I Know it was You Fredo, You Broke My Heart

The Godfather Part II was almost an unspeakable idea when it first came out. How do you make a sequel to an already near perfect movie? The answer, make it a nonlinear story that’s part sequel/part prequel. Although people had mixed thoughts initially, The Godfather Part II has since been considered to be one of the greatest movie sequels of all time. A sequel to a movie that’s already considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time. That’s no small feat. To make a sequel for an already acclaimed movie that matches and some would argue, tops the original. Without making a sequel that’s just copying what made the first so good. No, The Godfather Part II is about as different a movie as you can get. But just like the original, its earned a place in movie history. With more complex storytelling, new iconic moments, lines of dialogue, and a deeper understanding of characters we’ve met before. The Godfather Part II continues the saga in a way that feels like a perfect companion piece or even a great stand alone picture…

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Michael Corleone becomes the new Don

The Godfather Part II is first and foremost, a sequel. After the events of The Godfather, Michael Corleone became the new Don of his families organized crime business. When it comes to the family business, Michael is not his father. He deals with new problems like an attempt on his (and his family’s) life and court investigations. Until everything he’s worked to maintain is nearly destroyed. That’s when the iconic “kiss of death” scene and line “I know it was you Fredo” comes in. Al Pacino wanted his role to be bigger than it was in the first movie. Thinking it would increase his chances of winning an Oscar (it didn’t, but it’s still a great performance). While Michael’s continued story gets the most screen time, a lot of the movie is also a prequel. Following a young Vito Corleone as he immigrated from Sicily to America, starts a family, seeks revenge, and eventually becoming the godfather. This part of the movie is told entirely in Sicilian. Making it feel more like a foreign film within an American film. Much like the movie itself, Robert De Niro manages to match a performance that was already made great by Marlon Brando. So much so, that he won Best Actor for his performance. Making it the only time in Oscar history where two actors won for playing the same character. The Godfather Part II is also historic for being the first sequel to win Best Picture. To date, the only original and sequel to both win Best Picture. Unlike the first movie though, The Godfather Part II won twice as many Oscars. Francis Ford Coppola got a second chance to win Best Director (which he did) and it won for Best Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, and Original Dramatic Score. The Godfather Part II is a rare sequel that recreates, reinvents, and reevaluates what a movie sequel can be.

Young Vito Corleone

Preceded by: The Godfather & Followed by The Godfather Part III

2 thoughts on “I Know it was You Fredo, You Broke My Heart

  1. When I was younger, I didn’t care much about gangster movies. Then in 1980, I was attending a college that had an on-campus theatre which showed second-run movies and older classics. One week, they ran GODFATHER I and II on consecutive nights. Both nights, I left the theater floating on air. I still think they’re two of the best American movies ever made.

    Liked by 1 person

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