The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.
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@example.com>
Francis Ford Coppola originally wanted fellow director Elia Kazan to play Hyman Roth, but Kazan passed on the opportunity. On the DVD commentary track, Coppola detailed how he visited Kazan with the request, and remembered that Kazan was bare-chested. As an homage, Roth (Lee Strasberg) is bare-chested when Michael Corleone visits him. See more »
As Michael and his men head to Florida, there is an external shot of the front of the train they are traveling on. It is clearly a Union Pacific Railroad train with the bright yellow orange diesel engine with the UP emblem, blue wings with a red and blue shield. Their coverage is entirely west of the Mississippi River. See more »
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]
[subtitled from Italian]
They've killed the boy! They've killed young Paolo! They've killed your son Paolo!
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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 »
The original Godfather is a brilliant work. It is in a sense a voyeuristic delight, allowing us to see the mafia from the inside - we become part of the family. It single-handedly change the world's view of organized crime, and created a cast of sympathetic characters, none of whom have a shred of common morality. It was the highest grossing movie of its time and Brando created a cultural icon whose influence resonates as strong today as it did in 1972.
As extraordinary an achievement as this is, Part II is even better. It easily receives my nod as the best picture ever made. I have seen it at least 20 times, and each time its 200 minutes fly by.
The movie uses flashbacks to brilliantly weave two tales. The main story is the reign of Michael Corleone as the world's most powerful criminal. Now reaping the benefits of legalized gambling in Las Vegas, Michael is an evident billionaire with an iron fist on a world of treachery.
Behind this, Director Francis Ford Coppola spins the tale of the rise of Michael's father, Vito, to the center of the New York mafia. It is these scenes that make the film a work of art. Without spoiling, I will simply say the Robert DeNiro as the young Vito is the best acting performance of all time, a role for which he won a richly deserved Oscar.
The screenplay is full of delicious little underworld nuggets ("Keep your friends close .....", "I don't want to kill everyone, just my enemies"), while it blows a dense, twisted plot past you at a dizzying and merciless pace. The cinematography is depressing and atmospheric. The score continues in the eerie role of its predecessor, foretelling death and evil.
All of this makes the movie great and infinitely watchable. But it's what's deeper inside this film ... what it is really about ... that is its true genius.
The Godfather Part II is not really a movie about the mafia, it is a movie about a man's life long struggle. Michael controls a vast empire that is constantly slipping out of his hands. He grows increasingly distrustful and paranoid, and even shows signs that he hates his own life. Michael almost seems to resent the fact that he is a natural born crime lord, a man who puts the family business ahead of everything.
The great Don Michael Corleone can never come to terms with one simple fact.... his father's empire was built on love and respect, Michael's empire is built on fear and violent treachery.
See this movie. It's three-and-a-half hours very well spent.
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