The Godfather: Part II (1974)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 57 mins

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Embedded with fierce action and fiery emotion, this masterfully crafted gangster story presents two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone in 1958/1959 after the events of the first movie; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone from 1917 to 1925, from his youth in Sicily (1901) to the founding of the Corleone family in New York. The parallel narrative weaves back and forth between the experiences that moulded the father, Vito into successfully establishing the Corleone crime family, while growing up in Sicily and in 1910s New York; and the attempts of his son, Michael Corleone in the 1950s, to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Hollywood and Cuba.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Al Pacino, Diane Keaton

Crew: Francis Ford Coppola (Director), Gordon Willis (Director of Photography), Nino Rota (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Crime, Drama

Release Dates: 24 Dec 1974 (India)

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Did you know? Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro are the only two actors to ever win separate Oscars for playing the same character. Brando won Best Actor for The Godfather (1972) and De Niro won Best Supporting Actor for this movie, both in the role of Vito Corleone. Read More
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Movie Connection(s):
Follows: The Godfather (English)
Audio/Video Mismatch
After the attempted assassination on Michael, Tom and Rocco are overlooking the discovery of the dead bodies in the water. When Rocco turns away from Tom to ask where Michael is, his lips do not move while the soundtrack says "Where's Mike?".

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Vito and Genco go to the theatre, and watch the 'Senza Mama' show, the singer's voice is clearly out of sync with the words of the song.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When the mule used to sneak young Vito past Don Ciccio's men walks through the piazza, we hear the clacking of it's hooves. However, the piazza seems to be covered in dirt, rather than stone.

Character Error
The Chairman of the Senate Investigating Committee points out 1947 as the year Michael Corleone kills Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCloskey; but in The Godfather it was established as happening in 1946.

Character Error
When Michael reads his prepared statement to the Senate committee he states that he received the Navy Cross for his wartime service; however, in The Godfather he wears the ribbon for the Silver Star instead.

Shortly after the assassination attempt on Michael in his bedroom, he meets alone in a room with Tom Hagen. They sit at an empty table. After talking for a few minutes, Michael offers Tom a glass of Courvoisier, from a bottle which has randomly materialized on the table.

During Roth's birthday party, the pattern on his shirt changes. Due to weather difficulties, the two minute scene took over a week to shoot and the original shirt was lost at some point. The production designer attempted to recreate it by drawing an approximation of the pattern onto a plain shirt, but it didn't quite match.

Character Error
During the shooting into the Corleones' bedroom, the mirror on the dresser shows Kay sliding off her side of the bed as soon as the gunshots pierce the window and at this point her pillow is vertical. But as Michael crawls to Kay's side of the bed, she's back on top, waiting for him to pull her down, and her pillow is now laying flat.

At the end of the movie in the flashback, they talk about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor happening "on Pop's birthday". The Pearl Harbor attacks were on December 7, but according to his tombstone, in The Godfather, Vito's date of birth is April 29.

In Havana, when Fredo and Michael are talking around a table in the bar, a lit cigarette appears suddenly in the Fredo's previously empty right hand.

At the New Year's Eve party in the Cuban ballroom, there is in aerial shot that clearly shows Michael with his hands around Fredo's face amidst a very crowded room to deliver "you broke my heart". However this had not taken place yet because Michael is eating at the end of the table with Fredo and Senator Geary *before* the midnight celebration. "You broke my heart" comes after the stroke of midnight. Also, the room was far less crowded as they were eating when a unit of soldiers march thru the middle of the ballroom.

The carpet that Clemenza starts to roll up before he is interrupted by the knock at the door, is much smaller than the one he and Vito are shown carrying into the building in the next scene.

When Michael returns from Las Vegas after Christmas, he is carrying a briefcase in one hand, and nothing in the other hand. As he walks into the house, he's holding the briefcase in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.

When Michael and Kay are in their bedroom after the party, Michael is looking out the window, and below him is a mirror that shows Kay's reflection. When Michael ducks to avoid the wave of bullets that comes through the window, Kay's reflection disappears.

Crew/Equipment Visible
During the Cuban rebel uprising scene, a store is looted while Michael Corleone makes his escape. Something is stuck to the camera lens and can be seen as a silhouette on the screen.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Vito is driving and Fanucci hops onto the car, another car passes between the camera and Vito's car - Coppola and the camera can be seen reflected in the car's window.

Errors in Geography
During the final scene flashback, they are talking about the attack on Pearl Harbor happening on "Pop's birthday". It is also revealed that this led Michael to enlist in the army "this morning". Since the attack happened in Pearl Harbor at 8AM Hawaiian time, news of the attack couldn't have reached New York before 1PM.

Errors in Geography
When traveling into New York Harbor for the first time, young Vito's boat is traveling south, away from Ellis Island toward the ocean.

