The Godfather: Part 2 (1974)

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The Godfather: Part II is a 1974 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the rise to power of the young Vito Corleone. The film stars Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Talia Shire, John Cazale, Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Strasberg. The Godfather: Part II was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture, Best Director for Coppola and Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro, and has been selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry.

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(The Godfather Part II presents two parallel storylines. One involves Michael Corleone the new Don of the Corleone Family trying to hold his business ventures together from 1958 to 1959; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily (1901) to his founding of the Corleone crime family in New York City.) In the town of Corleone, Sicily in 1901, Vito's father Antonio Andolini and his brother Paolo are killed on the orders of the local Mafia chieftain, Don Ciccio. Vito's mother goes to Ciccio to beg him to let young Vito live. He refuses, saying that Vito will someday come back for revenge. Vito's mother then holds a knife to his throat, sacrificing herself to allow Vito to escape, as Ciccio's gunmen shoot her dead. With the aid of some townspeople, Vito takes a ship to New York City. Arriving at Ellis Island, an official registers him as "Vito Corleone" and he is quarantined for smallpox. In 1958, Michael Corleone deals with various business and family problems at his Lake Tahoe, Nevada compound during an elaborate party celebrating his son Anthony's First Communion. Michael meets with Nevada Senator Pat Geary, who despises the Corleones. Geary, aware that Michael plans to gain control of another Las Vegas casino, demands a high price and kickbacks for a new gaming license, while insulting the Corleones and Italians in general. Michael coldly gives Geary his counter-offer: nothing. He meets with Johnny Ola, the sicillian messanger as well as the right-hand man of jewish gangster Hyman Roth, who says that Roth will not object to Michael's attempt to gain control of the extra casino. Michael also deals with his sister Connie, who, although recently divorced, is planning to marry a man of whom Michael disapproves. His older brother and underboss, Fredo, is having trouble keeping his drunken wife Deanna Dunn under control; Michael's men have to haul her away. Finally, Michael meets with a drunken Frank Pentangeli, who took over the old Corleone New York territory after caporegime Peter Clemenza's death. To maintain a smooth business relationship with Roth, Michael refuses to allow Pentangeli to kill the Rosato brothers, who, backed by Roth, are attempting to intrude on Pentangeli's territory. Pentangeli leaves after arguing with Michael. Later that night, an assassination attempt is made on Michael. He tells family consigliere Tom Hagen that the hit was made with the help of someone close. Michael then insists that he must leave and entrusts Hagen â?? whom Michael had excluded from the Roth and Pentangeli negotiations â?? to protect his family. As Michael suspected, the assassins are found dead. In 1917, Vito Corleone, now married and living in a tenement with his wife Carmela and son (Santino), works in a New York grocery store owned by the father of his close friend Genco Abbandando, who looked after him after he came to New York. The neighborhood is controlled by a member of the Black Hand, Don Fanucci, who extorts protection payments from local businesses. Abbandando Senior is forced to fire Vito and give his job to Fanucci's nephew. One night, Vito's neighbor Peter Clemenza asks him to hide a stash of guns for him, and later, to repay the favor, takes him to a fancy apartment where they commit their first crime together, stealing an expensive rug. Michael meets with Hyman Roth in Roth's home near Miami and tells him that he believes Pentangeli was responsible for the assassination attempt. Traveling to Pentangeli's home, Michael lets Pentangeli know that Roth was actually behind it and that Michael has a plan to deal with him, but needs Pentangeli to cooperate with the Rosato brothers in order to keep Roth off guard. When Pentangeli goes to meet with the Rosatos, their men garrote him, claiming to have been sent by Michael. However, the attempted murder is interrupted by a policeman. Elsewhere, Tom visits one of the brothels owned by the Corleone family, where Geary has been found in a room with a dead prostitute. Geary says he cannot remember what happened, and Hagen says he will cover up the death as a token of the Corleones' "friendship" with