A thread for us to discuss them, it's been a very long time as I recall.
I consider Al Pacino in Godfather II my favorite film performance. You can actually see him age on screen as the movie progresses. The scene of Connie begging Michael to see Fredo at their mother's funeral is one of the best scenes in any movie, you can tell that's the point at which Michael's soul is completely gone.
I think 1 works better than 2 as a movie but 2 is more emotionally affecting.
I've never seen any of them. I don't know why but anything "mafia" bores the shit out of me.
Robert De Niro is extremely hot in The Godfather Part II.
I recently rewatched the first two Godfather films, and found them even more extraordinary than when I first watched them. I agree with you, OP, about Pacino's performance in 2--he should've won the Oscar.
I watched G3 recently and it was a lot better than I remember, though the story is unnecessarily convoluted and Sophia is still awful.
For some reason the scene from 3 that always comes to mind is Eli Wallach shoving those poisoned cannolis into his mouth at the opera.
De Niro looks attractive enough in GII but I think Pacino was much sexier. The first two movies really displayed Pacino at the height of his attractiveness.
Speaking of the De Niro scenes though, I'm one of the few (along with Ebert) who doesn't love the flashback scenes in GII except for the final scene with Michael telling the family that he joined the Marines. What exactly was the point of the flashbacks? To show that Vito was everything in a Don that Michael was not? I've also read the theory that it was only about how idealized Vito was in the family's memory, and that you're supposed to come away from the scenes thinking that Vito was probably just as ruthless as Michael even though he's not remembered that way.
Also to R1, I don't like any other mafia movies or shows either and don't find the particularities of the mafia especially interesting, but I enjoy the movies for the very human acting performances. It saddens me to see some people refuse to see these movies because they aren't interested in the mafia.
There is a special ring in cinematic hell reserved for Sofia Coppola and how she single-handedly ruined, nee destroyed, what could have been a respectable film. There has never been an onscreen performance so wooden, so self-conscious and so mouth-breathingly bad in the history of movies. No amount of directing talent or accolades can atone for that original sin.
Add Andy Garcia to that, R8. He and Sofia Coppola destroyed the movie. Their acting was atrocious.
And I agree with you OP about the scene with Connie and Michael. Another scene I found to be great that showed just how much Michael had changed was when he comes home to find that Connie had helped his ex come over to see her kids. Everybody was frozen with fear when he saw her. When he closed the door in her face you could see that he didn't resemble his old self at all.
Streep Troll said it is incorrect to call this an 'Italian' movie because it was made in the US
Only films 100% made in Italy can classified as an Italian movie.
That according to Streep Troll
On the topic of R9, I'm always really struck by the degree to which a lot of people just loathe Kay, saying that she should have known better than to get involved with Michael, she got what was coming to her. That sort of thing misses the point of Michael's character entirely.
[quote]Add Andy Garcia to that, [R8]. He and Sofia Coppola destroyed the movie. Their acting was atrocious.
Don't forget George Hamilton.
But WTF happened to Pacino? Why did he become the bug-eyed screamer when his Michael was so beautiful and controlled?
I agree R11. I don't see it as Kay getting what she deserved. Michael just changed over the years. In the first movie at the wedding when he brings Kay home you can see that he is nothing like his family. He even tells Kay stories about the family business and when she is left speechless he says that that is his family. Not him. In the second movie he keeps promising her that he is going to make the family business legal. It shows that Kay loved him but eventually he was sucked up into the business and that took a toll and who he became.
Both 1 and 2 are extraordinary. The wedding - scene that opens the saga is in my opinion the highpoint in American cinema.
I love the scene in II where Robert DeNiro brings a piece of fruit home to his wife.
"I believe in America."
I've always loved the opening scene in GFI . There's something so unconsciously sweet and loving in how Vito plays with the kitten; it's such a contrast with the conversation happening in those moments. It wordlessly limns Vito's character. Try to imagine Sonny or Michael in that chair, playing with a kitten while dispensing mob justice. You can't. In this way I see Vito as a more complex character than Michael, even though we're all but told the opposite is true. Though maybe it just means Vito was more grounded than his sons.
When I learned the kitten/Vito thing was unscripted, that Brando discovered the cat wandering on set and took a shine to it, I loved the scene even more. It was a genius choice Brando made, to do that scene with kitten on his lap.
Also love the kitten was purring so loudly it obscured the actors' voices; they had to re-dub the scene in post-production.
Opening scene in GF1 and closing scene in GF2= best in American film history, IMO.
It's very hard not to watch any of the Godfather movies if they're on in the background as you're puttering around the house. There's always some little gem of a scene.
Sofia Coppola was roundly trashed for her acting in G3, but really, the criticism was way over the top. Yes, she was wooden, amateurish, and Winona Ryder probably would have been terrific, but come on.
She didn't have that many scenes and some critics made it sound like she single-handedly killed the movie.
She was an inexperienced, 21-year-old kid just out of Mills College and her father was stupid to cast her.
Winona couldn't do it... who would have been better and appropriate?
