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The Godfather: Part II
Year:
1974
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
9.0
Director:
Francis Ford Coppola
Al Pacino as Don Michael Corleone
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton as Kay Adams Michelson
Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone
John Cazale as Fredo Corleone
Talia Shire as Connie Corleone Rizzi
Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth
Michael V. Gazzo as Frankie Pentangeli
G.D. Spradlin as Senator Pat Geary
Richard Bright as Al Neri
Gastone Moschin as Don Fanucci
Tom Rosqui as Rocco Lampone
Bruno Kirby as Young Peter Clemenza
Frank Sivero as Genco Abbandando
Storyline: The continuing saga of the Corleone crime family tells the story of a young Vito Corleone growing up in Sicily and in 1910s New York; and follows Michael Corleone in the 1950s as he attempts to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Hollywood and Cuba.
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Reviews
A cinematic epic by Coppola
The Godfather II is not really a movie about the mafia. The themes that run throughout the film are of power,corruption of power and family. Coppola expertly tells the parallel stories of a father and his son with the use of flashbacks and flashforwards. He simultaneously shows how the father builds an empire and how his son subsequently unwittingly destroys it. The scenes involving the son Michael Corleone are very serious in nature,whereas the scenes involving the father,a young Vito Corleone, are presented in a more jovial manner.Before a flashback or flashforward, Coppola uses an effective technique of having children or the mention of children in the scene in order to emphasize the generational link through children. The flasback scenes are also photographed using different methods of lighting to contrast the different moods.Metaphorically, the story of the Corleones parallels the rise and subsequent corruption of America. The ultimate symbol of America in the form of the Statue of Liberty appears throughout the film. The assassination of Hyman Roth the Jewish Mafia chieftain, is eerily similar to the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald the alleged assassin of President John Kennedy. Coppola effectively uses symbols such as the orange to represent evil. Several scenes show characters that do evil holding an orange (the fruit being a biblical symbol of evil).In an early scene Johnny Ola an emissary for Hyman Roth brings an orange to Michael Corleone from Miami. In a flashback scene, Don Fannucci (the black hand), is seen handling an orange before his demise. Michael Corleone is eating an orange as he plots the murder of his enemies. Coppola also uses catholic religious rituals as backdrops in major murder sequences. As Vito Corleone murders Don Fannucci there is a religious procession on the street. As Michael's brother Fredo is being murdered he is reciting the Hail Mary prayer. In the end Michael loses his soul and family to maintain his power. A great film by a talented director.
2005-04-10
The Greatest Film Ever Made
The original Godfather is a brilliant work. It is in a sense a voyeuristic delight, allowing us to see the mafia from the inside - we become part of the family. It single-handedly change the world's view of organized crime, and created a cast of sympathetic characters, none of whom have a shred of common morality. It was the highest grossing movie of its time and Brando created a cultural icon whose influence resonates as strong today as it did in 1972.

As extraordinary an achievement as this is, Part II is even better. It easily receives my nod as the best picture ever made. I have seen it at least 20 times, and each time its 200 minutes fly by.

The movie uses flashbacks to brilliantly weave two tales. The main story is the reign of Michael Corleone as the world's most powerful criminal. Now reaping the benefits of legalized gambling in Las Vegas, Michael is an evident billionaire with an iron fist on a world of treachery.

Behind this, Director Francis Ford Coppola spins the tale of the rise of Michael's father, Vito, to the center of the New York mafia. It is these scenes that make the film a work of art. Without spoiling, I will simply say the Robert DeNiro as the young Vito is the best acting performance of all time, a role for which he won a richly deserved Oscar.

The screenplay is full of delicious little underworld nuggets ("Keep your friends close .....", "I don't want to kill everyone, just my enemies"), while it blows a dense, twisted plot past you at a dizzying and merciless pace. The cinematography is depressing and atmospheric. The score continues in the eerie role of its predecessor, foretelling death and evil.

All of this makes the movie great and infinitely watchable. But it's what's deeper inside this film ... what it is really about ... that is its true genius.

