Write descriptive essay about The Godfather: Part II movie 1974, write an essay of at least 500 words on The Godfather: Part II, 5 paragraph essay on The Godfather: Part II, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
The Godfather: Part II
Year:
1974
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
9.0
Director:
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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Reviews
"It had nothing to do with business"
In the movies, sequels have always been difficult. The franchise pictures of the twenties and thirties were always careful to repeat cast and basic formula without reopening story lines that had already run their course. While the following decades saw the rise of the TV series, the screen sequel became almost unknown. Today the fad of numbered sequels, ubiquitous in the eighties, has now become synonymous with unspeakable badness. That tradition was started, quite innocently, by this 1974 follow-up to The Godfather.

Being a drama, The Godfather Part II's biggest asset is probably in retaining the sublime cast that made the original so powerful. Al Pacino picks up exactly where he left off a few years previously, retreating further into passive steeliness, suppressing all emotions except the occasional burst of anger. John Cazale has a somewhat expanded role, getting to show off a more impressive acting range and making Fredo seem sympathetic in his weakness. Welcome returns are also made by Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall and Talia Shire. However the greatest turn is that of newcomer Robert De Niro. De Niro gives a credible presentation of an up-and-coming mobster and proud family man, whilst cleverly working in mannerisms of Marlon Brando's middle-aged Don in The Godfather. It's still only a small demonstration of De Niro's talents however.

Perhaps an even more important factor is the return of producer-director Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola demonstrates again his ability to focus drama, going to lengths to show us only what is important. Take, as one example out of many, the scene where Pacino and Lee Strasberg first meet. Roth's wife greets Pacino, and bustles in and out of the scene once or twice to utter a few lines, but watch the way Coppola keeps her fluttering about in the foreground, often with her back to us, framed from the shoulder down so we never see her face. Coppola allows her to appear for reasons of logic, but as she's not a character we need to remember, he doesn't allow us to connect with her visually. This is really intelligent filmmaking.

But The Godfather Part II is more than ever about stunning imagery. With a bigger budget, vaster sets and hordes of extras, Coppola shows an impressive ability to create thriving tableaux of crowds and street scenes, repeatedly using horizontal scans to move us through an environment, showing off a hundred tiny instances of real life that really make us believe in the recreation of a bygone era. This is especially true in the young Vito flashbacks, which thanks to the cinematography of Gordon Willis and the production design team lead by Dean Tavoularis, have a wonderful sepia-toned look to them. It's intriguing how Coppola also tends to keep his camera further back from the action in the those scenes, giving us the impression of something we are looking in on rather than something we are in the midst of.

And yet this concentration on the visual has perhaps been taken a little too far. There are too many rather blatant bits of symbolism, such as the business of the dividing up of the Cuba-cake, which reminds me of some kind of twee history textbook illustration. This inconsequential prop gets several amount of close-ups, and even several references in the dialogue, everything but a flashing subtitle saying "They're carving up Cuba – geddit?" But instead of looking clever it just seems silly to have Hyman Roth going on about his stupid cake. And what's more, there are too many references to the best ideas in The Godfather – the dark Lake Tahoe office where Michael does his dealings: the murderous little montage at the end – all of which serve little purpose other than sly winks to those who are familiar with the earlier picture. None of these motifs is executed as effectively as they were first time round, and so really they look almost like poor copycats by some lesser filmmakers. The Godfather Part II is in many ways a decent work, but compared to its illustrious predecessor it is lukewarm; a flawed attempt to rekindle some of the old magic. In fact, it is just what we have come to associate with the movie sequel.
2010-07-31
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.
2010-10-06
A great sequel and enduring vision of corruption and family.
Without a doubt, Coppola made four of the best films of the 70's. The Godfaher Part 1, Part 2, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now. Out of these, The Godfather Part 2 remains my favourite.

It continues the Corleone family tale, of greed and corruption and yet Part 2 adds another vein to the bloodstream of this biblical tale; the story of Vito Corleone and his arrival in New York. The cinematographer, Gordon Willis creates a sepia-washed dream of a New York. Every shot is sumptuous ad full of depth - the production value was a help too, with some of the most authentic streets scenes ever committed to film.

