Anthony's Film Review
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The second Godfather film is made just as well as its predecessor...
The Godfather: Part II is one of those rare high-quality movie sequels. It manages to deliver all of what made the first film great, thanks to the director, Francis Ford Coppola, who directed the first Godfather and returns for the second. Also consider that The Godfather: Part II won the Academy Award for Best Picture, just like the original Godfather. For a sequel to be as award-winning as its predecessor is a very rare feat. That should say a lot about how good this film is.
As expected, the second Godfather continues after the end of the first one. Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) is the new Godfather running a Mafia empire, taking over for his father Vito. Just like his father, Michael is a powerful man who always gets the upper hand in whatever business deal can benefit his organization. Aside from that, Michael is now married to Kay (played by Diane Keaton) and has children of his own. The coexistence of organized crime and family here is similar to that in the first Godfather.
That's not to say that the two exist in harmony. If anything, one clashes with the other and threatens to destroy it. Basically, there is an attempt on Michael's life as he and Kay hit the floor while machine gun fire blasts through their bedroom window. This mystery becomes a seething question for Michael, who suspects a traitor in his crime family. Interestingly enough, the world of crime threatens to destroy family in another way. As illustrated by a powerful dialogue between Michael and Kay late in the film, it becomes clear that Michael really cares more about his business than his wife and kids.
While The Godfather: Part II is a sequel, it is also partly a prequel. A few times in this 3-hour-and-20-minute epic, the movie goes back and forth between Michael Corleone and the young Vito Corleone. The backstory of Vito gives us some insight into the first Godfather. Apparently, Vito's real name was Vito Andolini, and Corleone was the town he grew up in. His name becomes Vito Corleone once a U.S. immigration officer refers to him as such. As for his journey into the Mafia, it is influenced by clashes with two Mafia dons: one when Vito is nine years old and one when Vito is a man living in New York (the latter played by Robert De Niro).
Vito's storyline is fascinating in that it focuses a lot on his life as an Italian immigrant in America. He lives in a small apartment with his wife and children (one of whom is, of course, Michael as a baby) and works in a shop selling olive oil and cheese. He is like any poor person, and it is perhaps poverty that drives Vito into the world of crime. Later, Vito is older with a mustache and is asked to help people at a disadvantage. With this and his desire to take matters into his own hands, Vito slowly becomes the character portrayed in the first Godfather film.
When you have two storylines, the question that naturally comes to mind is how they are connected, because they ought to be if they're in the same film. I will not go into too much detail, and I'll let you discover the connections for yourself. I will say, though, that any connections between Michael and Vito Corleone are not too obvious. But if you ponder on them enough, you may be able to discern how Vito influences young Michael and how the adult Michael is similar to, or different from, his father.
Just like the first Godfather in 1972, the second Godfather in 1974 is a gripping crime drama with great performances by the cast, especially Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Basically, if you love the first Godfather, you 'll love the second one. It's a cinematic classic that, like any big offer, you can't refuse (to partly quote Vito Corleone).
For more information about The Godfather: Part II, visit the Internet Movie Database.