|The Godfather Part II|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Francis Ford Coppola|
|Produced by||Francis Ford Coppola
|Screenplay by||Francis Ford Coppola
|Based on||The Godfather by
Robert De Niro
Michael V. Gazzo
|Music by||Nino Rota
|Editing by||Barry Malkin
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||200 min|
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and partially based on Mario Puzo's 1969 novel, The Godfather. The screenplay was once again written by Coppola and Puzo. The film stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Talia Shire, Morgana King, John Cazale, Marianna Hill, Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Strasberg. The film is in part, both a sequel and a prequel to 1972 The Godfather film, presenting two parallel dramas. The main storyline, following the events of the first film, centers on Michael Corleone (Pacino), the new Don of the Corleone crime family, trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone (De Niro), from his childhood in Sicily in 1901 to his founding of the Corleone family in New York City.
The Godfather Part II was released in 1974, and went on to receive tremendous critical acclaim, with some even deeming it superior to its predecessor. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture. This made Part II the first film sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and it remained the only sequel to do so until The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the award in 2003. The film also received Academy Awards for Best Director for Coppola, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro and Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola and Puzo. Pacino won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
The Godfather Part II, like its predecessor, is widely considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made and it remains a highly influential film in the gangster genre. The film was ranked as the thirty-second greatest film in American cinematic history by the American Film Institute in 1997 and it kept its rank 10 years later. It was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 for being "culturally significant".
A sequel, The Godfather Part III, was released 16 years later in 1990.
In 1901 Corleone, Sicily, nine-year-old Vito Andolini’s father is killed for insulting local Mafia chieftain Don Ciccio, who later kills his elder brother Paolo and mother after she pleads Ciccio to let her remaining son live. Vito escapes to New York and is registered as "Vito Corleone" on Ellis Island.
In 1958 Nevada, Don Michael Corleone, with his caporegimes Al Neri, Rocco Lampone and consigliere Tom Hagen, meet Senator Pat Geary during the First Communion party of Michael's son Anthony. Geary insultingly demands a high license price from Michael, who wishes to take over another casino, but Michael offers nothing. Johnny Ola, confidant of Jewish gangster Hyman Roth, tells Michael that Roth is supportive. Meanwhile, Michael disapproves of his sister Connie’s sleazy lifestyle and attempts to manage his weak older brother and underboss Fredo.
The Roth-backed Rosato brothers are encroaching on Corleone New York territory and capo Frank Pentangeli, its inheritor after Pete Clemenza's death, is angered when Michael refuses to take action as he wants smooth relations with Roth. At night, Michael survives an assassination attempt at his home and puts Tom in charge, assuring him of their brotherly trust as Tom felt excluded. He tells him someone close orchestrated it and as expected, the assassins are found dead after their failure.
In 1917, Vito (Robert De Niro) lives in a tenement with wife Carmela and baby son Santino. The neighborhood is extorted by Don Fanucci, who has the father of Vito's friend Genco Abbandando fire Vito from his grocery job, to give to Fanucci's nephew. One night, Vito's neighbor Peter Clemenza asks him to stash guns, repaying him with an luxury rug they steal from their first crime together.
In Miami, Michael tells Roth that Pentangeli was behind the assassination attempt. Michael then confides in Pentangeli that Roth actually ordered it, but needs Pentangeli to cooperate. Pentangeli meets the Rosatos who attempt to garrote him, claiming Michael sent them, but are thwarted by a policeman. Meanwhile Geary’s complicity with the Corleones is guaranteed after he awakens to a dead prostitute at Fredo’s brothel, which Tom reassures they will cover up.
Michael meets Roth for a deal in Havana, Cuba where dictator Fulgencio Batista is soliciting American investment, while a popular rebellion rages. Michael, witnessing a rebel suicide bombing, is convinced of their resolve. Though Fredo arrives with the investment money, Michael warns him of the situation and confronts Roth over Pentangeli's death. Roth instead scolds him, reminding him of their chosen business. During Batista’s New Year Eve party, Fredo drunkenly reveals he contacted Johnny Ola despite his previous denial. A dismayed Michael embraces Fredo, revealing to him his treachery. Michael signals his bodyguard, who strangles Ola but is killed by police before able to suffocate the ailing Roth. Batista resigns due to the rebellion and the guests, including a frightened Fredo, flee in the ensuing chaos. Back home, Hagen informs Michael that Roth is recovering in Miami and that Kay had a miscarriage.
