Stereoactive Movie Club Ep 18 // The Godfather Part II

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 'The Godfather Part II' manages to build, deepen, and perhaps even surpass the first installment.

Stereoactive Movie Club Ep 18 // The Godfather Part II
Stereoactive Movie Club Round Three (Mia's Pick)
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It’s Mia’s 3rd pick: The Godfather Part II, the 1974 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather Part II both continues the story begun in the first film and also deepens it by depicting what came before. We watch as Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone continues in the family business, building his empire while trying to hold on to his family, both actual and figurative. This is crosscut with a portrayal of his father Vito’s rise from an unfortunate child in Sicily to a respected man in New York, as deftly played by Robert DeNiro. We watch as the older man builds his empire in order to, as he seems to view it, strengthen his family, just as the younger man causes his family to weaken as he extends his father’s empire.

Mario Puzo, the author of the novel on which the first movie and the overall saga were based, began working on the script for Part II before the first movie was even released. And, at least according to Coppola, the production of this followup was much smoother than that of the first film, as that installement’s success afforded him greater opportunity for control and independence from the studio, Paramount Pictures. It was released in December of 1974 and, though the critical reception was mixed at first – with the film’s structure drawing the most consternation – reassessments began sooner than often happens.

In addition to being the big winner at the Academy Awards that year, the film was also the 6th highest grossing film of 1974 in North America. The Godfather Part II was included in AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list in 1998, ranked at #32… and it stayed in the same spot when that list was updated in 2007.

For our purposes, it gets a little messy – the film ranked #9 on Sight and Sound Magazine’s survey of directors in 1992… But when it was paired with Part 1 for the the survey in 2002, the 2 films collectively came it at #4 on the critics poll and at #2 on the directors poll.

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