Double Feature: THE GODFATHER, 1972, Paramount, 175 min. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and Robert Duvall join Marlon Brando, who gives an unforgettable, career-reviving performance as Don Vito Corleone. When a mob war breaks out and Don Vito is seriously wounded, returning veteran Michael (Pacino), previously uninvolved in the family "business," is the only one cool and collected enough to pull the irons out of the fire.
THE GODFATHER PART II, 1974, Paramount, 200 min. Director Francis Ford Coppola expands upon and deepens the themes of THE GODFATHER with this ambitious sequel. The film follows mob chieftain Al Pacino as he ruthlessly consolidates power in the Las Vegas gambling world of the late 1950s, while simultaneously flashing back to father Robert De Niro’s brutal induction into the Mafia in 1900s Sicily and New York. Most of the cast returned from the first film, with superb help from Gaston Moschin, Leopoldo Trieste and Lee Strasberg as Jewish crime boss Hyman Roth. Coppola’s parallel structure allows him to compare and contrast two American eras and consider the political and cultural changes of the 20th century, an approach that makes THE GODFATHER PART II an epic work of art as well as one of the most entertaining crime movies ever made.