The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American crime film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a screenplay co-written with Mario Puzo, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Partially based on Puzo’s 1969 novel The Godfather, the film is both sequel and prequel to The Godfather, presenting parallel dramas: one picks up the 1958 story of Michael Corleone (Pacino), the new Don of the Corleone crime family, protecting the family business in the aftermath of an attempt on his life; the prequel covers the journey of his father, Vito Corleone played by De Niro, from his Sicilian childhood to the founding of his family enterprise in New York City.
Following the success of the first film, Paramount Pictures began developing a follow up to the film, with much of the same cast and crew returning. Coppola, who was given more control on the film, had wanted to make both a sequel and a prequel to the film to tell the story of the rise of Vito and the fall of Michael. Principal photography began in October 1973 and wrapped up in June 1974. It was the last major American motion picture to have release prints made with Technicolor’s dye imbibition process until the late 1990s.
The Godfather Part II opened on December 20, 1974, to divided reviews from critics but its reputation, however, improved rapidly and it soon became the subject of critical re-evaluation. It grossed $47.5 million in North America on a $13 million budget. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards at the 47th Academy Awards and became the first sequel to win for Best Picture. Its six Oscar wins also included Best Director for Coppola, Best Supporting Actor for De Niro and Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola and Puzo. Pacino won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Both The Godfather Part II and its predecessor remain highly influential films, especially in the gangster genre, and the former has been reevaluated. In 1997, the American Film Institute ranked it as the 32nd-greatest film in American film history and it retained this position 10 years later. Some have deemed it superior to the 1972 original. It was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1993, being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. The final film in the trilogy, The Godfather Part III, was released in 1990.