Monday, November 14, 2011

Movie of the Week – The Godfather: Part II

This week’s movie is The Godfather: Part II (1974).

The film picks up a few years after the events of The Godfather. It is split between Michael’s struggle to expand his empire and the beginnings of his father Vitto coming to New York as a small boy and growing into ‘The Godfather’. Like Part I, the film is written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and he bought back his same crew with composer Nino Rota, cinematographer Gordon Willis and production designer Dean Tavoularis. Most of the cast returns as well with Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, and Talia Shire all reprising their roles. The film also features excellent performances from newcomers to the series, chiefly: Robert De Niro (who won an Oscar for his work), Michael Gazzo, Lee Strasberg, and Bruno Kirby. The film won the 1975 Oscar for Best Picture, Coppola Best Director (among other Oscars) and is number 32 on AFI’s Top 100 American Films of all-time (it is the only sequel to make the list). However, many critics call it even better than the first, claiming it is one of the few films to top the original in a series (though it is more common outside of drama: Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, From Russia with Love, The Two Towers, and many would say The Empire Strikes Back). Coppola had a tough time directing the first film and wanted to only stay on as a producer and hire another director. He chose Martin Scorsese, however the financiers negated him and Coppola agreed to return to the director’s chair. At the time, the only film of note that Scorsese had made was Mean Streets. Along with The Godfather, this is one of the most iconic crime dramas (gangster films) and a must-see. Check out the trailer.

Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Streaming

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