Godfather: Part II, The
The expansive second part of Francis Ford Coppola’s Mafia saga continues the Corleone family story, charting in parallel young Vito’s earlier rise to prominence.
“The whole picture is informed with such a complex sense of the intermingling of good and evil that it may be the most passionately felt epic ever made in this country.”
Pauline Kael, The New Yorker, 1974
Sequels had not yet become the Hollywood norm when Francis Ford Coppola signed up for a continuation to his hugely successful 1972 adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather, but this second film set a high standard for follow-ups in the way that it enriches and deepens the Corleone family narrative.
Ranging over multiple locations, Coppola’s film ambitiously intertwines two time periods: the story of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) becoming increasingly consumed and isolated by his new power as head of the family, and flashbacks to his father Vito Corleone’s (Robert De Niro) arrival as an immigrant in New York, and his gradual ascent to power.
The project’s ambition did not go unrecognised: like the first film, it won best picture at the 1974 Academy Awards.
Coppola completed his chronicles of the Corleone family sixteen years later, with The Godfather Part III (1990).