The Godfather Part II is not really a movie about the mafia, it is a movie about a man's life long struggle. Michael controls a vast empire that is constantly slipping out of his hands. He grows increasingly distrustful and paranoid, and even shows signs that he hates his own life. Michael almost seems to resent the fact that he is a natural born crime lord, a man who puts the family business ahead of everything.

The great Don Michael Corleone can never come to terms with one simple fact.... his father's empire was built on love and respect, Michael's empire is built on fear and violent treachery.

See this movie. It's three-and-a-half hours very well spent.
1999-05-07
Coppola Puts Himself In The Pantheon With Epic Part II Of The Saga
It's hard to give an objective review when you are dealing with favourite movies. Having just watched this for the first time in years I was delighted to see it was as magnificent as I remembered it. Francis Ford Coppola would have been sensible to be wary of doing a sequel when he'd just made a film as acclaimed as The Godfather. How do you follow that? Amazingly he managed to broaden the themes of the original, producing a study of power and corruption that may be unequalled in Hollywood history. And whereas some critics found the first film questionable in its moral compass (is Michael supposed to be a hero?) the sequel leaves us in no doubt that he has passed on into something else and as his wife Kay shrewdly notices, there is no coming back. Judge the film on its own merits and ignore the continuation of the saga in Part III. This is the final Michael as we should always remember him.

The scope of Part II is extraordinary (as if the first film wasn't bold enough!) with the story of father Vito in 1920s New York cross- cut with son Michael's rivalry with ageing mobster Hymen Roth, a respected, though never trusted, business partner of his father. These later sequences may not make sense on first viewing but there are some remarkable set pieces from revolutionary Cuba to a Senate committee in Washington. This is a no holds barred portrait of American society corrupt and hypocritical from top to bottom. How often has Hollywood been so daring

The film invites a contrast between father and son, with young family man Vito embracing criminality out of necessity and using his status to become a 'Godfather' in the Italian American community. Meanwhile in his middle age Michael has become a Don hooked on vengeance with all business now personal. The inevitable conclusion of which is a violent crescendo with him not just wiping out his enemies (again) but committing the far worse sin of betraying his own family.

Few films can have gathered such a fine cast. Al Pacino's Michael is the symbol of idealism turned sour in extremis. More than anything this is what elevates The Godfather over so many other gangster films. He's not just some Goodfella or ordinary guy, he once aspired to be a great man but somewhere something went wrong. Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen is the great constant across the two films, always at the side, never changing, but in his reaction to the transformation of Michael we get confirmation of his moral decline. Diane Keaton as Kay has a meatier role this time and as the voice of 'respectable' America shows the futility of Michael's actions. If he can't keep his family together, what's it all for? John Cazale's Fredo is a tragedy of his own. Secretly resentful of his younger brother, their mutual betrayal becomes one of the emotional cores of the saga. Replacing the character of Clemenza proved relatively easy as even if the story loses something, Michael V. Gazzo was memorable whilst the legendary Lee Strasborg is a suitably cast as rival/partner and pretend Uncle to Michael Hymen Roth, delivering one of the movies' great speeches.

So often artists seem burdened by great achievements, but not here. One can only assume that the young Coppola was so exulted by the critical and commercial phenomenon of The Godfather, he felt capable of anything and judging by this, he near enough was. One only wonders why he's largely struggled to reach similar heights ever since.
2015-01-16
A rare sequel that improves on its absolutely brilliant predecessor in every respect
One of the best sequels of all time and the only Best Picture winner to be the sequel to a previous one, this film improves on its absolutely brilliant predecessor in every respect. Al Pacino is mesmerising as Michael Corleone and Robert De Niro gives a fantastic performance as his father Vito Corleone in the prequel storyline, which won him his first Oscar. The character was very recognisable as a younger version of the Godfather from the first film but De Niro still managed to put his own stamp on the role. Incidentally, Pacino is one of only two actors to be nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for playing the same character, the other being Barry Fitzgerald who was nominated for both awards for playing Father Fitzgibbon in "Going My Way". The writing and direction are once again of an extremely high quality.

