Reader’s Choice #2: Godfather Versus Godfather Part II

After all the talk about “Godfather part II” here, it seemed our next Reader’s Choice had to incorporate it somehow. Generally, Reader’s Choice will incorporate a wider body of work but to borrow from RossvRoss for one week we’ll pit “The Godfather” against its sequel.

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There aren’t many film couplets that have garnered as much praise as Francis Ford Coppola’s first two Godfather films. Part 2 is widely recognised as the greatest sequel of all time and it is easy to see why: it’s a truly brilliant tale of greed and familial power politics inherent in the Italian mafia. But it also looks at the continuing story with wider scope than the original, having two disconnected stories running parallel to each other. It is many people’s favoured film of the two, it garnered more award nominations than its predecessor, and, perhaps most importantly, features two fine performances from two of Hollywood’s greatest actors – Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

But I’ve always loved the original. Pacino is still a raw, undernourished actor and it works perfectly as Godfather Marlon Brando passes on the reigns to his son. Pacino’s coming-of-age during the Sollozzo/McClusky assassination is one of my favourite scenes – superbly edited with exceptional sound design as a passing train is heard outside. Of course, we also get to see Brando in one of his most iconic roles (oh, how he liked to make a splash in Coppola’s films), and James Caan as the unpredictable Sonny.

“The Godfather” and the “The Godfather part II” represent two of the finest works of American cinema. If you were to pick a favourite, which one would you go for?

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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    Aiden R. Reply

    Godfather. Part II is so overrated. Think I’m gonna get some heat for that comment.

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    Grace Owen Reply

    As you say, they are both classics. I see why Godfather part II is loved so much but my choice would be the first film. It’s a more compact story and I love Pacino in it.

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    James Ewing Reply

    I’ve got to go with Part II. For me, what makes this film stand above the original is the compelling backstory with De Nero. To me, I find that story probably the most compelling narrative of the series. Plus, De Nero is one of the great actors and easily outdoes that tallent of the rest of the film, which is still really good.

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    Heather Reply

    I’ve always gotten flack for it, but I’m partial to Part II as well. Not by a long stretch or anything of the like. I think it boils down to personal taste. I just love going back Italy with DeNiro. There are so many beautiful and wonderful scenes in that film, but the first is Epic and original and has Sonny Corleone in it. At the end of the day, each are worthy of being anyone’s favorite.

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    Fitz Reply

    Going to have to go with Godfather. Pacino’s descent into darkness is easily one of the most horrifying transitions on film.

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    Rodney Reply

    @ Aiden: i agree with you on Godfather II. Overrated.

    My vote goes to the original Godfather. Cheers Brando.

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    Darren Reply

    Wow, I thought I was alone with my love of the original, but I do slightly favour it over the sequel – it’s more elegant and straight-forward, in my opinion.

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    Troy Laclure Reply

    Much prefer The Godfather. Both great but Part II is too long.

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    Olive Reply

    Have to go with Part 2 although I’m in the minority (so far anyway). It’s a difficult choice as The Godfather is obviously a stunning film. But for me the second is a work of art. Plus it has De Niro and Pacino, what more could I ask for?!

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    Fitz Reply

    Godfather – 7
    Godfather Pt. II – 3

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    Will Reply

    I honestly don’t think I can pick. Part one is just fantastic and so is Part 2. #2 is so good though because it builds off of the foundation of #1, so because of that the first one is probably better. Part 2 has the whole De Niro part though that I love. I don’t know man, I could go either way depending on what day it is.

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    The Movie Guys Reply

    I’ve always favored the first film but it’s a tough call.

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    The Dude Reply

    Godfather II is more epic. I choose the sequel.

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    Dan Reply

    Thanks to everyone who has voted so far. The Godfather is leading at the moment.

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    Richard Reply

    I think Godfather Part II is probably the more accomplished movie, but I’d have to go with The Godfather as my favourite, if only for the presence of Brando.

    Will I be pelted with tomatoes and horse shit if I mention how underrated I thought Part III was?

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    Olive Reply

    P.S. Tagged you in a meme over on my blog Dan. Sorry in advance!

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    Fitz Reply

    @Richard

    I don’t know if I would go as far to say underrated, but with time passed the film certainly isn’t as bad as everyone remembered it being.

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    DaveC Reply

    Love part 2 but the first film is my favourite of all time.

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    Anna Reply

    Although I do love both, Part II is the one I love more.

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    striker Reply

    Godfather part II – it’s more epic and has De Niro.

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    Dan Reply

    Well I’m going to throw my hat into the ring and say I favour The Godfather. I don’t think Part II is overrated, I think it’s another brilliant film, but I do prefer the first movie. I think the first film feature’s Pacino’s finest performance.

    At the moment The Godfather has had twice the votes as part II – leading 10 to 5.

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    Ross McG Reply

    hehe, its an honour to be borrowed from, Dan.

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    Derek Reply

    Godfather 1

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    T.V.T. Reply

    Godfather.

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    Róisín Reply

    I’d have to side with II. A close call, but the second one has to win out, for me anyway.

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    Ryan Reply

    Godfather part two, darker and packs more of a punch. Plus Pacino gives a much better performance in gf2.

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