Though, as wonderful as the film looks, the acting is stellar to. De Niro completely transforms himself from the urban maniacs like Johnny from Mean Streets and Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, to form Vito Corleone, the younger Marlon Brando. De Niro doesn't over cook the character, instead he simmers; his eyes tell two tales, one of being content, the other of contempt, for the killing of his family.

De Niro is backed up by great co-stars, such as Bruno Kirby who played the young Clemenza. The story itself in this section of the film is slow burning, much like the rest of the film, yet is here to serve a contrast to the story of Michael Corleone in Nevada.

This is the part in the trilogy where Michael transforms from the "college boy" and "war hero" of part 1, into the heartless, muted confusion that he embodies here. Pacino plays the part with ease and never goes wild and shout, much like his later work (Glengarry Glen Ross, Godfather Part 3...). Keaton is superb as the WASP wife, Kay, who tries to break free of the corruption she has married into. Cazale, who plays Fredo is wonderful too, a helpless, jealous character, who forms one of the best brother characters in film history. The co-stars are also great, with Strasberg as Hyman Roth.

Just as Michael's family is dissolving, Vito's is just beginning. The two fragments of the Corleone history run side by side to depict the downfall of Michael's character. Constantly trying to please his dead father, Michael talks of family, but doesn't understand how to sustain it.

A classic.
2007-01-15
Incredible doesn't even BEGIN to describe it
The first sequel to win the Best Picture Oscar, and deservingly so, words cannot begin to describe how amazing this film is. Unlike the first (I'll admit, I'm not the biggest fan of the first film) which had several slow spots, GFII had me riveted from beginning to end. Pacino and Cazale turn in the performance of their careers, while Francis Ford Coppola, who co- wrote this with Mario Puzo, directs with such precision. This film is truly a gift of cinema by all the talent involved. Everybody, even the smallest supporting actor, give terrific performances. The pace is fantastic. The writing is brilliant. The last scene at the lake...chills! Watch this masterpiece NOW!

4/4
2015-02-23
Terrific continuation of the "Godfather" series; to call it a "sequel" almost seems insulting...
This sequel is just as terrific as the first film, if not more so. I hesitate to call it a sequel, as "sequel" is quite simply the wrong word I am looking for. A film like "The Matrix Reloaded" is a sequel - "The Godfather Part II" is something more. It's just too good to be called a sequel.

The film won six Oscars in 1974, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro). It deserved every one. It involves the viewer from the start and never lets up. Particular aspects I enjoy in this film are the flashbacks to Don Vito Corleone as a child immigrating to New York City after social problems in his homeland, Sicily. I like the intertwining of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), his son, in present day, dealing with his crime inheritance, and Vito (Robert De Niro), his father, years ago. I like how, as Michael comes to terms with his family legacy, the film shows us Vito coming to terms with his future. The day he shoots that man in a gritty apartment complex is a turning point in his life.

Every actor is in top form here. Al Pacino has gradually made the move from a man who denies his future to a man who is accepting it. His character is the spotlight of this film, much more so than in the first film (though both center around his decisions).

Robert De Niro is particularly wonderful and convincing as a young Vito Corleone, who was of course played by the constantly-spoofed Marlon Brando in the original. De Niro takes an iron grip on his character and completely engulfs himself; this was, in 1974, the sign of an actor who would go places. Indeed, he did.

Coppola's magical sense of direction is at work here, as is the script by Coppola and Mario Puzo (whose novels the series is based upon). The original was a wonderful film, but the sequel presents more of a challenge. Flashbacks are often intercut in the middle of other films are awkward times, but in "The Godfather Part II," Coppola uses them at precisely the right moments, managing to careen in and out of scenes and time periods with free abandon.

It takes a great kind of skill to master something like this, much less a sequel to one of the most beloved films of all time. "The Godfather" was an instant classic upon its release in 1972. Coppola had two years to plan for his continuation of the film. People told him it wouldn't work, he would never beat the original, and he would never pull it off. But he showed them all. "The Godfather Part II" may well be the best sequel I have ever seen in my entire lifetime. I wish they were all this good. To call it a "sequel" almost seems insulting.
2003-08-23
This should be #1 in the top 250 here in IMDb.
"The Godfather" is basically the bridge that connects to stories in this movie.This movie takes you to the origins of Don Corleone and gave you an idea of how he rose to power and how respected he was in Sicily.While "The Godfather" is a work of art, this is a masterpiece.Everything you saw in the original movie plus more.A lot of character development, strong performances from all actors and great storytelling exist in this Dark Drama.Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall and the rest are all excellent in their respected roles.With a movie this good, who knew the third one would not be as good as the first one at least? Highly recommended.

