Francis Coppola

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The Godfather Part II
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    1. A person whose profession is acting on the stage, in movies, or on television.
    2. A person who behaves in a way that is not genuine.

"The Godfather Part II was the first sequel ever to win the Oscar for best film."
- Paul Page

The Godfather Part II: Video On Demand: Rent or Buy




    Francis Ford Coppola, 1972

running time:
    200 minutes. Colour

    Coppola, Mario Puzo

    Gordon Willis

    Nino Rota

main cast:

  • best film
  • best director
  • best screenplay
  • best supporting actor (De Niro)
  • best art direction/set decoration (Dean Tavoularis, Angelo Graham, George R. Nelson)
  • best music
  • best original music (Rota, Carmine Coppola)

oscar nominations:
  • best actor (Pacino)
  • best supporting actor (Strasberg, Gazzo)
  • best supporting actress (Shire)
  • best costumes (Theadora Van Runkle)





For once the sequel is even better than the original. Part II is a fuller, deeper, more thoughtful film than the The Godfather, being less an examination of organised crime and gang warfare than a chilling study of the way power corrupts. Even the cinematography is sharper, colder.

Michael (Pacino) is now in command of the Corleone family and heading it towards respectability. No Brando here; instead we have Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone, whose early life is shown in flashback as he makes his way from Sicily through New York's Italian ghetto to the acquisition of power, the power which Michael inherits and uses ruthlessly to make the Corleone family paramount in Mafia circles. By the end of the film he has succeeded, but only at the cost of rejecting his wife Keaton and murdering both his brother-in-law and his own brother, Freddie (John Cazale).

The argument that Michael does what he does (including fratricide) only for the good of the family is less comvincing this time; nor, I think, are we meant to be convinced by it. His motive is ambition, the desire at any cost to control others. Om his final, brooding appearance he is virtually omnipotent, having slaughtered all his rivalsand enemies, but he is also alone, isolated by his own appalling achievements.

In 1977 Coppola edited the two films together, adding nearly an hour of hitherto unseen footage, to make The Godfather Saga for television. To this, no doubt, will eventually be added The Godfather Part III, which he directed in 1990. This, too, is an entertaining movie but not in the same class as its predecessors; it has the same big, lavish look, but somehow misses the epic scale that made the others so outstanding.


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