When absorbed together with its predecessor, "The Godfather: Part II" forms the true Noah's Ark of American narrative filmmaking. It's all there - murder, revenge, betrayal, intrigue, familial drama, corruption, fratricide, weddings, communions, baptisms, power ascent and moral descent...and so much more. All of it so familiar by now, it's quite easy to take for granted, because, as we all know - familiarity breeds contempt. But the breadth and depth of these films are so stunning, the mastery of each of their artistic elements so complete, that any doubts as to their iconic place in the canon disappear like Michael Corleone's enemies.
With a tip of a hat to Orson Welles, "The Godfather" I and II are the only successful attempts at portraying the arc of American Character as a Shakespearean, even Greek tragedy, all the while fully connecting as pieces of mesmerizing popular entertainment. In that, their combined legacy is unassailable.