The first of the Godfather films cost 6 million dollars and has to date grossed 133 million dollars, making it one of the most profitable films of all time. It was the highest-grossing film in its year of release and in adjusted dollars it’s among the top 25 highest grossing films in the history of movies.
Its sequel, The Godfather Part II, cost 13 million dollars and has to date grossed 57 million dollars. It was the fifth most successful film in its years of release. Not in the same box-office league as its predecessor, but it has still earned the studio which made it a clear profit of at least 13 million dollars on an investment of 13 million dollars. In most businesses, that would qualify as a killing.
The Godfather Part II is one of the greatest of all films. It is intelligent, impeccably crafted, visually stunning, profound in its insight into American culture — and wildly entertaining. The idea that an intelligent, impeccably crafted, profound, visually stunning film could be a high-grossing film today is an almost surreal fantasy. The film came out 40 years ago. 40 years is a long time, but it’s not that long a time.
What has happened to Hollywood, to our culture, in those four decades? Has there ever been a more complete and more catastrophic collapse of values, virtue and taste in the whole history of human civilization — apart from cultures ravaged by war or financial apocalypse?
This is a subject worthy of the most serious meditation.
Meanwhile, the Blu-ray edition of The Godfather Part II belongs in every civilized home.
Click on the images to enlarge.