Pacino's face during this entire scene!!!!!!!! Or the last flashback scene where Michael reveals that he has joined the Marines to the disgust of his family and such, at this time he had his own ' dreams' now, we simply watch the price which Michael Corleone has paid himself for power.
Michael Corleone: Total Night
Spoilers Ahead:

I, myself, prefer the original but this is a fantastic sequel but much darker. Many were annoyed at the temporal juxtaposition of Vito and Michael. Believe me, nobody hates temporal jumping back and forth than more I do but it is used by Coppola for dramatic contrast. What you will notice is what we knew about Michael already: The Outsider. From the first, in The Godfather, he sits at the farthest periphery of the family, on the outskirts on the family. This is an existential metaphor for Michael himself. He is barely in the family, just barely. My favorite scene contains the essence to understanding Michael versus the family Patriarch Vito. At the end, after having Fredo shot, we see a flashback where Sonny, Hagen, Fredo are all sitting at the table waiting for Vito's birthday cake. When Michael tells them he has defied Vito and enlisted for WW2, Sonny has to be restrained from kicking the crap out of him. Watch Michael's contempt for Hagen, "You talked to my father about my future?" Then, they all file out leaving Michael alone in the room; fade back to the future. Coppola zooms in on Michael's face, half of it goes into total darkness. Get the Message? He is not in the family; he is a loner. The darkness is his personality; he is much more evil and ruthless than Vito.

Vito always had Fredo out of the picture somewhere, drive the car, later he sends him to Vegas to keep him away from messing up the family business. Michael will not tolerate his dangerous stupidity. Watch the contempt when Fredo lectures Michael on how he wants respect and he has been passed over. This after almost getting Michael killed twice once in his house, the other time in Cuba. This is the reason for going back and forth. Coppola wants you to see that Vito is plenty ruthless, in the killing of Fannuci, and returning for vengeance to Sicily. But Vito is the family patriarch, he simply could not kill Carlo in the original. He retired and made Michael do it. The bad news is that Michael changed from that experience. He waits to kill Fredo, just like he did for Carlo in the original. His coldness darkens the film deeply.

His cruelty to Kay, Connie, Fredo, even his own children, closing the kitchen door on her while turning and glaring at his children is not a pretty sight. The man is nothing like Vito. We see Vito making friends with Clemenza and Tessio, using his influence to protect Signora who has been ejected with her children into the street. He has a warmth and caring underneath all the evil and power on the surface. Michael Corleone is a walking iceberg; pure cold ruthless evil devoid of all forgiveness. He seeks explanation for his deviation from his mother, she tells him he can never lose his family. Michael blames the times, wrong, he is not Vito; also, he never really was nor wanted to be in this family. Vito's near assassination, in the original, sucked him into the family business. He came in but he retains his contempt and icy separation. Watch him turn on Hagen,"Are you coming with me on this, otherwise you can take your wife and your mistress and leave." This is the difference; Kay is not Mama Coreleone to him; she is a baby machine to produce heirs. This is a great movie, I simply find the depth of his evil darkens the movie considerably.

Michael's killing of Fredo is not an anomaly. The man kills anyone he perceives to be a threat or an enemy. Hagen triggers him by saying the truth,"You've won, is it necessary to wipe everyone out?" Vito would not have, Michael changed when he killed Carlo in the original. Fredo pays the price; he is cold as a serial killer. A great movie, it is in my inventory; I must admit I rarely watch it, too ugly and depressing. Both of these are worth owning, the third one is a total piece of crap and an insult to these two. Please, get your daughter a job somewhere else.
The movie that does everything right.
As far as sequels are concerned; they just don't get any better than this. As a matter of fact "The Godfather: Part II" even ranks above the sublime "The Godfather", which got made 2 years earlier, starring mostly the same cast.

The movie connects nicely with the first movie and decides to start off were the first movie had finished. Michael is the new Don now and he continues his father work by leading a crime syndicate based in New York. Besides the usual struggles with other the other families and other characters who are looking for opportunities to gain more power and control, Michael also needs to handle his personal life with his wife and his other family members, who aren't all on the same line.

But "The Godfather: Part II" is not just a movie that continues what the first movie had started. It also adds a story-line of the young Vito Corleone, played in the first movie by Marlon Brando. In this movie he is being portrayed by Robert De Niro, who wasn't really a big star yet at the time. It's amazing how these two different story-lines, set at completely different time periods and also in essence have really nothing to do with each other, blend in so perfectly. The historical settings of the New York of the early 20th century are also truly impressive.

It's a movie that got practically made by the same cast and crew as the first successful movie. Of course there also are some new addition to the cast this time, in which the earlier mentioned Robert De Niro and Lee Strasberg impress the most. Both also received an Oscar nomination in the category for best supporting actor, along with Michael V. Gazzo but it was Robert De Niro who would eventually take the statue back home.

What also makes this movie an even better one than its predecessor is the fact that this movie is filled with some classic moments of cinema. It contains some of the best known sequences and phrases. It also contains some great constructed and build-up sequences, for which the credit really needs to go to Francis Ford Coppola. Also the characters are more developed and expanded in this movie. A true accomplishment for a movie with so many characters in it but then again the movie has also more than 3 hours to tell its story.

A sequel that even surpasses its brilliant predecessor.


The perfect sequel
The accepted wisdom about sequels is that they tend to be less good than their predecessor as there is no story left to tell. The second Godfather is an embarrassment of riches in as much as there are two stories; the back-story of Vito Corleone's arrival in America and that of Michael making good his grip on the inherited business.

