Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#6 – The Godfather, Part II
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
Spoiler: This is my second favorite Godfather film.
The ability of Francis Ford Coppola to match and in some ways exceed the scope and panorama of Mario Puzo’s Corleone family is unicorn-esque. It just doesn’t fucking happen. The Godfather II is a miracle. Seeing DeNiro embody the spirit of a younger Vito Corleone [with Bruno Kirby to boot!] is not only inspired, but it also shows the right way to handle the kind of fractured narrative the series ended up containing. I don’t know if anyone else used to watch The Godfather Saga on Saturdays in the 80’s but it was astounding to see both films edited together sequentially with added footage. It was a rite of passage. Watching Michael Corleone rise to power here is astonishing and it showcases many of the trademark moments the series is beloved for. A near-perfect movie. Actually, stripped of my emotional connection to the first film this may be even better. Regardless, here it sits. Lofty and deserved space.
Moments to savor:
Al Neri. Watching the dynamic between Michael and Hagen. Fredo’s boat ride. Hyman Roth. Seeign Robert DeNiro bring his wattage to the series. The evolution of Michael Corleone.
There’s a large contingent that feels this is the superior film in the Coppola saga and I can see why. But James Caan and Marlon Brando are just so perfect and hard to match that it’s hard to match.