the senator. Meanwhile, Michael meets Roth in Havana, Cuba, at the time when dictator Fulgencio Batista is soliciting American investment, and guerrillas are trying to bring down the government. Roth is celebrating his birthday with business partners, splitting up territory in Havana and telling them that Michael and the Corleone Family will be taking over the operation when he dies, when Michael reveals to Roth and others that he is hesitant to invest after having seen a rebel kill several of Batista's policemen in a suicide bombing, convincing him that Fidel Castro is capable of taking over. Roth privately requests Michael's investment once again. Fredo arrives in Havana, carrying the money promised to Roth; Michael confides in him that it was Roth who tried to kill him and that he plans to try again. Michael assures Fredo that he has already made his move and that " Hyman Roth will never see the New Year". Instead of turning over the money, Michael asks Roth who gave the order to have Pentangeli killed. Roth avoids the question, instead alluding to the murder of his old friend and ally Moe Greene â?? who Michael ordered to be killed years previously â?? saying, "This is the business we've chosen. I didn't ask who gave the order because it had nothing to do with business!" Michael asks Fredo to show Geary and other important American officials and businessmen a good time, during which Fredo pretends not to know Johnny Ola, Roth's right-hand man. Later in the evening, however, Fredo drunkenly comments that he learned about the place they're in from Johnny Ola, contradicting what he told Michael twice earlier. Michael realizes that his own brother is the family traitor and dispatches his bodyguard to kill Roth. Johnny Ola is strangled with a wooden coathanger, but Roth, whose health is failing, is taken to a hospital before he can be assassinated. Michael's bodyguard follows but is shot and killed by police while trying to smother Roth with a pillow. At Batista's New Year's Eve party, at the stroke of midnight, Michael grasps Fredo tightly by the head and kisses him harshly on the lips, telling him "I know it was you, Fredo â?? you broke my heart." Batista announces he is stepping down due to unexpected gains by the rebels, and the guests flee as Castro's guerrillas pour into the city and the people begin celebrating. Michael appeals to his brother to join him in leaving the country, but Fredo runs away frightened. Michael returns to Las Vegas, where Hagen tells him that Roth escaped from Cuba after suffering a stroke and is recovering in Miami. Hagen also informs Michael that Kay had a miscarriage while he was away. Michael angrily asks if it was a boy which Hagen replies that he doesn't know. In New York, in 1920, Don Fanucci has become aware of the partnership between Vito, Clemenza and Sal Tessio. He collars Vito in his delivery truck and tells him that he knows the trio has recently committed a robbery. He demands that they "wet his beak" or the police (on Fanucci's payroll) will arrest Vito, and his family will be ruined. Clemenza and Tessio agree to pay, but Vito - guessing that Fanucci's grip on his ghetto was only one man deep - asks his friends to allow him to convince Fanucci to accept less money, telling them, "I make him an offer he don't refuse." Vito manages to get Fanucci to take only half of what he had demanded. Immediately afterwards â?? despite having earned Fanucci's respect and an offer of employment â?? Vito shoots him dead in a darkened stairway outside Fanucci's apartment during a neighborhood festa, and escapes across the rooftops. Later, on the steps of his tenement building, he sits with his family, cradling the newborn Michael in his arms. The screen fades to black as this hinge point was the interval in some cinema performances. Michael returns to his compound in Lake Tahoe, declining to go into the same room as his wife and instead asking advice from his mother. In Washington, D.C., a Senate committee, of which Geary is a member, is conducting an investigation into the Corleone family. They question disaffected "soldier" Willi Cicci, but he cannot implicate Michael because he never received any direct orders from him. In New York, in the early 1920s, Vito has become a respected figure in his community. He intercedes with a slum landlord who is evicting a widow. Vito offers the landlord extra money to let her stay, but the man becomes angry when Vito demands that she also be allowed to keep her dog. A few days later the landlord, terrified after finding out who Vito is, calls on him and announces that the widow can stay, along with her dog, at a reduced rent. When Michael appears before the Senate committee, Geary makes an announcement generally supportive of Italian-Americans