Errors in Geography
When young Vito is quarantined, we are led to believe that he is still on Ellis Island. As he looks out the window, the shot from outside shows the reflection of the Statue of Liberty. By that reflection (the front of the Statue) Vito would have to be on Governors Island.

Errors in Geography
When Vito with his family leaves Corleone to go back in the States, he starts his trip taking a train in the Corleone station. Corleone never had a train station, the nearest (34 km) useful train station is in Palermo, and is not looking like the little village station we see on screen.

Errors in Geography
When Fredo gets to the hotel in Havana, Cuba, the Dominican Republic flag is clearly visible on the flag pole.

Factual Mistake
When Vito Corleone arrives at Ellis Island, he was marked with a circled X and sent to a nurse because he was suspected to have smallpox. In history, the circled X was a sign for a mental illness.

Revealing Mistakes
When they are passing around the solid gold telephone, most of the people show how heavy it is. And yet, when Michael Corleone, and Hyman Roth handle and pass the telephone, it appears light as a feather and no indication is given as to how truly heavy a solid gold telephone is. Thus destroying the illusion that it is real.

Revealing Mistakes
The supposedly dead prostitute can be seen breathing by the movement of the white sheets.

Revealing Mistakes
In the opening scene when Vito's mother touches Paolo's body, his hand visibly moves. His fingers curl up and that is something a dead body just can't do. He is also seen obviously breathing in the subsequent moments.

Revealing Mistakes
When Michael's henchman is strangling Johnny Ola, the hanger the henchman uses for the garroting slips from his left hand. Ola has to use his own hand to keep the hanger gripped around his own neck.

Revealing Mistakes
When Tommasino is shot in the gun battle after Vito kills Don Ciccio, the ropes that are used to pull out his legs are visibly pulled, causing him to fall over.

Revealing Mistakes
As Hyman Roth's assassin turns to face the agents shooting at him, his coat is already "bloodstained" even before the first shot rings out.
To prepare for his role, Robert De Niro lived in Sicily.

The first sequel to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Francis Ford Coppola had a horrible time directing The Godfather (1972) and asked to pick a different director for the sequel, while taking the title of producer for himself. He chose Martin Scorsese, whom the film executives rejected. Thus, Coppola agreed to direct the film, with a few conditions.

Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro are the only two actors to ever win separate Oscars for playing the same character. Brando won Best Actor for The Godfather (1972) and De Niro won Best Supporting Actor for this movie, both in the role of Vito Corleone.

Though it claims to be based on the novel by Mario Puzo, only the scenes about the young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) have any basis in the book. Only one chapter in the book is devoted to Vito's youth and young adulthood. The story revolving around Michael (Al Pacino) and family in Las Vegas is entirely unique to the film.

Danny Aiello said that his line "Michael Corleone says hello" was completely ad-libbed. Francis Ford Coppola loved it and asked him to do it again in the retakes.

In the scene in which young Vito negotiates with Signor Roberto on the street, a passerby interrupts to say hello to Vito. Carmelo Russo was an extra who was supposed to just walk by but he improvised speaking to Vito. Francis Ford Coppola did not like that Russo interrupted the scene. But Robert De Niro liked that it showed how much people in the neighborhood respected Vito and convinced Coppola to keep Russo's line.

When little Vito arrives at Ellis Island, he is marked with a circled X. Ellis Island immigrants were marked with this if the inspector believed the person had a mental defect.

The movie's line "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." was voted as the #58 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

According to Francis Ford Coppola in the DVD commentary, Michael V. Gazzo gave such a great performance in the rehearsal of his testimony scene that Coppola wanted to start filming it immediately but everyone had to break for lunch. During the break, Gazzo got drunk and was unable to perform as well as he had in rehearsal.

Francis Ford Coppola considered bringing Marlon Brando back to play Vito Corleone as a young man, convinced that he could play at any age. As he worked on the script, though, he remembered Robert De Niro's exceptional audition for The Godfather (1972) and cast him without offering the part to Brando.

Robert De Niro spent four months learning to speak the Sicilian dialect in order to play Vito Corleone. Nearly all the dialogue that his character speaks in the film was in Sicilian.

Hyman Roth's character is loosely based in real-life mobster Meyer Lansky. Lansky, who at the time of the film's release was living in Miami, reportedly phoned Lee Strasberg and said, "Now, why couldn't you have made me more sympathetic? After all, I am a grandfather."

Originally it was to be Clemenza who agrees to testify against the Corleones. According to Coppola, Richard S. Castellano (who was the highest paid actor in The Godfather (1972)) wanted to write his own lines and wanted a large salary increase. Consequently his character was replaced by Frankie Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo) who received an Oscar nomination for the performance. But according to Ardell Sheridan, Castellano refused to regain the 50 pounds required to for the role due to health reasons so Coppola decided to replace him rather than have a thinner Clemenza.