In New York in 1920, Don Fanucci threatens Vito for a share from his robbery operations. Instead Vito has companions Clemenza and Tessio agree to his plan of paying Fanucci less, because he can make an offer he won’t refuse and earns Fanucci’s respect. But Vito stalks him during a festa from the rooftops and shoots him at his apartment, before later cradling his newborn son, Michael. Thus Vito becomes a respected figure in the community, dealing with requests, including one to have a landlord keep a widow and her dog. Terrified after finding out who Vito is, the landlord grovels to Vito in agreement at a reduced rent.
In Washington, D.C., a Senate committee is investigating the Corleone family but cannot implicate Michael since soldato Willi Cicci never received direct orders. Geary excuses himself with a statement supportive of Italian Americans, when Michael appears, challenging the committee with a statement of innocence. Pentangeli is revealed to be still alive; a witness under FBI protection; believing Michael was behind the attempt on his life as part of Roth's strategy to destroy Michael. Fredo returns, telling Michael he met Johnny Ola for gains because, being older, he felt shafted from becoming head of the family, but that he was unaware of their plan to kill Michael. After Fredo reveals the Senate Committee's chief is on Roth's payroll, Michael disowns him and instructs Neri to leave him until the passing of their mother. Michael arrives with Pentangeli's brother from Sicily at Pentangeli’s testimony, who then recants his statements, derailing the case and ending it in uproar. Afterwards, Michael smacks Kay after she tries to leave with their children, revealing her miscarriage was actually an abortion to halt a criminal legacy.
In 1925, Vito visits Sicily. With his aid Don Tommasino, he meets the elderly Don Ciccio as an olive oil importer to America. Vito stabs and kills Ciccio, avenging his family, while Tommasino is crippled by gunfire as they escape. Vito and his family then leave Sicily.
Vito's widow dies, and at the family reunion for her funeral, Michael continues to shun Fredo. When Connie implores him to forgive their brother, Michael relents and embraces Fredo, but as they do so, he exchanges a meaningful glance with Al Neri. Afterwards, Michael, Tom, Al Neri and Rocco Lampone discuss their final dealings with Roth, who has been unsuccessfully seeking asylum from various countries, and was even refused entry to Israel as a returning Jew. Michael rejects Hagen's advice that the Corleone family's position is secure and that killing both Roth, and the Rosato brothers, are unnecessary risks. Later, Hagen visits Pentangeli at the military base. He leads Pentangeli, a student of history, into a discussion on how mafia families were organized like Roman legions, which ends with Hagen's veiled assurance that if Pentangeli were to commit suicide then, just as the Romans did after a failed plot against the Emperor, his family would be spared and taken care of. With Connie's help, Kay visits her children but cannot bear to leave them and stays too long. When Michael arrives, he closes the door in her face. As he arrives in Miami to be taken into custody, Hyman Roth is shot in the stomach and killed by Lampone, who is immediately shot dead by FBI agents. Frank Pentangeli is found dead in his bathtub, having slit his wrists. Finally, Neri shoots Fredo while they are fishing on Lake Tahoe, as Fredo is saying a Hail Mary to help catch a fish. Michael watches from the house.
The final sequence is a flashback to December 1941 as the Corleone family is preparing a surprise birthday party for Vito. Sonny introduces Carlo Rizzi (who would later be complicit in Sonny's death) to Connie. Tessio comes in with the cake, and they all discuss the recent attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Michael shocks everybody by announcing that he has dropped out of college and enlisted in the Marines. Sonny is furious with Michael's decision, Tom incredulous, and Fredo supportive. Vito arrives (offscreen) and all but Michael leave the room to greet him.
The film ends with Michael sitting alone, outside, in the Corleones' Lake Tahoe compound, deep in thought.
The Godfather Part II was shot between October 1, 1973 and June 19, 1974, and was the last major American motion picture to be printed with Technicolor's dye imbibition process until the late 1990s. The scenes that took place in Cuba were shot in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Charles Bluhdorn, whose Gulf+Western conglomerate owned Paramount, felt strongly about developing the Dominican Republic as a movie-making site.
The Lake Tahoe house and grounds portrayed in the film are Fleur du Lac, the summer estate of Henry J. Kaiser on the California side of the lake. The only structures used in the movie that still remain are the complex of old native stone boathouses with their wrought iron gates. Although Fleur du Lac is private property and no one is allowed ashore there, the boathouses and multi-million dollar condominiums may be viewed from the lake.
Unlike with the first film, Coppola was given near-complete control over production. In his commentary, he said this resulted in a film that ran very smoothly, considering that it was shot in multiple locations and told two parallel stories within one film.