My rating: 10/10
2008-09-23
Now, That's a Sequel
This movie accomplishes what very few sequels ever do, it rivals its predecessor in quality. This film doesn't hit a wrong note at any point. All performances are excellent and there isn't any problem switching back and forth between the early 1900's and the mid 1900's. It flowed so well. I can't argue with the top 3 rating given by IMDb users.
2003-10-03
amazing continuation, but personal preference remains with Part I
SPOILERS If you were to stop people on the street nowadays and ask them to name their favourite series of films, they'll say either one thing. Either the person will believe the current hype and say "The Lord Of The Rings", they'll recount to their youth and say "Star Wars" or they'll answer "The Godfather" trilogy. Containing some truly breathtaking acting and a jaw dropping good plot, the original "Godfather" film was a masterpiece. Even more surprising though is just how many people seem to prefer the sequel from two years later. Once more starring Al Pacino, "Godfather Part II" is an awesome film which could technically also be classified as a masterpiece. Still, despite the technical genius of the film, this second episode in the story of the Corleone family is slightly inferior to it's predecessor.

In continuation from the first film, Michael Corleone (Pacino) is head of the family and living in Las Vegas. Apparently enjoying life, Michael is a much darker character than he was during the previous film. With plans to expand into foreign territories, Michael once more finds himself faced with difficult decisions and former friends turned enemies.

The true genius of "The Godfather Part II" is the combination of sequel and prequel. Rotating between the early life of Vito Corleone (played in the original by Marlon Brando, but now played by Robert De Niro) and the current affairs of his son Michael, the film manages to tell two superb stories side by side.

Pacino, as with the previous film, is once again stunning as the now cold and malicious Michael. Transformed from the outsider at the beginning of Part I, Michael has become a completely different person, and Pacino shows this with skill.

In "The Godfather: Part II" however, the true star of the picture is Robert De Niro. Taking hold of the role of a younger Marlon Brando, De Niro spends his time on screen replicating Brando's mannerisms with apparent ease. He takes a firm hold on the life of the young Godfather, and he impresses throughout.

Despite it's technical genius though, this second part in the story does feel slightly inferior to the original. To a degree this is possibly due to the Michael scenes being original rather than Mario Puzo's book, but the parts of the film dealing with Michael, never really seem to take off compared with the original. In the first film, we are shown a loving family who fight for each other and who come out on tops despite heavy casualties and strong opposition. In this second film, the view on the family feels much more dark and disturbing. Gone seem to be the family values, and instead Michael's direction seems much more obscure and unfocused.

It's entirely possible that this reviewer simply didn't understand this film. There's no denying that upon first viewing the original, the impression wasn't good and it took a second viewing before becoming a fan. In comparison to the Brando and Pacino led first chapter however, this second chapter doesn't really hold water. This doesn't stop it being a masterpiece, and it is. It is easily one of the finest films ever made, BUT compared with it's predecessor, it doesn't quite work.
2005-03-02
Poor Fredo! We still miss John Cazale!
The Godfather Part II has excellent writing, plotting, editing is even brilliant, acting, and overall quality to watch over again and again. You can never get sick of watching this film. I miss John Cazale. He was truly a gifted actor and I miss him. He played my favorite Corleone brother. Sure Alfredo was never brilliant or vicious but he was sweet, gentle, and warm most of the time. He had a conscience and I despise Michael for killing his own brother. I think he killed him out of jealousy. Alfredo spent more time with Michael's son, Anthony, than he did and he resented him for it. Alfredo could have been spared. Four years after Godfather Part II, John Cazale died of cancer after filming the Deer Hunter. He never won an Oscar or made too many films but he made every role memorable. Rest in Peace, John. I miss you.
2002-10-14
Excellent, but could be in the dictionary under "sprawl"
Series note: It is almost unthinkable to watch this film without having seen The Godfather (1972) first. This is a direct continuation of that story.

