( Note: This post first appeared in cinebuff.wordpress.com. b)
The kernel of the film is same as what Machiavelli in his book The Prince seems to say. The book was meant for Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent. Of course the Medicis of another age and clime hold parallel to the Corleone family in as far as that they could acquire power and maintain it. As Medicis before them the Corleone family embody the American Dream and in it they didn’t have such taste or luck as the Medicis had. Michaelangelo under the aegis of the Corleone family surely would have churned out kitsch by dozens. The film has no pretensions to art and culture but is a crime drama. In order to ensure success what a bloody trail the Corleones leave in their wake? The Machiavellian methods dictated a course that is violent and amoral. After all given the stakes involved, the warring parties cannot then as now afford to let their objectives clouded by fine sensibilities. In this context the film quote “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” has the directness of a thrust from a stilleto or a spray of bullets from a machine gun. The second part of the Godfather is the saga of Vito Corleone from his childhood in Sicily (1901) to his founding of the criminal Corleone Family in New York City while still a young man (1917–1925) and like the Prince is a modern treatise for any one who would want to maintain his position acquired by fair means or foul.
The plot includes two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone following the events of the first movie from 1958 to 1959 and the other his father is a series of flashbacks. In the present, Michael Corleone attempt to steer the family business towards respectability but at great cost to his own relationships. Even his own brother, Freddie (John Cazale) is sacrificed to Michael’s grim and ultimately pointless determination. The Godfather Part II became the first sequel ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and garnered and even bigger Oscar haul than The Godfather. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo the film stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, and Talia Shire. New cast members include Robert De Niro( who won the Best Supporting Actor) , Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Strasberg.
Trivia: Paramount was initially opposed to name the movie The Godfather Part II. According to Coppola, the studio’s objection stemmed from the belief that audiences would be reluctant to see a film with such a title. The success of The Godfather Part II began the Hollywood tradition of numbered sequels.
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
* Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
* Robert De Niro as Young Vito Corleone
* Diane Keaton as Kay Corleone
* John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
* Talia Shire as Connie Corleone
* Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
* Michael V. Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli
* Morgana King as Mama Carmella Corleone
* G.D. Spradlin as Senator Pat Geary
* Richard Bright as Al Neri
* Marianna Hill as Deanna Corleone
* Gastone Moschin as Don Fanucci
* Troy Donahue as Merle Johnson
The Godfather Part II ranks among the most critically and artistically successful film sequels in movie history, and is the most honored. Many critics praise it as equal, or even superior, to the original film.
…a sumptuous flamboyant entertainment – not a work of art perhaps but a rich, enjoyable wallow of a movie.
~ Barry Norman, 100 Best Films of the Century