and then excuses himself from the proceedings. Michael makes a statement challenging the committee to produce a witness to corroborate the charges against him. The hearing ends with the Chairman promising a witness who will do exactly that, who turns out to be Pentangeli. Michael and Hagen observe that Roth's strategy to destroy Michael is well planned. Fredo has been found and persuaded to return to Nevada, and in a private meeting he explains his betrayal to Michael; he was upset about being passed over to head the family, and helped Roth, thinking there would be something in it for him. He swears he didn't know they wanted to kill Michael. He also tells Michael that the Senate Committee's chief counsel is on Roth's payroll. Michael then disowns Fredo and privately instructs bodyguard Al Neri that " nothing is to happen to him while my mother's alive." Pentangeli has made a deal with the FBI to testify against Michael, believing Michael was the one who organized the attempt on his life. He is considered very credible, since as a caporegime there is no insulation between Michael and himself. At the hearing in which Pentangeli is to testify, Michael arrives accompanied by Pentangeli's brother, brought in from Sicily. Upon seeing his brother, Pentangeli recants his earlier written statements, saying that he runs his own family, thereby derailing the government's case. The hearing ends in an uproar with Hagen, acting as Michael's lawyer, irately demanding an apology. In a hotel room afterwards, Kay tells Michael she is leaving him, taking their children with her. Michael at first tries to mollify her, but when she reveals to him that her "miscarriage" was actually an abortion to avoid bringing another son into Michael's criminal family, Michael explodes in anger and slaps her in the face. In 1925, Vito visits Sicily for the first time since leaving for America, now accompanied by all four of his children. He is introduced to the elderly Don Ciccio by Don Tommasino â?? who initially helped Vito escape to America â?? as the man who imports their olive oil to America, and who wants his blessing. When Ciccio asks Vito who his father was, Vito says, "My father's name was Antonio Andolini, and this is for you!" He then stabs the old man to death. In the resulting gun battle, Tommasino is shot, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Mama Corleone dies and the whole Corleone family reunites at her funeral. Michael is still shunning Fredo, but relents when Connie implores him to forgive their brother. Michael and Fredo embrace, but as they do so, Michael exchanges glances with Al Neri. Michael Corleone, Tom Hagen, Al Neri and Rocco Lampone discuss their final dealings with Roth, who has been unsuccessfully seeking asylum from various countries, and was even refused entry to Israel as a returning Jew. Michael rejects Hagen's advice that the Corleone family's position is secure and that killing Roth and the Rosato brothers is an unnecessary risk. Later, Hagen visits Pentangeli at the military base. He leads Pentangeli, a student of history, into a discussion on how families were organized like Roman legions, which ends with Hagen's veiled assurance that if Pentangeli were to commit suicide then, just as the Romans did after a failed plot against the Emperor, his family would be spared and taken care of. With Connie's help, Kay visits her children but cannot bear to leave them and stays too long. When Michael arrives, he closes the door in her face. The film then reaches its climax in a montage of assassinations and death: As he arrives in Miami to be taken into custody, Hyman Roth is shot in the stomach and killed by Lampone, who is immediately shot dead by FBI agents. Frank Pentangeli is found dead in his bathtub, having slit his wrists. Finally, Neri shoots Fredo in the head while they are fishing on Lake Tahoe, as Fredo is saying a Hail Mary to help catch a fish. Michael watches from his den. The penultimate scene takes place as a flashback to December 1941 as the Corleone family is preparing a surprise birthday party for Vito. Sonny introduces Carlo Rizzi (who would later be complicit in Sonny's death) to Connie. Tessio comes in with the cake, and they all discuss the recent attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Michael shocks everybody by announcing that he has dropped out of college and enlisted in the Marines. Sonny is furious with Michael's decision, Tom is incredulous, and only Fredo seems pleased by the news. When Vito arrives (offscreen), all but Michael leave to greet him. In 1925, Vito and his young family board the train to leave Corleone, as family and friends wave. As the film ends, an older Michael sits outside in the Corleones' Lake Tahoe compound, alone in silence.