Keep Your Friends Close
Michael’s journey from war hero to vicious killer in the original Godfather sets the stage for The Godfather Part II. The sequel tells two simultaneous tales: the rise of the father, and the fall of the son. In one storyline, we see the journey of Vito (Robert De Niro) from Sicily to Ellis Island; from his petty first crime to his first murder in 1920s New York.
In the other, we pick up where the first film left off, with Michael having taken his family to Nevada, where he, Kay and their children live a life of luxury on Lake Tahoe. That life is shattered one night — the night of their son Anthony’s confirmation — when gunmen target Michael for assassination and shoot up his bedroom.
As Michael Corleone, Al Pacino is mesmerizing as we see him constantly bubbling beneath the surface ready to explode. The inner workings of Michael Corleone come to life in Pacino’s performance and every movement, gesture and line gives birth to another dimension to his character.
“Part II” was released two years after the “The Godfather: Part I” and it is widely considered the best sequel of all time. To prepare for his role as Vito Corleone, De Niro, lived in Sicily and learned the Italian dialect. Nearly all of De Niro’s dialogue in the film was in Sicilian. Brando and De Niro are the only two actors to ever win separate Oscars for playing the same character. Brando won Best Actor for “The Godfather” while De Niro won Best Supporting Actor in “Part II.”