The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part II ★★★★

Francis Ford Coppola’s multi-Oscar-winning drama sequel recounts the early life of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and Michael’s (Al Pacino) rise to power. Also starring Diane Keaton, Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strasberg and Talia Shire.

The Godfather: Part II is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed sequel The Godfather, which won three Academy Awards, including the top prize. Now, the success of that led to the second instalment of the Godfather trilogy. The final product is exactly like the first – very decent but not an easy watch.

The captivating sequel to ‘The Godfather’, which was released two years earlier, Part II shows the conflicting the life of Corleone father and son. It hints the difficulties of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in nineteen-fifty-eight and that of a young settler Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in 1917's Hell's Kitchen. Michael endures lots of bad luck and Vito is familiarised to a life of corruption.

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro both give very good performances in their respective roles as Michael and Vito Corleone, the son-and-father involved, with Vito’s part of the story being told in flashback. They both suit their roles well.

Elsewhere, there are solid supporting performances to be had from Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strasberg and Talia Shire in their respective roles as Frank Pentangeli, Hyman Roth and Connie Corleone. Frank is the head of the Corleone family who is annoyed by Michael’s actions; Hyman is Michael’s business partner who helps him out as much as possible; Connie is Vito’s daughter.

Also, Diane Keaton gives a respectable performance reprising her part as Kay Corleone, Michael’s wife.

The direction from Coppola is very good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a very tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by as they make the movie good to follow.

The technical aspects that stand out best are the set, camera, music, costume and editing, because the set is terrific to look at; the camera makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense moments well, which get the edge-of-the-seat status; the music is enjoyable to listen to; the costumes are very nicely designed; the film is edited to a fantastic effect.

The movie managed to win six Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), Best Supporting Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Adapted Screenplay (Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo), Best Production Design and Best Original Score (Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola).

As a result, The Godfather: Part II made history, as it became the first sequel to win the top prize at the Academy Awards. However, I don’t consider Part II to be the best film to have been made in the year of this release.

The Academy also nominated the movie for Best Actor (Al Pacino), Best Supporting Actor (Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Strasberg), Best Supporting Actress (Talia Shire) and Best Costume Design (Theadora Van Runkle).

At the British Academy Film Awards, Al Pacino won the prize for Best Actor, while it also got recognised for Best Film Music, Best Film Editing and Most Promising Newcomer (Robert De Niro).

At the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated The Godfather: Part II for six prizes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), Best Actor – Drama (Al Pacino), Best Screenplay (Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo), Best Original Score (Nino Rota) and Most Promising Male Newcomer (Lee Strasberg).

The reason I don’t consider The Godfather: Part II to be the best film from this year is because the pace can be very slow at times, so the duration definitely didn’t need to be 200 minutes long.

The Godfather: Part II wouldn't be the only movie that Francis Ford Coppola would make in 1974, as he also directed Gene Hackman in The Conversation. However, The Conversation has been completely overshadowed by The Godfather: Part II.

Overall, The Godfather: Part II is a decent sequel, due to the very good performances from Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strasberg and Talia Shire, along with the direction, script and tense atmosphere. The downside being the slow pace and long duration.

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