The door to Vito's olive oil business was rigged so that it would not open if a nail was inserted into the lock. Coppola kept this a secret from Leopoldo Trieste, who played Signor Roberto, and his difficulty in opening the door was real. Coppola wanted to film Trieste, a known Italian comedian, improvising his way through the scene. When Genco opens the door, Frank Sivero surreptitiously pulls the nail out.

Marlon Brando was scheduled to return for a cameo in the flashback at the end but, because of the way Paramount treated him during The Godfather (1972), he did not show up for shooting on the day the scene was filmed. Francis Ford Coppola re-wrote the scene without Vito and it was filmed the next day.

Originally the actors in the flashback scenes wore pants with zippers. One of the musicians pointed out that the zipper had not been invented at that time, so some scenes had to be re-shot with button-fly trousers.

There was much debate over whether Robert De Niro should grow a mustache for the scenes where young Vito is a few years older but De Niro insisted. For the scenes where Vito returns to Sicily, he gained weight and wore a smaller version of the dental appliance Marlon Brando wore in The Godfather (1972) Part I.

The ship shown transporting the young Vito Corleone to New York was the Moshulu. That ship is now a restaurant docked at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia.

Merle Johnson is played by Troy Donahue, whose real name is Merle Johnson.

Filmed in 104 days.

James Caan asked that he be paid the same amount of money to play Sonny Corleone at the end of the film in the flashback as he was paid to do The Godfather (1972). He got his wish.

As of 2010, Robert De Niro is one of only six actors (with Sophia Loren, Roberto Benigni, Benicio Del Toro, Marion Cotillard and Christoph Waltz) to win an Academy Award for a role primarily in a language other than English, since almost all of his dialogue is in Italian.

Lee Strasberg came out of retirement to play Hyman Roth after a specific request from Al Pacino. He was unwilling at first, but agreed to do it after a 45-minute meeting with Francis Ford Coppola's father, Carmine Coppola.

Robert De Niro auditioned for and was almost cast in The Godfather (1972) in a minor role. When Francis Ford Coppola was casting this film, he saw Mean Streets (1973) and knew he wanted De Niro for a major role in this sequel.

The plot thread with Sen. Geary is a direct reference to The Godfather (1972), when Vito laments that he wanted Michael to be a "big shot" who "pulled the strings." In particular, he had hoped Michael would become a Senator. Michael assures him, "we'll get there, Pop." At the opening of this film, we see Michael explicitly rebuffing the demands of a US Senator, turning the tables by making demands of his own.

The musical play performed in the film, "Senza Mamma", was an actual early 20th century play composed by Francis Ford Coppola's grandfather, Francesco Pennino.

Filming was delayed for a month after Al Pacino developed pneumonia on location in Santo Domingo.

According to Francis Ford Coppola on the DVD commentary, G.D. Spradlin wrote many of his own lines, including his anti-Italian speech to Michael.

Lee Strasberg became ill during shooting, but instead of delaying production, Roth's character was rewritten to be an ailing old man.

Francis Ford Coppola, having nearly been fired several times from the first film, was given a Mercedes-Benz limousine from Paramount as a reward for the record success of The Godfather (1972) and an incentive to direct a sequel. He agreed on several conditions - that the sequel be interconnected with the first film with the intention of later showing them together; that he be allowed to direct his own script of The Conversation (1974); that he be allowed to direct a production for the San Francisco Opera; and that he be allowed to write the screenplay for The Great Gatsby (1974) - all prior to production of the sequel for a Christmas 1974 release.

The movie's line "Michael... we're bigger than U.S. Steel." was voted as the #54 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines" by Premiere in 2007.

Talia Shire was only paid $1,500 for playing Connie in The Godfather (1972) Part I. For Part II, she received $30,000 with a $10,000 bonus when the box office receipts hit $27.5 million.

There are a total of 16 deaths in the film.

In an early version of the script, an ongoing story line was Tom Hagen having an affair with Sonny Corleone's widow. This was later discarded, but the line where Michael Corleone tells Hagen that he can take his "wife, children and mistress to Las Vegas" was kept.

In an interview, Gordon Willis admitted that he sometimes "went too far" in his use of dark photography. He particularly noted the scene in which Michael asks Mama for advice as an example.

While the word "mafia" is never spoken in The Godfather (1972), it is heard three times in this film, during the Senate hearings. Sen. Geary says, "These hearings on the Mafia... ". The committee Chairman says, "You are the head of the most powerful Mafia family in this country". Michael Corleone in his statement says, "Whether it is called 'Mafia' or 'Cosa Nostra' or whatever other name you wish... "