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The Godfather Part II

R 1974 | 202 mins | Drama
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Film geeks cite The Godfather: Part II as proof that a sequel can indeed be better than its predecessor. Continuing to follow the transformation of Michael Corleone from reluctant son to mafia overlord, the film also offers us a peek into the birth of the Corleone crime family, as a young Vito Corleone makes his way in turn-of-the-century New York City. (No, kids, that doesn't mean Y2K.) Robert De Niro takes over the role played to perfection by Marlon Brando, and manages to somehow make it his own. Meanwhile Francis Ford Coppola picked up the Best Director Oscar he'd lost to Bob Fosse (Cabaret) the first time around. Take that, jazz hands.

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Top 10 Fun Facts

  1. Robert De Niro actually lived in Sicily for a while so he could get a feel for his character's heritage. I just found a quicker way to do that - I ordered a Sicilian pizza.
  2. The costume designer must not have been aware that the zipper was not invented until 1913, because she made pants with zippers for the flashback scenes. They re-shot those scenes with button-flys instead after a musician on set pointed that out. I'm still not sure why the musician was staring at everyone's zippers.
  3. In The Godfather Part II, actor Troy Donahue plays Merle Johnson. In real life, actor Troy Donahue's name is Merle Johnson. Someone out there is someone whose real name is Troy Donahue who wants to play Merle Johnson, but that's a story for another day.
  4. The football game on the television in the scene when Michael goes to see Hyman Roth is USC vs. Notre Dame. An early draft of the script had future Michael bringing 1950's Michael a sports book so he could gamble and make a bunch of money, but that was eventually scrapped until Back to the Future II.
  5. The Godfather Part II was the first sequel to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. Some sequels that did not win the Academy Award for Best Picture include Piranha 2, Ski School 2, and Surf II, although Surf II isn't technically a sequel.
  6. Sixteen people get whacked in The Godfather Part II, thirteen more than there are in Surf II. Which may explain why Surf II didn't win an Oscar.
  7. If you go to Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, you'll notice that they converted the Moshulu into a restaurant, the very ship that's shown transporting the young Vito Corleone to New York. I've looked, but there is no gun behind the toilet in the restaurant. Sorry.
  8. Danny Aiello says that he ad-libbed the famous line "Michael Corleone says hello." Apparently Francis Ford Coppola enjoyed it - he added it to the script and made Aiello repeat it in all the retakes.
  9. It seems the Ellis Island inspectors weren't too fond of little Vito - they marked him with a circled X when he arrived, meaning they thought he had a mental defect.
  10. The Godfather Part II was the first movie to use the exact phrase "Part II" to designate itself as a sequel... A film called Surf II is the first Canadian film to use the roman numeral II for a film that is not a sequel. It's amazing how much Surf II and this movie have in common.