I've watched nine films which ran 3+ hours long so far this year and this is one of the best structured of those. There is a not a minute that drags. The two story lines are excellent and I loved the depiction of Michael's moral decay. My favourite scene in the film is the extremely powerful one where Kay tells Michael that she is leaving him and she aborted their child when she discovered that it was a boy as she did not want to perpetuate the next generation of Corleones. I think that Diane Keaton deserved a Best Actress nomination for the film. I was surprised that Talia Shire got a Best Supporting Actress one as, while she is excellent as Connie, she has such little screen time. Besides De Niro, the two strongest newcomers were Lee Strasberg - the legendary acting teacher who taught Pacino, De Niro, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, among many others - and Michael V. Gazzo. Both of them were nominated for Best Supporting Actor but lost to De Niro. I thought that Robert Duvall deserved one too as his performance was even better than in the first film but I suppose that they needed to let other films get a look in!
2015-05-30
"The Godfather Part II is the greatest sequel ever made, one of the greatest films of all time and possibly finer than its superb predecessor *****"
The Godfather Part II (1974)

Number 1 - 1974

Top 3 - 1970s

"My father taught me many things. Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer"

"The Godfather Part II is truly a masterpiece. Timeless, Classic, Beautiful and endlessly watchable"

The second part of Francis Ford Coppola's Epic and violent Gangster Trilogy, follows the reign of Don Michael Corleone as the head of the Corleone family. As well the film shows us the early years of Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) played flawlessly by Academy Award Winner Robert De Niro, and how he created his empire of money, gambling and respect. Beautifully directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Godfather Part II exceeds every expectation with outstanding performances from Academy Award winners Al Pacino,Diane Keaton, Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro. The second part of this unforgettable trilogy is one of the finest films ever made.

This is cinematic art. A treasure of film history. The finest sequel ever made. A faultless, flawless gripping drama; Coppola's second part of his crime saga is in my opinion one of the top 5 films of all time and perhaps towering over the first part.

"As close to perfection as movies get"

"Pacino at his best"

-10/10-
2005-12-31
Almost as good as the original!!!
And that is saying a lot.Probably the most fantastic and well made sequel of all time.Some consider it to be even slightly better than the original but for me the first Godfather is still the best mainly because of Marlon Brando.Despite of that The Godfather part 2 is a flawless movie,a timeless masterpiece with countless qualities that crabs the viewer and never ceases to impress.Al Pacino delivers simply a stunning performance and deserved an Oscar for best actor.Here he isn't the fragile,insecure young man he was in the original film.Here he is wiser and more respectful.Perfect Michael Corleone.The rest of the cast is amazing too.Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen and John Cazale as Fredo shine once again.Cazale as the treacherous Fredo has a bigger role and makes an even greater impact on the audience.But a lot of the credit has to go to the brilliantly cast Robert De Niro who indeed deserved to win the Oscar for best supporting role.His portrayal of the young Vito Corleone and his rise to power is simply stunning.Excellent work.Director Francis Ford Coppola is simply one of the greatest directors not only of his time but of all times and shows once again that he is the biggest fan of the novel and shows great respect both towards Mario Puzo and his work.
2008-03-22
To call it a sequel is a travesty
This movie is way to be good to be labelled a sequel to The Godfather . Rather it is more of a companion piece to the original and the two perfectly compliment each other . IT is both a sequel and prequel showing the rise of the young vito and moral decline of Micheal . Both characters are brought to life with uncanny ability by Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino . To say that these two are good actors is like saying that a nuclear bomb makes a loud noise and in this movie they prove why they are at the top of their respective crafts .

Al Pacino is the standout in the ensemble cast and its amazing how his eyes have changed from the first part . They are now cold , ruthless and unemotional and betray the price which Micheal Corleone has paid for power .

