81 Days With Oscar And Me

Every Academy Award-Winning Movie, Back to Back, Starting With the First

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Godfather: Part II, The

October 5th, 2009 · No Comments · 1974, Adaptation, Al Pacino, Color, Composer: Nino Rota, Diane Keaton, Drama, Francis Ford Coppola, Godfather: Part II, John Cazale, Paramount Studios, Robert De Niro, Talia Shire

The Godfather: Part II Just when you thought the saga of the Corleone family was over, along comes the sequel to The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, which also won an Oscar for Best Picture.

Part II opens with the backstory of Vito Corleone, an orphaned lad in Sicily who comes to American and later grows up to become Don Vito Corleone, the head of the family in the first Godfather movie.

Flashbacks can be done poorly and distract from a movie. But not in this case. The flashbacks in The Godfather: Part II are riveting, thoroughly engrossing, beautifully filmed. It’s great to see two of my favorite actors in them, Robert De Niro and Bruno Kirby, who was just 25. Kirby went on to co-star in one of my favorite movies, City Slickers (1991), which also starred Billy Crystal. De Niro, who was a very skinny 31 years old in this movie, went on to star in many of the most famous movies of all time, including The Deer Hunter (1978), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Heat (1995), and Stardust (2007).

The entire movie is chock-full of memorable scenes. But a few images, in particular, stand out in my mind. One of them is Fredo, Micheal Corleone’s “weak and stupid” older brother, sitting in the boat, fishing. Another stand-out image is the confrontation between Kay and Michael. Their domestic argument culminates in Kay’s outburst, “It was an abortion, Michael!” The look on Pacino’s face is amazing, the teary-eyed surprised replaced by a flush of rage.

The only criticism I have of The Godfather: Part II is that it’s nearly four hours long. That’s asking a lot, even of a fan of the first movie.

THE CAST
Al Pacino (1940- )…………………………Don Michael Corleone
Robert Duvall (1931- )……………………Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton (1946- )……………………Kay Corleone
Robert De Niro (1943- )………………….Vito Corleone
John Cazale (9135-1978)………………..Fredo Corleone
Talia Shire (1946- )………………………..Connie Corleone
Lee Strasberg (1901-1982)………………Hyman Roth
Michael V. Gazzo (1923-1995)…………Frankie Pentangeli
G.D. Spradlin (1920- )…………………….Senator Pat Geary
Richard Bright (1937-2006)…………….Al Neri
Gastone Moschin (1929- )……………….Don Fanucci
Tom Rosqui (1928-1991)…………………Rocco Lampone
Bruno Kirby (1949-2006)………………..Young Peter Clemenza

Directed By
Francis Ford Coppola (1939- )
Writing Credits
Mario Puzo (1920-1999)
Francis Ford Coppola

Some people say The Godfather: Part II is better than the original. In many ways, it is. But the first movie has something the second one doesn’t: Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone. I love The Godfather: Part II. But nothing can overshadow the original in my mind.

The Godfather: Part II was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won six: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert De Niro), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Director (Francis Ford Coppola), Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Best Picture, and Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material (Francis Ford Coppola, Mario Puzo). Thought nominated, Al Pacino didn’t win. Again.

The Godfather: Part II is drama at its finest, a study in the destruction of a family – and of a man’s soul – like no other.

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