The Godfather Part II is a 1974 crime drama 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, John Cazale, Talia Shire, and Lee Strasberg. The Godfather Part II was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won six, including the Best Picture Award and the Best Supporting Actor Award for Robert De Niro., and it has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
The Godfather Part II presents two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone following the events of the first movie; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily (1901) to his founding of the criminal Corleone Family in New York City while still a young man (1917–1925). The film begins in 1901, in the town of Corleone in Sicily, at the funeral procession for young Vito's father, Antonio Andolini, who has been ordered killed by the local Mafia chieftain, Don Ciccio. During the procession, Vito's older brother Paolo is also murdered because he swore revenge on the Don. Vito's mother goes to Ciccio to beg him to let young Vito live. When he refuses, she holds a knife to his throat, sacrificing herself to allow Vito to escape, and Ciccio's gunmen shoot her. They scour the town for Vito, warning the sleeping townsfolk that they will regret harboring the boy. With the aid of a few of the townspeople, Vito finds his way by ship to New York. Arriving at Ellis Island, an immigration agent, mishearing Vito's hometown of Corleone as his surname, registers him as "Vito Corleone". The film then moves into the late 1950s, to a scene similar to the opening of the first film, where Michael Corleone, Godfather of the Corleone Family, deals with various business and family problems at his Lake Tahoe, Nevada compound during an elaborate party celebrating his son's First Communion. He meets with Nevada Senator Pat Geary, who despises the Corleones, but has shown up with his wife to accept a large endowment to the state university. Senator Geary demands a grossly exaggerated price for a new gaming license and a monthly payment of 5% of the gross profits from all of the Corleone Family's Nevada gaming interests, to which Michael responds with a counter-offer of "nothing". Michael also deals with his sister Connie, who, although recently divorced, is planning to marry a man with no obvious means of support, and of whom Michael disapproves. He also talks with Johnny Ola, the right hand man of Jewish gangster Hyman Roth, who is supporting Michael's move into the gambling industry. Finally, Michael meets with Frank "Five Angels" Pentangeli, who took over Corleone caporegime Peter Clemenza's territory after his death, and now has problems with the Rosato Brothers, who are backed by Roth. Michael refuses to allow Pentangeli to kill the Rosatos, due to his desire to prevent interruption of his business with Roth. Pentangeli leaves abruptly, after telling Michael "your father did business with Hyman Roth, your father respected Hyman Roth, but your father never trusted Hyman Roth." Later that night, an assassination attempt is made on Michael, which he survives when his wife Kay notices the bedroom window drapes are inexplicably open. Afterwards, Michael tells Tom Hagen that the hit was made with the help of someone close, and that he must leave, entrusting Hagen to protect his family. In 1917, the 25-year-old Vito Corleone works in a New York grocery store with his close friend Genco Abbandando. The neighborhood is controlled by a blackhander, Don Fanucci, who extorts protection payments from local businesses. One night, Vito's neighbor 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 his home near Miami, tells Roth that he believes Frank Pentangeli was responsible for the assassination attempt, and that Pentangeli will pay for it. Traveling to Brooklyn, Michael lets Pentangeli know that Roth was actually behind it, and that Michael has a plan to deal with Roth, but needs Frankie to cooperate with the Rosato Brothers in order to put Roth off guard. When Pentangeli goes to meet with the Rosatos, he is told "Michael Corleone says hello", as he is garrotted; but the attempted murder is accidentally interrupted by a policeman. Pentangeli is left for dead, and his bodyguard, Willi Cicci, is wounded by gunfire. In Nevada, Tom Hagen is called to a brothel run by Fredo, where Senator Geary is implicated in the death of a prostitute. Tom offers to take care of the problem in return for "friendship" between the Senator and the Corleone Family. It is implied that the entire event was staged by the Corleone Family in order to gain leverage with Geary and force his cooperation. 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. At a birthday party for Roth, Michael mentions that there is a possibility that the rebels might win, making their business dealings in Cuba problematic. The comment prompts Roth to remark, privately, that Michael has not delivered the two million dollars to seal their partnership. Fredo, carrying the promised money, arrives in Havana and meets Michael. Michael mentions Hyman Roth and Johnny Ola to him, but Fredo says he has never met them. Michael confides to his brother 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 Frank Pentangeli killed. Roth avoids the question, instead speaking angrily of the murder of his old friend and ally Moe Greene, which Michael had orchestrated (as depicted at the end of the first film), saying, "I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!" Michael asks Fredo, who knows Havana well, to show Senator Geary and other important American officials and businessmen a good time, during which Fredo pretends to not know Johnny Ola. Soon after, at a sex show, a drunk Fredo comments loudly that he learned about the place from Johnny Ola, contradicting what he told Michael twice earlier, that he didn't know Roth or Ola. Michael now realizes that the traitor in the Corleone Family is his own brother, and dispatches his bodyguard back to their hotel to kill Roth. There, Johnny Ola is strangled, but Roth, whose health is failing, is taken to a hospital before he can be assassinated. Michael's bodyguard follows, but is shot 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, telling him "I know it was you Fredo; you broke my heart." Batista announces he is stepping down due to unexpected gains by the rebels. The guests flee as the guerrillas pour into the city. Fredo runs away from Michael, despite Michael's pleas that he is still his brother and that