You can count on the fingers of one hand sequels that have lived up to the original, and two of them were directed by James Cameron ("Aliens" and "Terminator 2: Judgement Day"). But only one movie can legitimately be said to be better than the film that inspired it, and that is "The Godfather, Part II" - the only sequel to win an Oscar for best picture.
Breathtaking in its scope, scale, and tragic grandeur, this masterful follow-up takes the central theme of the first film (the family that slays together, stays together) and makes it a telling metaphor for America's immigrant experience.
Recreating the early life of Vito Corleone (played with few words by a magnetic Robert De Niro, who won his first Academy Award for his performance), director Francis Ford Coppola shows crime to be the only way for poor immigrants to break the cycle of poverty and corruption.
Fleeing Sicily to build a new life in New York, Vito quickly learns the best route to the top is to be even more ruthless than the next guy. Meanwhile, half a century later, Vito's son Michael (Al Pacino, chilling as ever) seeks to consolidate his empire by making dodgy business deals in Cuba, only to find betrayal in the hearts of those he trusts the most.
"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." These are words Michael comes to live by, and an ideology that climaxes in a shattering act of violence which leaves him unassailable, invincible - and utterly alone.
Find out more about "The Godfather" films.