The Godfather: Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. It is the sequel to the 1972 film The Godfather.
Partially based on Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather, the film is both sequel and prequel to The Godfather, presenting parallel dramas: one picks up the 1958 story of Michael Corleone (Pacino), the new Don of the Corleone crime family, protecting the family business in the aftermath of an attempt on his life; the prequel covers the journey of his father, Vito Corleone (De Niro), from his Sicilian childhood to the founding of his family enterprise in New York City.
Why It Rocks
- The immensely beautiful story of family with the lives of father & son being juxtaposed and paralleled in such a poetic and Shakesperian manner, making for one of the greatest stories in cinematic history.
- Career defining performances from legendary acting maestros such as Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Each deliver among the best performances of their career in this spectacular movie.
- Francis Ford Coppola's direction is stunning and masterful as he directs and tells the story of the film in a masterful way that would give Shakespeare a run for his money.
- Fantastic writing.
- Beautiful and haunting score.
- Masterful cinematography.
- It is perhaps one of the few sequels to exceed the original in terms of storytelling, character development and strength.
Initial critical reception of The Godfather Part II was divided, with some dismissing the work and others declaring it superior to the first film. While its cinematography and acting were immediately acclaimed, many criticized it as overly slow-paced and convoluted. Vincent Canby viewed the film as "stitched together from leftover parts. It talks. It moves in fits and starts but it has no mind of its own. The plot defies any rational synopsis." Stanley Kauffmann of The New Republic accused the story of featuring "gaps and distentions". Amildly positive Roger Ebert wrote that the flashbacks "give Coppola the greatest difficulty in maintaining his pace and narrative force. The story of Michael, told chronologically and without the other material, would have had really substantial impact, but Coppola prevents our complete involvement by breaking the tension." Though praising Pacino's performance and lauding Coppola as "a master of mood, atmosphere, and period", Ebert considered the chronological shifts of its narrative "a structural weakness from which the film never recovers".
The film quickly became the subject of a critical reevaluation. Whether considered separately or with its predecessor as one work, The Godfather Part II is now widely regarded as one of the greatest films in world cinema. Many critics compare it favorably with the original – although it is rarely ranked higher on lists of "greatest" films. Roger Ebert awarded it a full four stars in a second review and inducted the film into his Great Movies section, praising the work as "grippingly written, directed with confidence and artistry, photographed by Gordon Willis in rich, warm tones."Michael Sragow's conclusion in his 2002 essay, selected for the National Film Registry web site, is that "although “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II” depict an American family’s moral defeat, as a mammoth, pioneering work of art it remains a national creative triumph."
The Godfather Part II:
- Was featured on Sight & Sound's list of the ten greatest films of all time in 1992 and 2002.
- Is ranked #7 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "100 Greatest Movies of All Time".
- Received only two negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and a 97% approval rating, 2 points less than The Godfather, but 30 points more than The Godfather Part III.
- Is ranked #1 on TV Guide's 1998 list of the "50 Greatest Movies of All Time on TV and Video".
Many believe Pacino's performance in The Godfather Part II is his finest acting work, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was criticized for awarding the Academy Award for Best Actor that year to Art Carney for his role in Harry and Tonto. It is now regarded as one of the greatest performances in film history. In 2006, Premiere issued its list of "The 100 Greatest Performances of all Time", putting Pacino's performance at #20.Later in 2009, Total Film issued "The 150 Greatest Performances of All Time", ranking Pacino's performance fourth place.
The Godfather: Part II currently holds a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 and a critic consensus that reads "Drawing on strong performances by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola's continuation of Mario Puzo's Mafia saga set new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.
Today, the film is widely accepted as a cinematic masterpiece, and like its predecessor, among the greatest movies of all time.
Awards and nominations
The Godfather: Part II was nominated for eleven Academy Awards. It won six including Best Picture. Robert De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and Francis Ford Coppola won for Best Director. However, Al Pacino did not win the Academy Award for Best Actor, one of the biggest controversies in Oscars history.