The Godfather Part II


Movie: The Godfather Part II

Release Date: December 12, 1974

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Talia Shire, Morgana King, John Cazale, Mariana Hill, Lee Strasberg

Personal History: Watched Before

Rating: 7.25 Oscars out of 10

‘The Godfather Part II’ was a commercial success when it was released in 1974, becoming the sixth highest-grossing movie of that year. When it came to critical praise, the film was more divided. It did however earn eleven Academy Award nominations, winning six including Best Picture. It was the first time in Oscar history that a sequel won that coveted prize. (In 2003, it was joined by ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.’) Today, critical praise has shifted a bit, with some stating that the sequel is far superior than the original. As much as I like the movie, I can’t say I agree with that sentiment.

You may (or may not) recall that when I wrote about ‘The Godfather‘ for this movie challenge, I mentioned a bit of a brouhaha. Some people were upset that I did not have that movie on my 365 Day Movie Challenge, where I watched and wrote about my favorite movies of all time. Again, if you disagree, make your own list. That said, I do like like the film and I also do like ‘The Godfather Part II,’ just not as much.

The film is, like the first, extremely well-crafted. Directing, cinematography, acting and music are all top notch. Al Pacino gives another fantastic performance as Michael Corleone and I still am in disbelief that he never won an Oscar for that role. The rest of the ensemble is equally as impressive, especially Robert De Niro. Winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as a young Vito Corleone, Mr. De Niro almost makes you forget Marlon Brando. Almost. It is quite the performance.

The story is still compelling, continuing the story of the Corleone family as well as serving as a prequel of sorts by filling in Vito Corleone’s beginnings. But as much as I love a disjointed timeline, the back and forth between Vito and Michael’s story becomes a bit messy and really slows the overall pace. The storylines are equally riveting and parallel each other nicely, I just wish it were done more cohesively.

‘The Godfather Part II,’ like its predecessor, is for all intents and purposes a classic. It is filmmaking at its finest and must be applauded for all of its entertaining values as well as its achievements. Although ‘The Godfather Part III’ has some merits, it really does not compete with the first two. I do not have to watch ‘Part III’ again as part of this movie challenge as it did not win Best Picture. So for now at least, my time with the Corleone family has come to an end.


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