Monday, December 8, 2014


“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s THE GODFATHER PART II. 

An American crime epic which is often regarded as superior to the 1972, Oscar-winning THE GODFATHER, PART II would serve as a prequel and sequel to that original film; its two parallel dramas involving the 1958 storyline of Michael Corleone, and the prequel portion covering the journey of his father, Vito, from immigrant to the head of one of the most powerful crime families in America. 

Director Francis Ford Coppola would re-team with writer Mario Puzo, who wrote the first GODFATHER, to write the screenplay. Also returning would be Al Pacino in the lead role, and he would be joined again by Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, and Talia Shire. Newcomers included Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, G.D. Spradlin, and Robert De Niro as the young Vito. James Caan would reprise his role as Sonny in a brief cameo. Marlon Brando, who played Vito in the original film, initially agreed to return, but failed to show up for his single day’s shooting. Coppola re-wrote the scene that same day and PART II would run without him. 

The film would be the first major motion picture to use “PART II” in the title, and would open the door for decades of franchised sequels in cinema. It would be nominated for nine Oscars that year, winning six; which included Best Picture, Director, Actor in a Supporting Role (DeNiro), Best Screenplay, Music, and Art Direction-Set Decoration. It appears on several of the American Film Institute’s All-time lists, and is often argued as not only the best sequel ever made, but as one of the best films ever. In 1993 THE GODFATHER PART II was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry. 


Each year, this Blogger revisits the GODFATHER saga in November, just before Thanksgiving, and each year, walks away with a different impression of the film. It’s dual narratives builds a multi-layered  film; loaded with memories, family, betrayal, life, and love…and it is the perfect example of what film can do. As a sequel, it succeeds not only in going bigger, but by going deeper; exploring characters and the human condition fully. During this year’s viewing, this Blogger had a revelation when realizing that the film begins and ends the same way; with the death of a brother. Even after countless viewings over the years, this angle didn’t come apparent until this year’s viewing, and that speaks to the endless amount of discovery that THE GODFATHER PART II will always hold. It is timeless, and a true landmark in cinema. 

“I know it was you, Fredo…”

No comments:

Post a Comment

A few rules:
1. Personal attacks not tolerated.
2. Haters welcome, if you can justify it.
3. Swearing is goddamn OK.