60/60 Review #46: The Godfather Part II.

I've only seen The Godfather once, and it was a few years ago, hence why only the second and third are on this list. Now, I'm not sure if the fact I haven't seen it in a while adds or detracts anything from the viewing of its sequel. I'm also not sure if it even matters. The majority of films on this 60/60 List are reviewable because while they might universally be considered classics or essentials, they aren't all necessarily universally loved and adored--if that makes sense. However, there are a handful of films on this list that surpass opinion. So far, such have been films like Citizen Kane or Casablanca. The Godfather Part II is not only considered one of the best sequels of all time, but one of the best films ever made (generally found in most film snobs Top 5s and/or 10s), and some argue it even better than the original. Even as of this review, it's in the #3 spot on the imdb Top 250 (whatever that means to you). Long story short, it's damn pointless to review this film.

But I'm gonna do it anyway. Just because.

This is both a prequel and a sequel, giving us two parallel stories juxtaposed against each other. First is the rise of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) and how he inevitably became The Godfather. The second is of his son, Michael (Al Pacino), and his fall as he tries to take hold of and control the family business. The film co-also stars Diane Keaton, John Cazale, and Robert Duvall.

The best way to look at this is to look at the two segments separately and then together. I found the De Niro flashback segments to be the best parts of the film. It was the more interesting half by far, and I actually cared about his rise to power (despite knowing his fate from the first film). De Niro is pretty excellent in the role, especially imitating Marlon Brando's voice from the first film... while simultaneously speaking almost entirely in Italian. But I suppose he did win an Oscar for this role for a reason. Part of me wishes more of the film (or even the majority of it) would have followed this part of the story instead.

The Pacino segments were decent in their own right, and he definitely gained back some of the respect and credibility I'd lost from him over the last couple films (granted, this one came before it, but still). He did very good. That being said, this side of the film wasn't really that exciting to me. I didn't care about the characters or what was going on. The family drama was dull (except for the whole "who betrayed him?" part, but that was only near the beginning. Also, the "abortion" scene was very well done and intense and heartbreaking). And unfortunately, there was more of this part of the film than the other. It wasn't bad or poorly done or anything--it just wasn't for me.

As they're juxtaposed, it works pretty well. And the pacing is pretty good. For the most part, it's kept pretty even. You'll get a long segment of one, then a long segment of the other; a short for one, a short for the other. But there are times when it's not so even and you can tell (and, as you can probably figure, it's usually in favor of the Pacino segments).

I'm not going to review the quality of this film. As an understatement, it's good. The music, cinematography, acting, etc... as I've said before, it's considered one of the greatest films ever made and it won 6 Oscars. There's a reason for all of that. Films of poor quality don't typically reach those standards. So instead, I can only review it on entertainment level, and as we know... entertainment value changes on a person-to-person basis. So for me, I enjoyed half the movie quite a bit; the other half of the movie... was alright. And the length (oh yeah, you knew I wasn't gonna let that slide)? 3 and a half hours... I'd actually say it's not too far off the length it should be. I'd say it could probably lose 30-45 minutes, most of it in the first half. But that's a bit too long for an adequate evening enjoyment. All of that being said, my scoring based on my personal entertainment level would be...

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. Let the hatred begin.)


  1. I quite agree with everything said. The Pacino stuff was alright, but I didn't love it; but Vito's rise to power - now that was good material, and, like you said, easily the most entertaining aspect of the film. Good review, Nick.

  2. Well... good to know I'm not alone! I figured I was gonna get reemed for not adoring this one.

  3. No hatred from me to be had. I like the sequel, but in no way do I feel it every surpassed the original.

    The narrative, juxtaposed with two storyline(s), drags on far too long.

    It's a good film, not a great one. De Niro is the best part of this though.

    Just to end this comment, was it just me ... or did Godfather Part 2 feel as if it was lacking its OWN story ...

    Just a few observations, granted it has been about a half year since I last saw it.

    Nice review Nick.

  4. Duke: It did have its own story... unfortunately, it was all in Pacino's half, which was pretty dull. So it's interesting that De Niro's half, which is more of an extension on the first film, is the best part.

  5. I think , the first watch of Part II, gives the impression it is better than the first. Two stories alongside each other mean you never get bored - when one film is uninteresting, you happily wait for the other. But, after watching the films many more times since, the incredibly gentle and sinister change in Pacino i I is so much more superior to II whereby the Cuba stuff drags and DeNiro 'going back' to kill the man who killed his mother drags a little. Thats not to say its a bad film at all - i still love it - but in comparison to the first, Part II would get 9.5/10 whilst Part I would get 10/10.

  6. I'm not a huge fan of the first Godfather film, and I enjoyed the second more because I REALLY liked the Vito story. But the Michael parts were like all the things that vaguely bored me in Part I, except more boring. I did like the juxtaposition between the Vito and Michael stories, though - the balance was just weighted too much toward Michael.

    The abortion scene is fantastic, though.

  7. Simon: It's been a while since I saw the first one, so I couldn't say. I'm not a huge fan of mafia films as it is. I respect what the Godfather films are... they just aren't my cup of tea.

    Jandy: Hi! Yeah, I'm pretty much with you there. But like I said, it's been too long since I saw the first film that I don't want to unjustly talk mess about it. From what I remember, I had similar feelings to the second. I liked it in some parts and was bored in others. But that's not 100%.


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