Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1974. Paramount Pictures, The Coppola Company. Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo, based on the novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Cinematography by Gordon Willis. Produced by Francis Ford Coppola. Music by Nino Rota. Production Design by Dean Tavoularis. Costume Design by Theadora Van Runkle. Film Editing by Barry Malkin, Richard Marks, Peter Zinner. Academy Awards 1974. Golden Globe Awards 1974.
Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo followed the enormous success of The Godfather with this superb sequel, one that instead of cashing in on the success of its predecessor actually surpasses it and tells an even more impressive story. Now that young Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) has taken over the family, he has given in so much to the seduction of money and power that it has made him paranoid of even his own relatives. In between glimpses of the mafia world entering the modern age are scenes that detail the young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and his beginnings in turn-of-the-century New York City. Gordon Willis’ cinematography is even more poetic than it was the first time around, and the epic length is never for a minute taxing on your patience as a viewer. All the performances are superb, from Pacino’s commanding leading role to Diane Keaton‘s taking more centre stage as his exasperated wife Kay. Probably the most impressive moments in the film, however, come from John Cazale‘s marvelous work as the young brother Fredo; his pitiful experience is the emotional centre of the film. Really powerful stuff, and my personal favourite in the trilogy.