FINANCIAL CRIME FILMS/SERIES (SECOND PART): The Godfather Trilogy (The Godfather 2) (Movie, 1974)

The Godfather Trilogy is the point of reference for all film narration. Francis Ford Coppola’s masterful adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel narrates the rise and fall of the Corleone family in this famous epic. Collectively nominated for a staggering 29 Academy Awards, the films are winners of 9, including 2 for Best Picture for The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. To this day, the saga is rightly viewed as one of the largest in film history.

Extract from my article:

Plot (The Godfather 2)

In 1901, the family of nine-year-old Vito Andolini is killed in Corleone, Sicily, after his father insults local Mafia chieftain Don Ciccio. Vito escapes on a ship destined for New York City, and is registered as “Vito Corleone” on Ellis Island.

In 1958, during his son’s First Communion party at Lake Tahoe, Michael has a series of meetings in his role as the don of the Corleone crime family. Frank Pentangeli, a Corleone capo, is dismayed that Michael refuses to help defend his territory against the Rosato brothers, who work for Michael’s business partner Hyman Roth. That night, Michael leaves Nevada after surviving an assassination attempt at his home.

In 1917, Vito Corleone lives in New York City with his wife and son Sonny. He loses his job due to local don, Fanucci, insisting that his nephew work there; Clemenza invites Vito to unwittingly take part in a burglary.

Michael suspects Roth planned the assassination, but meets him in Miami and feigns ignorance. In New York City, Pentangeli attempts to maintain Michael’s fa├žade by making peace with the Rosato family but they attempt to kill him. Roth, Michael, and several of their partners travel to Havana to discuss their future Cuban business prospects under the cooperative government of Fulgencio Batista. Michael becomes reluctant after reconsidering the viability of the ongoing Cuban Revolution. On New Year’s Eve, Fredo inadvertently reveals that he knows Roth’s right-hand man, Johnny Ola, having previously claimed that they had never met and Michael realizes that it was Fredo who had betrayed him. That night, Michael has his bodyguard kill Ola, but before he can also kill Roth, he is discovered by police and shot dead. Batista abruptly abdicates due to rebel advances. During the ensuing chaos, Michael, Fredo, and Roth separately escape to the United States. Back home, Michael learns that his wife Kay has miscarried.

In Washington, D.C., a Senate committee on organized crime is investigating the Corleone family. Having survived the earlier attempt on his life, Pentangeli agrees to testify against Michael, who he believes had double-crossed him, and is placed under witness protection.

Now a respected figure in his community, Vito is approached for help by a widow who is being evicted. After an unsuccessful negotiation with Vito, the widow’s landlord asks around, learns of Vito’s reputation, and hastily agrees to let the widow stay on terms very favorable to her.

On returning to Nevada, Fredo tells Michael that he has felt resentful for being disregarded; he had helped Roth, expecting something in return. He claims to be ignorant of the plot on Michael’s life and informs Michael that the Senate lawyer is on Roth’s payroll. Michael disowns Fredo but orders a capo to continue protecting him while their mother is alive.

Kay reveals to Michael that she actually had an abortion, not a miscarriage and that she intends to remove their children from Michael’s criminal life.

Vito, along with his family, visits Sicily for the first time since emigrating. He and business partner Tommasino are admitted to Don Ciccio’s compound, ostensibly to ask for Ciccio’s blessing on their olive oil business. Vito exacts his childhood vengeance by killing Ciccio after revealing his former identity, but as they escape, Tommasino is shot in the leg and suffers a permanent disability.

Roth is refused asylum and denied entry to Israel. He is forced to return to the United States. Over the dissent of consigliere Tom Hagen, Michael orders capo Rocco Lampone to assassinate Roth. Lampone, posing as a journalist at Miami International Airport, shoots Roth dead before federal agents kill him. At the witness protection compound, Hagen reminds Pentangeli that failed plotters against the Roman Emperor often committed suicide and assures him that his family will be cared for. Pentangeli later slits his wrists in his bathtub. Al Neri, acting on Michael’s orders, kills Fredo out on the lake.

The Corleone family gathers in their dining room to surprise Vito for his birthday. Michael announces that, in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he has left college and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, leaving Sonny furious, Tom incredulous, and Fredo the only supportive brother. When Vito is heard at the door, all but Michael leave the room to greet him.
Michael sits alone by the lake at the family compound.


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