The Godfather Part II (1974)

3h 22m / R / Crime Drama

Francis Ford Coppola won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for his cinematic masterpiece The Godfather Part II in 1974. Part sequel, part origin story, it explores the intricate world of the Corleone crime family, juxtaposing the rise of young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in early 20th-century New York with the reign of his son Michael (Al Pacino) in the 1950s. As Michael struggles to expand the family’s empire in the face of betrayal and internal strife, parallels are drawn to Vito’s own journey to power.

The film features truly outstanding performances from De Niro, who brings depth and nuance to the role of young Vito, and Pacino, whose portrayal of Michael Corleone is both chilling and compelling. But what sets The Godfather Part II apart (and, arguably, makes it even better than its predecessor) is its ambitious narrative structure and the deeper exploration of themes such as power, family, and the corrupting influence of ambition in Coppola’s riveting screenplay, co-written with original Godfather author Mario Puzo. The film skillfully weaves together past and present, offering a richly layered portrayal of the Corleone dynasty and the evolution of its characters that has solidified its place as one of the greatest films ever made.

Guests are invited to stick around after the screening for a post-show Film Talk and audience Q&A with Hector Sotomayor, professor of Film, Art, & Media at the Ringling College of Art & Design.

The Summer Classics Movie Series has been presented by Bank of America since 2015. Promotional support for the series is provided by WEDU PBS.