Coppola shot The Godfather Part II parallel to The Conversation. It was the last major American motion picture to be filmed in Technicolor. In the director's commentary on the DVD edition of the film released in 2002, Coppola states that this film was the first major motion picture to use "Part II" in its title. Paramount was initially opposed to his decision to name the movie The Godfather Part II. According to Coppola, the studio's objection stemmed from the belief that audiences would be reluctant to see a film with such a title, as the audience would supposedly believe that, having already seen The Godfather, there was little reason to see an addition to the original story. The success of The Godfather Part II began the Hollywood tradition of numbered sequels.
Production nearly ended before it began when Pacino's lawyers told Coppola that he had grave misgivings with the script and wasn't coming. Coppola spent an entire night rewriting it before giving it to Pacino for his review. Pacino approved, allowing shooting to go forward.
In the documentary The Godfather Family: A look Inside, Coppola stated that three weeks prior to Part II being released, film critics and journalists pronounced the film a disaster, claiming the parallel stories between Vito and Michael were uncomfortably fast, not allowing enough time for the stories to leave a lasting impression on the audience. Coppola stated that he and the editors returned to the cutting room to change the film's narrative structure, but could not complete the full re-arrangement in time, leaving the final scenes of the film poorly timed.
For both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, many scenes that were shot were not shown in the original theatrical runs but were included in the television adaptation The Godfather Saga (1977) and the home video releases The Godfather 1901-1959: The Complete Epic (1981) and The Godfather Trilogy: 1901–1980 (1992). To date, there has not been a single release that contains all of this footage together in one collection.
A limited time-reduced version with roughly thirty minutes of the film removed was later released.
While not to the extent of the original, The Godfather Part II was very successful commercially, grossing $193 million on a $13 million budget. It was Paramount's highest grossing film of 1974 (ahead of The Longest Yard, Murder on the Orient Express and Chinatown) and was the fifth highest grossing picture in the US that year.
|All critics||Top critics|
|The Godfather Part II||98% (58 reviews)||80% (5 reviews)||71/100 (7 reviews)|
The Godfather Part II ranks among the most critically and artistically successful film sequels in movie history, and is the most honored. It, like its predecessor, is widely considered as one of the greatest films of all time. Many critics praise it as equal, or even superior, to the original film (although it is almost always placed below the original on lists of "greatest" movies). The Godfather Part II:
Pacino's performance in The Godfather Part II has been praised as perhaps his best, and the Academy has been criticized for not awarding him the Academy Award for Best Actor, which went that year to Art Carney for his role in Harry and Tonto. Over time, it has come to be recognized by some as one of the greatest performances in cinema history. In 2006, Premiere magazine issued its list of "The 100 Greatest Performances of all Time", ranking Pacino's performance at #20.[dead link] Later in 2009, Total Film issued "The 150 Greatest Performances Of All Time", ranking Pacino's performance at #4.[dead link]
Between The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, Coppola directed The Conversation, which was released in 1974 and was also nominated for Best Picture. This resulted in Coppola becoming the third director in Hollywood history to have two films released in the same year, both nominated for Best Picture. The first was Victor Fleming in 1939 with Gone With the Wind, which he co-directed, and The Wizard of Oz. This achievement was matched by Alfred Hitchcock in 1941 with Foreign Correspondent and Rebecca. Since Coppola, two other directors have achieved the same result: Herbert Ross in 1977 with The Goodbye Girl and The Turning Point, and Steven Soderbergh in 2000 with Erin Brockovich and Traffic.
The film was the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, and was the only sequel to win until The Return of the King won the award in 2003.
|Academy Award||Academy Award for Best Picture||Francis Ford Coppola, Gray Frederickson and Fred Roos||Won|
|Academy Award for Best Director||Francis Ford Coppola||Won|
|Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role||Al Pacino||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay||Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo||Won|
|Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Robert De Niro||Won|
|Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Michael V. Gazzo||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role||Lee Strasberg||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role||Talia Shire||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Costume Design||Theadora Van Runkle||Nominated|
|Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration||Dean Tavoularis, Angelo P. Graham and George R. Nelson||Won|
|Academy Award for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score||Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola||Won|
|Golden Globe Award||Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama||Francis Ford Coppola, Gray Frederickson and Fred Roos||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture||Francis Ford Coppola||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama||Al Pacino||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture||Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Male||Lee Strasberg||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score||Nino Rota||Nominated|
|BAFTA Award||BAFTA Award for Best Actor||Al Pacino (also for Dog Day Afternoon)||Won|
|BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles||Robert De Niro||Nominated|
|BAFTA Award for Best Film Editing||Peter Zinner, Barry Malkin and Richard Marks||Nominated|
|Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music||Nino Rota||Nominated|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Godfather: Part II|
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