the only way out is with him. Michael returns to Las Vegas, where Hagen tells him that Roth escaped Cuba after suffering a stroke and is recovering in Miami, that Michael's bodyguard is dead, and that Fredo is likely hiding in New York. Hagen also informs Michael that Kay had a miscarriage while he was away, which causes Michael to lose his usually calm and collected demeanor. In New York, in 1917, Don Fanucci is now aware of the partnership between Vito, Clemenza and Sal Tessio, and demands that they "wet his beak." Clemenza and Tessio agree to pay, but Vito is reluctant and asks his friends to leave everything in his hands to convince Fanucci to accept less money, telling his friends "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse". Vito manages to get Fanucci to take only one sixth of what he had demanded. Immediately afterwards, during a neighborhood festa, Vito murders Fanucci. Michael returns to his compound in Lake Tahoe, where he wanders the house in silent contemplation. He sees Kay (whom he has prevented from leaving the compound for her own safety) in the bedroom, but does not approach her. In Washington, D.C., a Senate committee, of which Senator 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. With Fanucci dead, Vito earns the respect of the neighborhood and begins to intercede in local disputes, operating out of the storefront of his Genco Olive Oil Company (named after his good friend Genco Abbandando). When Michael appears before the committee, Senator Geary makes a big show of supporting 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. Tom Hagen and Michael discuss the problem. They have found out that Frank Pentangeli is the witness who will testify against him, and observe that Roth's strategy to destroy Michael is well planned. Michael's brother Fredo has been found and persuaded to return to Nevada, and in a private meeting he explains to Michael his betrayal: upset about being passed over to head the Family in favor of Michael, he wants respect and his due. He helped Roth, thinking there would be something in it for him, but 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 tells Fredo: "You're nothing to me now. Not a brother, not a friend, nothing", and privately instructs Al Neri that nothing is to happen to Fredo while their mother is still alive; the understanding is that Fredo will be killed after her death. Frank Pentangeli has made a deal with the FBI to testify against Michael, believing he was the one who organized the attempt on his life. At the hearing in which Pentangeli is to testify, Michael arrives accompanied by Pentangeli's brother Vincenzo, brought in from Sicily, whose surprise presence causes Frank to recant his previous statements about Michael. When Pentangeli is pressed, he claims that he just told the FBI what they wanted to hear. With no witness to testify against Michael the committee adjourns, with Hagen, acting as Michael's lawyer, loudly demanding an apology. At a hotel room afterwards, Kay tries to leave Michael and take their children with her. Michael at first tries to mollify her, but loses his temper and hits her when she coldly reveals to him that her recent "miscarriage" was actually an abortion to avoid bringing another son into Michael's criminal family. In the 1920s, Vito visits Sicily for the first time since leaving for America 20 years earlier. He is introduced to the elderly Don Ciccio by Don Tommasino 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 plunges a large knife into the old man's stomach and carves it open, thereby avenging the deaths of his father, mother and brother. In the ensuing gun battle, Tommasino is shot, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Carmela Corleone, Vito's widow and the mother of his children, dies, and the whole Corleone family reunites at the funeral. Michael is still shunning Fredo, who is miserable and depressed, but relents when Connie implores him to. Michael and Fredo embrace, but at the same time Michael signals to his capo Al Neri that Fredo's protection from harm, in effect while their mother lived, is now over. Michael, Tom Hagen, Al Neri, and Rocco Lampone discuss their final dealings with Hyman 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 killing Roth and the Rosato brothers for revenge is an unnecessary risk. Later, Hagen pays a visit to Frank Pentangeli on a military base and suggests that he take his own life in return for having his family taken care of. With the connivance of Connie, 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 reaches its climax in a montage of assassinations and death, reminiscent of the end of The Godfather: As he arrives at a U.S. airport to be taken into custody, Hyman Roth is killed by Rocco Lampone disguised as a journalist, who is immediately shot dead in turn. Frank Pentangeli is found dead in his bathtub by two FBI agents, having followed Hagen's instructions and committed suicide, slashing his wrists while taking a bath. Finally, Fredo is murdered by Al Neri while they are fishing on Lake Tahoe, as Fredo is saying a Hail Mary to help catch a fish. The penultimate scene takes place as a flashback in 1941, as the Corleone family is preparing a surprise birthday party for Vito. Sonny introduces Carlo Rizzi, Connie's future husband and eventual betrayer of Sonny, to his family. Sal Tessio comes in with the party cake, and they all talk about the recent attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Michael shocks everybody by announcing that he has just enlisted in the United States Marines. Sonny angrily ridicules Michael's choice, while Tom Hagen mentions how his father has great expectations for Michael, and had made specific arrangements for his future. Ironically, Fredo is the only one who supports his brother's decision. When Vito arrives (offscreen), all but Michael leave to greet him. The film ends with Michael in the Corleone Lake Tahoe compound, sitting alone, in silence.
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone Robert DeNiro as Vito Corleone Diane Keaton as Kay Corleone Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen John Cazale as Fredo Corleone Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth Michael V. Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli Morgana King as Carmela Corleone G.D. Spradlin as Senator Pat Geary Richard Bright as Al Neri Dominic Chianese as Johnny Ola Giuseppe Sillato as Don Ciccio Danny Aiello as Tony Rosato