All the fine film-making that made the first so rich has been replicated and improved in this most handsome movie. Again we begin with a great set-piece (a Catholic confirmation) as a swarming expository melange of character and situation but which takes its rather more sober tone from the film's prologue, telling of Vito's flight to America. The familial infections that poison this particular, warped Italin-American dream are doubly intense given that Michael is now the capo - where the threats of the first came from without, now there is danger within.

Pacino's performance is first-class, never once resting on the laurels of his previous Oscar nomination. He is matched across the board by the rest of ensemble; Diane Keaton, Duvall and the twitchy Cazale are fine, and I've always been a fan of Talia Shire whose performance as the Michael's widowed sister is a magnificent, discreet study in intractable sororial bitterness and love. A deeply sad and violent movie but one which never rules out the possibility of sympathy or redemption. An awesome achievement. 9/10
A Hollywood Masterpiece!!!!
Francis Coppola and Mario Puzo continue their epic saga into the lives of the infamous Corleone family, which is headed by Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). It is a film which does better than its predessor, "The Godfather". The film flip-flops graciously and beautifully between Michael's struggle over the family business and the life of young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro, in a brilliant, Oscar-winning performance) in his rise to power as well. Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Lee Strassberg, and John Cazale give excellent supporting performances. Carmine Coppola's and Nino Rota's score is a masterpiece of music. The movie is expertly filmed and the cinematography is superb.
Truly a masterpiece
Often seen as possibly a greater film than even "The Godfather" this film is truly remarkable. Part of the film is a pre-quel, with Robert De Nero playing a young Marlon Brando (is that a dream casting or not?) partly it's the story of Michael Corleone as he grows into the role of Godfather. Again brilliantly filmed, great acting, a great story of love revenge etc. but in some ways it's harder to sympathise with Michael as he slips further into a hell of revenge and murder. Like watching a car-crash.
Astonishingly unapproachable, bored me to tears
I have been forced to watch the Godfather trilogy by a friend of mine who thinks, as do most people, that they are the best thing since sliced bread. I found "The Godfather" just about watchable, but no more - I would have given up if my friend hadn't been there, but this was completely intolerable. I couldn't follow who the people were (and didn't care) I couldn't relate it to the previous film. I couldn't relate the 1930s stuff to the 1950s stuff. There is no excitement no tension, no nothing. A complete waste of an evening. And it's so interminably long too. I'm having trouble filling out my ten lines for the review, because the film left almost no impression on me - except that feeling that I used to get at school when I was forced to sit through the most boring lesson in the world. And God help me, I'm going to have to watch the third one. Like taking cod-liver oil. Ugh.
Not being mean here but of the worst films I have ever scene.
About six months ago I watched the Godfather Part I and to tell you the truth I thoroughly enjoyed, It had good cast, good story but still not worth number two on IMDb's top 250 and technically every top 100 film list on the web but still I must give it some credit. However today 15.7.12 I layed my eyes upon the masterpiece of terrible films I mean it truly is shockingly boring. I kept waiting for something to happen and nothing ever did.

Robert De Niro's role: My second favourite actor of all time after Jack Nicholson who does proud in practically ever film I've seen with De Niro in until today. I mean what in Gods holy name did he win an Oscar for this pile of **beep** he wasn't even in half the film. Thoroughly disappointed, no wonder he didn't appear at the Academy Awards because he probably thought what the hell I am I doing winning an Oscar for the worlds most boring films ever. He probably felt embarrassed.

How people and watch that film and actually enjoy it is beyond me. I don't think I am exaggerating either to be completely honest I only watched the film to the end to see if Michael Corleone died to boy was he getting on my nerves.

I sorry if I have offended anyones opinion but if you want to sit and enjoy a film watch Pulp Fiction which by the way on paper if one worse that The Godfather Part II.
A decent follow-up but not great as far as I'm concerned
"The Godfather: Part II" hit theatres a couple of years after the first film and made history by becoming the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Today, it is routinely listed alongside the original as one of the best American films of all time.

The story picks up a few years after the end of the first film. Michael is firmly established as the head of the family and has moved to Nevada where he is edging the family towards legitimacy. However, when he is beset by betrayals he systematically sets about dealing with the betrayers mercilessly. There is also a second story thread (told in flashback) that traces the early years of Vito Corleone and his introduction to mob life.

The film clocks in at a hefty 200 minutes. Unlike the first film, though, I couldn't really get caught up in either of the parallel stories so the film seemed to drag quite a bit. I didn't find the Vito storyline particularly compelling and the Michael storyline is little more than a convoluted extension of part one. These stories were meant to be compared but I don't feel that the director or the editor really constructed the film optimally for this purpose. Nevertheless, the film still has a classic scene or two, though it's nowhere near as consistent as the first film.

Most of the actors whose characters survived the first film reprised their roles here. Returnees Al Pacino & Talia Shire each landed Oscar nominations and so did newcomers Michael V. Gazzo & Lee Strasberg. However, the only actor to take home an Oscar statuette was Robert De Niro for his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone. Personally, I think that Pacino gave the best performance of the film.

Francis Ford Coppola won an Oscar for his direction but I feel that the first film was a better effort. From a visual standpoint the film is attractive, though, and the Nino Rota score was justly rewarded with an Oscar.

Ultimately, I don't feel that "The Godfather: Part II" lives up to its pedigree. I've watched it a few times, so I'd say that I've given it a fair shake. That being said, I realize that I'm in the vast minority here so it must be a personal thing. As far as I'm concerned, "Chinatown" deserves the Best Picture Oscar that went to this film.
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