I thought Sofia was bad, but I think a larger problem is who actually gives a shit about that character? We all wanted more about Michael, not his ingenue daughter.
I think III was set in the wrong decade. I realize time had passed between II and III, so Pacino was too old to pick it up in the 60's, but you lost that sense of place the first two had.
I mean, Atlantic City? A helicopter attack? There's no magic in that, we got that in any Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
People are way harsh on Sofia for "Godfather III". She was an amateur--it's not like it was Julia Roberts giving a brain-dead performance. And if I remember correctly, she really didn't want to do it; Francis basically called her up and said, "You're playing Mary!". He didn't want to risk falling behind schedule after Winona Ryder's pull-out.
By the way, it was rumored that Ryder was the second choice for the role of Mary; the supposed first choice was slain actress Rebecca Shaeffer, though Coppola won't confirm this (understandable, considering both Shaeffer's and Mary's fates).
My favorite little Brando gesture is when he pours Sollozzo a drink and lightly brushes the dust from the arm of the chair Sollozzo is sitting on.
To me the final flashback scene in G11 is one of the most poignant in cinema. He sits alone, a young man freshly enlisted as a US Marine, at the dining room table while his siblings, (all alive then, of course) greet their father.
Then the fade into real time and he's still alone, with all of those ghosts in his head.
The disintegration of his marraige to Kay is so powerful. He may have fed her knuckle sandwich after she tells him she aborted his son, but she dealt him the deeper blow.
R23, it's notable that only Fredo supports Michael in that final flashback scene.
Does anyone think that Fredo "had" to die? I don't.
IT WAS AN ABORTION, MICHAEL!!!
Don Barzini had a cool hat.
JUST LIKE OUR MARRIAGE!! Okay, that wasn't such great writing. Entertaining, though.
[quote]There is a special ring in cinematic hell reserved for Sofia Coppola
Sofia was the best actress for the role. You just don't understand the subtle nuances required for a role of such complexity.
[quote]don't find the particularities of the mafia especially interesting,
There is no mafia. It's a myth perpetrated on the Italian-American community by racist government officials.
However many times I've seen G3, her character is nothing but a distraction from the storyline. Cut the part completely and nothing is really lost.
Even the part of her brother was poorly written. I've never cared about either of them as far as the Godfather story goes. They're just "there", in the background. Even Diane Keaton was just background scenery.
The first two were classics. The third one never should have gotten made. I thought the second one ended the story perfectly: Michael Corleone sitting in his garden, aging and alone.
Here's the deal about the part of Mary Corleone. The character was written as a very Americanized, very passionate Italian girl in forbidden love with her Uncle Sonny's hot bastard son. Winona Ryder was to have played her but became mysteriously ill (nervous breakdown? drug overdose? abortion?) and dropped out. Laura San Giacomo was suggested as a replacement, but got nixed. Coppola had the bright idea that his homely, non-actress daughter Sofia would be ideal as Mary. Of course they part had to be re-written to suit the inexperienced girl, and the frisky Mary Corleone was revamped into a dull, monotone-voiced cow. The love affair between Mary and her cousin was supposed to have been a major plotline, but it got totally changed when Sofia Coppola got the role. One of the people on the film commented that "they fucked the love story."
Pacino was robbed of the Oscar for both films. Brando over acted and the cotton balls in the mouth made him unintelligible. Pacino carried both films.
I love the scene when the young Vitoria is stalking Fanucci on the rooftops.
Yes, Fredo had to die, r24. If he was allowed to live he would have been a threat to the family as long as he was alive.
When you set out to to kill the Emperor you had better succeed because if he survives, he'll make damn sure you're dead, even if he's the Emperor's brother and you have the decency to wait until your Mother is dead kill him.
Carlo might have been spared if he had left a scintilla of doubt in Michael that he set up Sonny. That's why he needed to hear Carlo confess. He was, after all his brother-in-law, and he wanted to make damn sure he did it before he killed him.
I always wished that Tessio had not betrayed Michael. It's his death that I wish could have been avoided.
Do those of you bashing Sofia acknowledge that she became an outstanding director? The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette--that's an impressive start. (Then she had to make Somewhere, but everyone has a dud.)
I mean young Vito
That is a beautifully filmed scene, r33, the way the camera stays right with him.
Another beautiful scene is when the camera pans all of the faces of those Italian immigrants staring in awe, or fright, at the Statue of Liberty.
I also love that the first and only time you hear the child Vito it isn't because he speaks. Instead, he never utters a sound until he's alone in his quarantined room looking out the window and he sings that folk song in his boyhood high voice.
Damn, now I want to watch them all over again.
Let's not forget Diane Keaton's dreadful hairstyle in P3!
The costumes seemed wrong in part 3. Too subdued for the late 1970s.
i read in an old gossip thread, that winona ryder had to drop out because of an abortion and that she fucked so many guys, that she didnt know who the father was. i think she was dating johnny depp at that time?
In G3 I alway get the impression that Al Pacino is doing an impersonation of Frank Sinatra.