The good news is that The Godfather Part II has many amazing qualities, including fantastic performances from a superb cast, sublime, unprecedented visuals that no one else has been able to capture since, and very engaging stories. The bad news is that this should have easily been a 10, but overall, it is so sprawling and unfocused that I can't possibly give it more than a 9, which it only earns because the assets transcend what's basically a mess overall. Because it should have been a 10, and most other reviews will tell you about the positive points at length, I may pick on more things in my review than you would think I would for a 9, but rest assured that even with the flaws, The Godfather Part II is still essential viewing.

Director/co-writer Francis Ford Coppola cleverly begins the film with parallels to The Godfather. We see Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) "in the role" of his father, Vito (Marlon Brando), from the first film, accepting prostrating guests while a party is going on outside. Like the first film, the party consumes a lot of time while we get to know some of the principal characters. Perhaps during this segment, perhaps a bit after, we realize that maybe the beginning wasn't so clever after all, because the structure of The Godfather Part II parallels The Godfather from a broad perspective, as if Coppola and co-writer Mario Puzo used the first film as something of a template to create this one.

After the party is over, there is an attempted hit on Michael, and we quickly learn that not everything is rosy in the Corleone's mafia world. Michael believes that someone on the "inside" was involved with the hit. This launches a complicated sequence of events that has Michael, who is now living in Nevada, traveling to Miami, Cuba, New York, and so on. He accuses different people of involvement in the attempted hit depending on whom he is talking to. This may have all been part of a grand scheme to set up the responsible parties, but one of the flaws of the film is that Coppola doesn't convey Michael's underlying thoughts about this very well, not even later, and not through his actions. Rather than feeling like a clever set-up, it starts to feel like slightly muddled writing.

During the middle section of the film, which goes on for hours, we also have a hint of a problem that plagued The Godfather--a bloated cast. There are bit too many characters who aren't well enough presented or explained. You may need to keep a scorecard.

Coppola and Puzo also treat us to many extended "flashback" segments, and I mean way back, to Vito as a boy and young man, played by Robert De Niro. For my money, these were the best scenes of the film, although maybe that's a bit of my bias creeping in, as I'm a huge De Niro fan.

But let's talk about the main plague of the film--sprawl. This is maybe first evident in the flashbacks. As good as they are, they go on far too long, and happen far too frequently, to sustain the momentum of either the Michael story or the Vito-as-a-youngster story. It begins to feel like we're toggling back and forth between two films, which is the track that should have been taken. The prequel, at least, would have been a solid 10.

There's also a lot of sprawl in the Michael Corleone segments. Coppola appears to have been suffering from what I'd now call "J.K. Rowling Syndrome". That happens when an artist becomes successful enough that they can fire or ignore their editor(s). Instead of taking good advice about where to trim fat, the artist decides to just leave much of it in, and they now have the clout to override any dissenting and more sensible opinions. The Michael Corleone story has a lot of fat, including much of the Cuba material (for example, sitting around the table with the President, laboriously passing around a solid gold telephone), the Senate hearings (which go on far too long to make and provide the dramatic points), and so on.

The film begins to feel more like a couple seasons of a television show that Coppola tried to cram into a 3 and a half hour film, or worse, a collection of deleted scenes. The scenes, except for the fat that needed to be trimmed, are excellent in isolation. But by the time the climax rolls around, the whole has more of an arbitrary feeling--this is especially clear in the dénouement, which seems to just end.

I've barely left myself room to talk about the good points. The first one, which most people mention, is the acting. There isn't a bad performance in the film, but Pacino, De Niro, and some relatively minor characters, like those played by Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and John Cazale, really stand out.

The second outstanding point, similar to the first film, is the beautiful visuals. Although all of the cinematography and production design is great, what really impressed me were some of the darkly lit scenes. Characters and features of sets emerge from pitch-blackness, and everything is rich, deep shades of burgundy, brown, and orange. Amazingly, nothing gets lost in these scenes. It must be incredibly difficult to achieve without making the shots too dark, because I can't remember another film since that has been able to capture the same look. The flashback scenes are also in similar, but lighter, colors, creating an appropriate sepia-tone feel.

Although the broad perspective problems are unfortunate, a closer focus on most segments of the film provides exemplary artistry. Given that, and the film's importance culturally, The Godfather Part II is a must-see.
2005-05-10
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