The Godfather: Part II
"The Godfather Part II" by Yojimbo
It's difficult for me to think of this as a sequel per se. It's a true and natural continuation of the original and one of the best films ever made in it's own right. The way the story flits between the story of Vito's humble beginnings when Sonny, Fredo and Michael were infants and compares and contrasts where their lives have brought them is magnificent, the relationship between Fredo and Michael being particularly poignant. We see how Vito used violence to settle scores and remove the opposition, where an increasingly cold and hard Michael uses it as matter of factly as a business tool, even on his own friends and family. Coppolla's uses of light breaks with tradition, choosing to contrast the outside world with the Corleone's dark underworld which is constantly steeped in blackest shadow. This is one of Pacino's best performances, complimented perfectly by Duvall, DeNiro (who makes a very believable young Vito) and Cazale. Complex, sophisticated, and more an experience than mere entertainment.