Francis Ford Coppola's legendary continuation and sequel to his landmark 1972 film, The Godfather, parallels the young Vito Corleone's rise with his son Michael's spiritual fall, deepening The Godfather's depiction of the… More Francis Ford Coppola's legendary continuation and sequel to his landmark 1972 film, The Godfather, parallels the young Vito Corleone's rise with his son Michael's spiritual fall, deepening The Godfather's depiction of the dark side of the American dream. In the early 1900s, the child Vito flees his Sicilian village for America after the local Mafia kills his family. Vito (Robert De Niro) struggles to make a living, legally or illegally, for his wife and growing brood in Little Italy, killing the local Black Hand Fanucci (Gastone Moschin) after he demands his customary cut of the tyro's business. With Fanucci gone, Vito's communal stature grows, but it is his family (past and present) who matters most to him -- a familial legacy then upended by Michael's (Al Pacino) business expansion in the 1950s. Now based in Lake Tahoe, Michael conspires to make inroads in Las Vegas and Havana pleasure industries by any means necessary. As he realizes that allies like Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) are trying to kill him, the increasingly paranoid Michael also discovers that his ambition has crippled his marriage to Kay (Diane Keaton) and turned his brother, Fredo (John Cazale), against him. Barely escaping a federal indictment, Michael turns his attention to dealing with his enemies, completing his own corruption. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
Consensus: Drawing on strong performances by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola's continuation of Mario Puzo's Mafia saga set new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.