Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Godfather, Part II (1974)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

In Best Director-winning Francis Ford Coppola's superior Best Picture-winning sequel, with intercutting back and forth between two parallel stories: the prologue story (about one-quarter of the entire film) to the sequel, contrasting the two eras and their protagonists:

  • the numerous flashbacks - including the early scene of young, nine year-old orphaned Vito Andolini (Oreste Baldini) in the early 1900s fleeing from his Sicilian village (after the murder of his family by the local Mafia chieftain), arriving at Ellis Island and looking out at the Statue of Liberty
  • the continuing scenes of the new godfather, 38 year-old Michael Corleone's (Al Pacino) base of operations in Lake Tahoe in 1958 as he expanded his widespread criminal operations; he was conspiring to expand into two new 'pleasure' locales: Las Vegas and Havana by any means necessary; in the opening scene, he was dispensing justice and conducting business in his boathouse office with Nevada's U. S. Senator Pat Geary (G. D. Spradlin); when Michael and his family were insulted by the Senator, who was attempting to extort exorbitant license-fees from the cooly confident chieftain for the take-over of another Vegas hotel, Michael refused to be intimidated: "My offer is this - nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally"
  • the assassination attempt in Michael bedroom
  • the creation of an alliance between Jewish mobster Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) from Florida and Michael, to assure the smooth takeover of a third casino for Michael in Las Vegas (and grease other efforts to expand casinos into pre-revolutionary Cuba); during the scene of the sixty-seventh birthday celebration for Roth on the open-air terrace of his Capri Hotel in Havana, Cuba, a cake of Cuba was symbolically cut up
  • an older Michael's forcible delivery of the kiss of death on New Year's Eve - Sicilian-style - to his brother Fredo (John Cazale) after he discovered that his own brother had betrayed him: "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart, You broke my heart"
  • Vito Corleone's (Robert De Niro) run across the rooftops to pursue and eventually kill white-suited Don "The Black Hand" Fanucci (Gaston Moschin) in cold blood, with a gun wrapped in a towel (that caught fire), and afterwards, his return to his brownstone tenement's front stoop where he calmly held his crying baby Michael in his arms
  • later in Sicily, the vengeful scene of Vito Corleone (posing as an olive oil importer) stabbing feeble, senile local Mafia Chieftain Don Francesco Ciccio (Giuseppe Sillato) in his childhood hometown; from under his coat hung over his arm, Vito pulled out a knife and plunged it into the Don's midsection, ripping and pulling the knife up his stomach and leaving it there, and then fleeing from guards' gunfire
  • the scene in a fourth floor hotel suite in Washington DC after crime boss Michael escaped a federal indictment; abused and embittered wife Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton) announced her plans for a divorce - she was not going back to Nevada and she was leaving him (with the children) because "it's too late" and because he had become "blind" to "what's happened" to them and to their son Anthony; Michael vowed and promised to change and that they could have another child after her recent 'miscarriage': ("I know you blame me for losing the baby. Yes. I know what that meant to you. I'll make it up to you, Kay. I swear I'll make it up to you. I'm gonna change. I'll change. I've learned that I have the strength to change. And you'll forget about this miscarriage. And we'll have another child. And we'll go on, you and I. We'll go on")
Kay's "Aborted Child" Speech - and Michael's Violent Outburst
  • this was followed by Kay's "aborted child" denouncement speech regarding their marriage after she had lost all hope in her husband; she admitted that she had deliberately performed a vengeful abortion against him - it wasn't a miscarriage: ("Oh! Oh, Michael, Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael, just like our marriage is an abortion, something that's unholy and evil! I didn't want your son, Michael. I wouldn't bring another one of your sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son, a son, and I had it killed because this must all end! I know now that it's over. I knew it then. There would be no way, Michael, no way you could ever forgive me. Not with this Sicilian thing that's been going on for 2,000 years"); Michael experienced a violent outburst toward her, when he lost control, viciously struck her, and slapped her back onto the couch while yelling "BITCH!":
  • after Fredo's earlier betrayal, he had a last meeting with Michael who asserted: "I've always taken care of you, Fredo," but Fredo complained: "I'm your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over...I'm smart and I want respect!" - before Michael decided: "You're nothing to me now. You're not a brother, You're not a friend, I don't want to know you or what you do..." before Fredo's execution in a boat on the lake while he fished and recited a "Hail Mary"
"I know it was you, Fredo" - Kiss of Death on New Year's Eve
"I'm your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over..."
Fredo's Execution in a Boat
  • the brooding image of Michael in the boathouse with a flashback to a birthday dining room table gathering in happier days in 1941, when he remembered telling the second-generation Corleone family members: "I enlisted in the Marines" - ignoring his father's acquisition of a deferment; Michael recalled that he had once had plans for his own future, separate from his family's criminal activities and his father's plans for him: "Well, I have my own plans for my future"; Michael was awkwardly left alone in the room (at the table) as the rest of the family assembled in an adjoining room and sang a surprise birthday song: "For he's a jolly good fellow" to the off-screen Don Vito Corleone
  • the final devastating shot, in a return to the present (the year 1959), of the prematurely-old, power-mad, paranoid Michael sitting quietly and introspectively on a Tahoe estate lawn chair as the cold winter approached toward his disintegrating life

Young Vito's Arrival at Ellis Island

Michael at Lake Tahoe with Nevada Sen. Pat Geary

Michael's Bedroom Assassination Attempt

67th Birthday Celebration for Hyman Roth in Havana

Vito's Murder of "The Black Hand"

Stabbing of Local Italian Mafia Chieftain Don Francesco Ciccio

Flashback to Corleone Family in Happier Days

Brooding Final Image of Michael After Flashback


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