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The Godfather: Part II (1974)

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The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.

Writers:

Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay by), Mario Puzo (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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265 ( 253)
Top Rated Movies #3 | Won 6 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino ... Michael
Robert Duvall ... Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton ... Kay
Robert De Niro ... Vito Corleone (as Robert DeNiro)
John Cazale ... Fredo Corleone
Talia Shire ... Connie Corleone
Lee Strasberg ... Hyman Roth
Michael V. Gazzo ... Frankie Pentangeli
G.D. Spradlin ... Senator Pat Geary
Richard Bright ... Al Neri
Gastone Moschin ... Fanucci (as Gaston Moschin)
Tom Rosqui Tom Rosqui ... Rocco Lampone
Bruno Kirby ... Young Clemenza (as B. Kirby Jr.)
Frank Sivero ... Genco
Francesca De Sapio ... Young Mama Corleone (as Francesca de Sapio)
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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. Written by Keith Loh <[email protected]>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All the power on earth can't change destiny.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian | Spanish | Latin | Sicilian

Release Date:

20 December 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Son of Godfather See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$57,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (The Godfather Trilogy 1901-1980 VHS Special Edition)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Only Best Picture Oscar winner with a Roman numeral in its title. See more »

Goofs

After the attempted assassination on Michael, Tom and Rocco are overlooking the discovery of the dead bodies in the water. When Rocco turns away from Tom to ask where Michael is, his lips do not move while the soundtrack says "Where's Mike?". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: The godfather was born Vito Andolini, in the town of Corleone in Sicily. In 1901 his father was murdered for an insult to the local Mafia chieftain. His older brother Paolo swore revenge and disappeared into the hills, leaving Vito, the only male heir, to stand with his mother at the funeral. He was nine years old.
[gunshots and screams]
Woman: [subtitled from Italian] They've killed the boy! They've killed young Paolo! They've killed your son Paolo!
See more »

Crazy Credits

As with the first film no opening credits are shown. Although it is now commonplace for films not to have opening credits, it was considered innovative in 1974. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1977, a special version for television titled The Godfather: A Novel for Television was prepared by director Francis Ford Coppola and editor Barry Malkin by re-editing The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II in chronological order and adding deleted scenes. Most of these deleted scenes are also included separately on the DVD release and in The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980. Among the deleted scenes:
  • The opening credit sequence features additional shots of the Corleone compound. These shots were later used in the beginning of The Godfather: Part III.
  • The opening credit sequence also features additional shots of Michael sitting alone contemplatively, an alternate take of young Vito waving little Michael's hand on the train in Sicily, and a longer take of Michael looking at Fredo at their mother's wake.
  • Don Ciccio's henchmen look for the boy Vito at his home. Vito's mother says she will bring him to Ciccio herself.
  • Don Fanucci tells the theater impresario that he should feature Sicilian songs or opera and then comically sings examples.
  • After Fanucci leaves, the impresario smacks his daughter for walking in at the wrong time.
  • Vito sees a group of hoods jump Don Fanucci and slice his neck. This explains the scar on his neck seen later.
  • Genco tells Vito about the attack on Fanucci and Vito pretends not to know about it.
  • In the café, Clemenza tells Vito that he will never work a regular job like his father did.
  • Vito meets Tessio for the first time outside a warehouse with Clemenza. They take the bag of guns inside to a man named Augustino Coppola. He tells his young son, Carmine Coppola, to play the flute as entertainment while he works on the guns. This is a tribute to Francis Ford Coppola's grandfather and father. The men also leave the warehouse with a bunch of dresses.
  • Clemenza tries to sell a dress to a married woman and ends up having sex with her while Tessio and Vito wait outside.
  • An additional shot of Vito driving down the street before Fanucci jumps in.
  • Additional dialogue after Fanucci gets out of Vito's truck.
  • Additional dialogue when Vito, Clemenza, and Tessio discuss how to handle Fanucci.
  • An extended version of the scene where Vito first talks to Signor Roberto.
  • Signor Roberto asks Genco if he can speak with "Don Vito".
  • Clemenza brings a young Jewish boy named Hyman Suchowsky to see Vito. Clemenza wants to rename him "Johnny Lips", but Vito decides he will be called "Hyman Rothstein" after Jewish gangster Arnold Rothstein.
  • When Vito returns to Sicily, he kills the two henchmen that looked for him as a boy. One he finds passed out in a hut and stabs, the other he rows up to on a lake and kills with an oar.
  • A wide shot of the train leaving the station in Sicily.
  • A quick shot of people waltzing at Anthony's communion party.
  • A quick shot of the bandleader looking at the dancers as he is conducting.
  • A man taking home movies of Tom and his family.
  • Fredo shows up late to Anthony's communion party because his wife, Deana, is drunk. She runs up the driveway demanding to see Michael, then falls down and knocks down Fredo when he tries to pick her up. Fredo warns her not to embarrass him.
  • A thirsty Pentangeli tries to get a beer or wine at the communion party, but all the waiters have are champagne cocktails. This explains why he is seen drinking from a garden hose.
  • At the party, Sonny's widow, Sandra, brings their daughter Francesca and her fiancé, Gardner, to see Michael. Fredo barges in to tell Michael that Pentangeli is outside. Michael gives Francesca and Gardner his blessing to get married. She sees Kay and tells her the good news.
  • Al Neri tells Michael that he's tracked down Fabrizio, the man who murdered Michael's first wife, Apollonia. He now runs a pizza parlor in New York and is living under the name "Fred Vincent". He was brought to New York by Barzini.
  • A shot of four opera singers performing at the party.
  • A quick shot of Rocco berating one of his men.
  • Anthony runs towards the area where the buttonmen are sitting and Kay chases after him, warning him to stay away. She then grabs and hugs Anthony.
  • Pentangeli sits with Anthony and drinks a full glass of wine in one gulp. Then, he gives Anthony a $100 bill.
  • Al Neri goes to a casino and fires Klingman on orders of Michael. When Klingman won't leave, Neri smacks him, chases him into a rehearsal of a stage show and threatens him with a chair. Klingman agrees to leave, then Neri tells the performers to continue the rehearsal which he stays and watches.
  • Fabrizio gets into his car outside his pizza parlor. He turns the ignition, and the car explodes. He falls out of the car and crawls around a bit before he dies.
  • The final scene is Kay in a Catholic church lighting candles and praying.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Roger Corman (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Guantanamera
(uncredited)
Written by Julian Orbon, Pete Seeger, José Fernández Díaz,
Hector Angulo and José Martí
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent, but could be in the dictionary under "sprawl"
10 May 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

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.


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