Why would Winona having an abortion prevent her from working?
I don't really agree with the Fredo analysis, R34. I think that the script called for Michael to kill Fredo because it showed how far gone Michael had become. I think Fredo was effectively neutralized, no longer a threat, by that point. Michael had Fredo killed out of pure vengeance. At least that's my reading of it.
Why was he allowed to hang out with Michael's son though?
The look that Michael shoots Al Neri as he's hugging Fredo at their mother's funeral gives me chills.
There's an interesting Pacino quote that goes something like: The reason why no one likes GIII is because no one wants to see Michael fully understand what he had become.
A scene I always love is when Michael and the merchant have to move the Godfather(bed and all) at the hospital. The assassins are coming. Every time I see it,it feels like they might not be able to hide him in time.
Too bad so many people think they're just gangster movies.
GF1 & 2, are the greatest examples of American cinema ever made. Seriously.
[quote] I always wished that Tessio had not betrayed Michael. It's his death that I wish could have been avoided.
In a series of films with many memorable scenes of violence, it is to the film's great credit that this off-camera death resonates so much.
Godfather 1- a masterpiece- Godfather 2- the greatest American film ever made
[quote]Michael had Fredo killed out of pure vengeance. At least that's my reading of it.
Granted, Michael had become a monster by that time, but Fredo was still a potential hazard. He was stupid and weak and vulnerable to being manipulated and always would be.
I agree Godfather II is a masterpiece too but there is that one scene in the bar where every time I watch it I am confused as to who is killing whom and why.
r48, Hyman Roth got the Rosato brothers to stage a fake assassination attempt on Pentangeli and make him think it was Michael's orders. That way Pentangeli would start singing to the Feds and get Michael out of Roth's way.
Yeah, that is a little confusing at first.
"Why would Winona having an abortion prevent her from working'
Maybe there was medical complications. Maybe she had a mental breakdown due to guilt for aborting her baby. Who knows? Anyway, the reason she always gave for her dropping of the movie was "exhaustion." THAT shopworn excuse.
From time to time, for no reason at all, apropos of nothing, I'll say aloud to myself,
"I am Enzo, the baker!"
"Who approached you?"
"They shot Sonny on the Causeway. He's dead."
"I frisked him; he's clean."
"I'm not that clever."
"Apology, Senator! Apology!"
"I got my own family, Senator!"
R44 It was a nurse and Michael who move Vito's bed to another room. It's Enzo, the baker, who stands outside on the steps of the hospital with Michael.
The scene where he shuts the door in Diane Keaton's face gives me chills.
Michael Corleone was/is one of the most interesting characters Hollywood has ever produced.
R35, I think Lost in Translation was the worst movie I've ever seen.
Do the books explain why Michael's children were allowed to spend time with Fredo? Never understood that.
What made I and II so special were the bit players, sometimes players without a single line.
In fact, I think the difference between them and III, is in III everyone talked too damned much.
Look at Michael's bodyguard, not a single word the entire movie, not even when he tries to kill Roth, or consider the scene with the Senator and the dead whore-- no one felt the need explain what was happening, they trusted the audience to figure it out. Sometimes you had to work for it, as someone pointed out the murder attempt in the bar was confusing, but in the end the audience was rewarded.
Compare that with III and the endless bullshit out of the mouths of Andy Garcia, Joe Mantegna, and Sofia Coppola.
I always wished that Tessio had not betrayed Michael. It's his death that I wish could have been avoided"
Tessio was one of the Don's most solid men; he was always in control, always dependable, with a very benign, easygoing manner. He was very likeable. He was also, like all these other Mafiosos, sociopathic. He tried to have Michael killed, but before being led off to being killed himself he wants to make it clear to Hagen that there was no animosity involved: "tell Mike it was business. I always liked him." Hagen replied: "he understands that." What kind of human being considersmurder "business?" Tessio LIKES Michael, who he's known all his life, but still tries to have him killed. Sheer insanity.
Could someone explain a plot point to me? I love the series, but have never understood the scene in G2 when Fredo is lying down on the chaise and belatedly tells Michael that some of the senators on the investigating committee "belong to Roth."
Then Michael has that speech about you're not my brother anymore, etc. etc.
Fredo has been trying to get back into Michael's good graces after the debacle in Cuba, so why didn't he immediately tell him about Roth's stooges?
If Fredo had delusions about taking Michael's place, then why did he finally confess?
GFI made Abe Vigoda's career. Before that he'd done some theater.
Coppola said that the studio was not happy with the way the movie was going. He believes he was not ousted as director because during the shoot he received an Oscar for writing [italic]Patton[/italic].
Bump for any response to R59.
Perhaps Fredo thought that finally coughing up the information was a good final attempt to worm his way back into Michael's good graces, R59.
I caught a marathon of the Godfather movies on AMC this week. Pacino was so gorgeous in his day. Here's the most often replicated shot of him in Godfather 2, at the point where, as OP said, there's really nothing left in Michael. Did he really have as much plastic surgery as some sites say? He might just have been someone who aged terribly.