The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
The Godfather Part II (1974)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
The Godfather Part II

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli
Saturday, June 22, 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm  
Instructor: Paul Wright, Ph.D., Main Line Classical Academy

Francis Ford Coppola’s  The Godfather Part II  (1974), which turns fifty this year, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, as did its predecessor. It remains one of the most acclaimed American films ever made, often surpassing the first film in regard. Together, we will explore the aesthetic, historical, and cultural significance of  Part II, as well as the ways in which it completed the first film’s transformation of novelist Mario Puzo’s originally pulpy tale into a defining American tragedy on the order of Shakespeare. 

A withering commentary on the American family under capitalism,  Part II  proves that a sequel need not slavishly parrot a successful original, but might instead complicate it in unexpected, profound ways. The triumph of “godfather” Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in the first film comes at a high price in the sequel, demonstrating the corruptive consequences of power pursued in the name of defending one’s family. In a parallel and counterpoint to the story of Michael,  Part II  also explores the rise of Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro in an evocation of Marlon Brando’s older Vito in Part I. By contrasting Vito’s early-20th century journey to America with son Michael’s experiences in the post-WWII U.S., the film raises abiding questions about the nation’s changes in the twentieth century, and how those impacted our understanding of American identity and family. 

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Saturday, June 22 · 12:30 pm