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Godfather: Part II, The (1974)

Relieved of the need to be faithful to Mario Puzo’s novel, Director Francis Ford Coppola embarked on a sequel with an unusual theme – crime as capitalism.

This follow-up to the hugely successful Godfather (1972) used extensive flashbacks to highlight the juxtaposition between the youth of Vito Corleone and the problems of his son Michael 50 years later as the mob threatens to break apart under Congressional scrutiny.

Breathtaking in scope, we see the early life of the Don, brilliantly portrayed by Robert De Niro, as he flees Sicily and sails for New York.


The later sequences, with Michael (Al Pacino) in Cuba, are clumsy and confusing, though the climax is as chilling as the look on Michael’s face when he realises that even Family members can be rubbed out.

A brilliant supporting cast (especially legendary Actors Studio director Lee Strasberg making his film debut, aged seventy-one) and superb direction, screenplay, score and art direction ensured a clean sweep at the Oscars, winning six Academy Awards (including Best Film and Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro).

Pacino gives a monumental performance, and it was an equally monumental crime that he never won an Oscar for it.

third and final sequel completed the Corleone family trilogy in 1990 showing an ageing Michael dividing his time between politics and gangster activities, with the corruption spreading all the way to the Vatican.


The Godfather II was the first time a director had been paid $1 million upfront, in addition to a percentage of the gross (Coppola had received just $60,000 to make The Godfather).

Michael Corleone
Al Pacino
Tom Hagen
Robert Duvall
Kay Corleone
Diane Keaton
Vito Corleone
Robert De Niro
Talia Shire
Fredo Corleone
John Cazale
Hyman Roth
Lee Strasberg
Frank Pentangeli
Michael V Gazzo
Al Neri
Richard Bright
Gaston Moschin
Frank Sivero
Mama Corleone
Morgana King
Deanna Corleone
Marianna Hill
Merle Johnson
Troy Donahue
Willie Cicci
Joe Spinell
Abe Vigoda
Mrs Marcia Roth
Fay Spain
Vito’s mother
Maria Carta
Senator Pat Geary
G D Spradlin
Rocco Lampone
Tom Rosqui
FBI agent
Harry Dean Stanton
Sonny Corleone
James Caan

Francis Ford Coppola