Urban Cinefile
"It starts with me waking up naked in a cold bath, not a great way to introduce yourself to a strange crew."  -Rufus Sewell, star of Dark City
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday July 21, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



The continuing saga of the famed trilogy, The Godfather Part II serves as both a sequel to the original and a prologue. The two storylines are told parallel to each other, and follow the life of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) as the now firmly established head of the Corleone crime family, as he struggles with an attempt on his life and trying to legitimise the family business, as well as detailing the early years of his father Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), as he flees Italy after his parents are murdered by a local mob boss to begin his new life in America.

Review by Craig Miller:
Well, what can anyone write about The Godfather Part II that hasn't been written before? To casually comment on its importance would be a criminal understatement, to build it up to the giddy heights it should enjoy as a classic would be just typical praise. If there is one thing that should be said though, it's that Francis Ford Coppola proves that behind every grand masterpiece, there is another.

The Godfather Part II is every bit the equal of its stunning predecessor, it runs with the strong themes of the first, but this second chapter in the great cinematic trilogy takes us on a much more personal and complex journey through the lives of a father and son and how these men are formed; a history of life, the establishing of honour, and the importance of family.

The telling of the two stories is genius from Coppola. The youngest Corleone boy Michael, played masterfully by Al Pacino, now the head of the family and still coming to terms with his own ideals and the position in which he finds himself, is wonderfully juxtaposed against the early life of his father Vito, an equally brilliant Bobby De Niro, as he struggles to make a life for himself in New York when he migrates to America after an attack on his family.

The wonderfully orchestrated script details the lives of this father and son in a way that not only shows their strengths, weaknesses and highlights family dynamics and disconnections, but is able to successfully show how the friendships and relationships that these two men form and pride themselves on are built on nothing but a foundation of lies, mistrust and murder. How their very lives are lies, how they profess the importance of family and life and murder in the name of honour, its powerful stuff.

As Michael states: "If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it's that you can kill anyone."

I still get goose bumps.

Every performance in this is worthy of an essay sized comment, from the major players like Pacino, De Niro and the marvelous Diane Keaton through to the background dancers in the Communion celebration scene and the extra pushing a cart down the street in early 1900s New York. Everything just works.

You could literally write for hours on the make-up of Coppola's Godfather II masterpiece, commenting on the complexities, subtle nuances and perfectly organised and executed delivery, but really, what would be the point. I have no intention of ruining this film for those readers who have not experienced it, but what I will say is this: a movie life without this movie is no life at all!

Published December 2, 2004

Email this article

(US, 1974)

CAST: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo

DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola

SCRIPT: Francis Ford Coppola & Mario Puzo

RUNNING TIME: 192 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 1.85:1, Dolby Digital 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola.


DVD RELEASE: November 11, 2004

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018