Watch this movie and learn why it is the greatest gangster film of all time.
2001-05-09
Overwritten Script Takes Away from What Could-Have-Been
The sequel to "The Godfather," at times, was just as impressive, and sometimes even more impressive than the original. Overall, though the film struggles with it's flashbacks to an early New York as we watch a young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), rise to power. "The Godfather II," wants to be both a prequel and sequel at the same time. When we're in the present time watching Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) fight off Senators that are trying to squeeze him, or when we're watching his house get shot up on an assassination attempt that involved someone very close to the family we always find our self in amazement. When we jump back in time, you get a feeling of intrusion. The script is to blame because its too bloated, and wants to accomplish so much in it's near three hour run time. When we're in the early 1920s we see things that are entertaining and gratifying, but ultimately not even close to being on par with the present day status of the Corleone family. Its good to know and see how the godfather started out, but there's too much to say and not enough time to say it. The bloated section of the film becomes underwritten. We don't really learn anything about Vito Corleone that we didn't already know. We don't really see how he gains his power. He kills "The Black Hand," and one day, through rumors, he becomes the Don of the city. Just like that. Just like that? Really? Then we come back and he's all of a sudden in the Olive Oil business. We don't know how he got there or anything, he's just there. De Niro gives it his best, but he's just not working with anything to give any kind of performance that's remotely on the same level as Brando did in the previous film. I found it painful to watch De Niro try to imitate Brando.

When we see the city, it does have a good look to it, and its convincing as the set and costumes designs, along with the art direction, are very good. We never see big wide shots of the city block. We see a lot of people and grocery stores go by the quickly moving camera. Coppola does an excellent job of not pulling back too far (Probably didn't have the budget to make a huge set of the city), but we get a claustrophobic sensation. The kind of claustrophobic sensation where a guy right next door, in the next building, is close enough to stick his head out the window, call for you, and hand you a sack full of guns. Coppola encapsulates the city, and the time very well. There are some great moments in the flashbacks, but I could have lived without it entirely, and probably would have watched a much better film (Possibly better than the original).

When Michael finds that his own brother, Fredo (John Cazel), knew about the assassination attempt on his life, and that he was involved and that he never told Michael about his connection with Hymen Roth and Johnny Ola, it infuriates Michael to the point of no return. He feels as though he loses his family. When he confronts Fredo, he doesn't say much; he's sick of him; Fredo's too stupid to have around, and he can't even look at him. Coppola' direction here is magnificent. Even though its dark and you can't see the reactions of both of the men, they're both in the picture with the light shinning through the windows creating silhouettes of the men that were, and we see their body language, and the body language tells us everything we need to know.

Cazel gives a great performance throughout the entire film, and we wish we got to see more from his character. He's so good in this one scene that it stands as one of the best scenes in film history, and a huge part of that is due to him. The words that come out of his mouth are on par with Marlon Brando' speech in, "On the Waterfront." All this frustration, years of it, just boil over to point of pity. He's pleading with his brother. We watch him spill his guts on the table, and admit that he's well aware of being stupid and feeding into that stereotype as he watches his younger brother give him orders we feel his pain and frustration for not living up to the coldness and callousness of his family. He feels like an outsider, a coward, and a loser. All the while, Michael sits in front of the window looking at the boathouse. He doesn't care what Fredo has to say, which makes it all that more painful to watch for the both of them. Michael wants information from him, and that's it. One feels like an outsider, and one is an outsider. Neither of them fit in this lifestyle, but it ruins both of their lives. Fredo wants respect and power. Michael has the power, but no respect, and finds out that he loses everything that he ever cared about: his family. Its one of the most powerful scenes in cinematic history.
2008-08-16
As overrated and boring as the first...if not more!
Well I watched the first Godfather film and wasn't impressed what so ever, completely overrated. However Part II is one of those films that people always go on about being a better sequel than the first...unfortunately it is even more boring and slow than the first.

Again its incredibly long, and literally nothing happens in this film! Only one 'big' event happens (Michael's home being shot up), which isn't that exciting, and the whole film slowly develops around this. There is also the De Niro 'becoming' Don Vito side story which I don't think adds anything to the story at all. He goes from being a normal guy to then shooting the main boss in the town then instantly somehow becomes The Don..with no retaliation what so ever, and it doesn't even show you him becoming The Don. The next time it cuts to his story he is already The Don. Maybe I missed a part (which is possible as I ended up messing around on the internet while watching as it was that boring)
2016-05-15
Now, That's a Sequel
This movie accomplishes what very few sequels ever do, it rivals its predecessor in quality. This film doesn't hit a wrong note at any point. All performances are excellent and there isn't any problem switching back and forth between the early 1900's and the mid 1900's. It flowed so well. I can't argue with the top 3 rating given by IMDb users.
2003-10-03
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