Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola

Coppola at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International.
Born April 7, 1939 (1939-04-07) (age 72)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1963–present
Influenced by Ingmar Bergman, Sergei Eisenstein, Werner Herzog, Roger Corman, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, Akira Kurosawa, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams
Spouse Eleanor Jessie Neil (1963–present)
Children Sofia Coppola
Roman Coppola
Gian-Carlo Coppola
Parents Carmine Coppola
Italia Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola (play /ˈkpələ/ koh-pə-lə; born April 7, 1939)[1] is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He is widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood's most innovative and influential film directors.[1] He epitomized the group of filmmakers known as the New Hollywood, that includes George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Woody Allen, William Friedkin, Peter Bogdanovich, and Brian De Palma who emerged in the early 1970s with unconventional ideas that challenged contemporary filmmaking.[2][3]

He co-authored the script for Patton, winning the Academy Award in 1970. His directorial fame escalated with the release of The Godfather in 1972. The film revolutionized movie-making in the gangster genre, earning praise from critics and public alike. It went on to win three Academy Awards, including his second, for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was instrumental in cementing his position as a prominent American film director.

Coppola followed it with a critically successful sequel, The Godfather Part II, which became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film was highly praised and won him three Academy Awards—for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. The Conversation, which Coppola directed, produced and wrote, was released that same year, winning the Palme d'Or at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival. He next directed 1979's Apocalypse Now; notorious for its lengthy and troubled production and critically acclaimed for its vivid and stark depiction of the Vietnam War. It won his second Palme d'Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival.

Contents

Early life

Coppola was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family of Italian ancestry (his paternal grandparents were immigrants from Bernalda, Basilicata).[4] He received his middle name in honor of Henry Ford, as he was born at the Henry Ford Hospital.[5] His parents were Italia (née Pennino) and Carmine Coppola, who was the first flutist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He was the second of three children (his older brother was August Coppola and younger sister is actress Talia Shire). Two years later, Carmine became the first flutist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the family moved to New York City, finding a home in Woodside, Queens, where Francis spent the remainder of his childhood.

Coppola had polio as a boy, leaving him bedridden for large periods of his childhood, and allowing him to indulge his imagination with homemade puppet theater productions. Reading A Streetcar Named Desire at age 15 was instrumental in developing his interest in theater.[6] Eager to be involved in film-craft, he turned out 8mm features edited from home movies with such titles as The Rich Millionaire and The Lost Wallet.[7] As a child he was a mediocre student but was very much interested in technology and engineering; so much, in fact, that his friends nicknamed him “Science”.[8] Initially he trained for a career in music and became so proficient on the tuba that he won a musical scholarship to the New York Military Academy.[7] After graduating from the Great Neck North High School,[2] he entered Hofstra University in 1955 majoring in theater arts. There he won a play-writing scholarship, which furthered his interest in directing theater, though this wasn't approved by his father, who wanted him to study engineering.[9] However, after he chanced to see Sergei Eisenstein’s October, which impressed him profoundly, particularly the quality of editing in the movie, Coppola decided that he would not go into theater but would opt for cinema.[9] Among his batch-mates were Lainie Kazan and James Caan.[2] He would later cast Caan in The Rain People and in The Godfather as Sonny Corleone.

While pursuing his bachelor's degree, Coppola was elected president of The Green Wig, the university's drama group, the Kaleidoscopians, its musical comedy club, and then merged the two into The Spectrum Players. Under his leadership, they staged a new production each week. Coppola also founded the cinema workshop at Hofstra, and contributed prolifically to the campus literary magazine.[7] He won three D. H. Lawrence Awards for theatrical production and direction, and received a Beckerman Award for his outstanding contributions to the school's theater arts division.[10] While a graduate student, one of his teachers was Dorothy Arzner, whose encouragement Coppola later acknowledged as pivotal to his film career.[6] He graduated from the University in 1959.[7]

Career

1960s

After obtaining his bachelor's degree from Hofstra, Coppola enrolled in the University of California at Los Angeles, where he met Jim Morrison. Coppola would later use Morrison's well-known song "The End" in Apocalypse Now.[11] Very soon he enrolled in UCLA Film School for graduate work in film.[7] At UCLA, Coppola directed a short horror film called “The Two Christophers” inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "William Wilson". He also directed “Ayamonn the Terrible”, a film about a sculptor’s nightmares coming to life.[8] It was then he decided to experiment as a serious film director and ended up directing a softcore porn film Tonight for Sure in 1962.[2] The film failed to attract any attention. The company that hired Coppola to edit Tonight for Sure brought him back to re-cut a German film titled Mit Eva fing die Sünde an directed by Fritz Umgelter. He added some new 3-D color footage and earned a writer’s and director’s credit for The Bellboy and the Playgirls, also a box-office failure. Coppola was hired as an assistant by Roger Corman.[12] His first job for Corman was to dub and re-edit a Russian science fiction film Nebo zovyot, which he turned into a sex-and-violence monster movie entitled Battle Beyond the Sun, released in 1962.[2][13] Impressed by Coppola's perseverance and dedication, Corman hired him as dialogue director on Tower of London (1962), sound man for The Young Racers (1963) and associate producer of The Terror (1963).[10]

While on location in Ireland for The Young Racers in 1963, Corman, ever alert for an opportunity to produce a decent movie on a shoestring budget, persuaded Coppola to make a low-budget horror movie with funds left over from that movie.[10] Coppola wrote a brief draft story idea in one night. It incorporated elements from Hitchcock's Psycho,[14] and it impressed Corman enough to give him the go-ahead. On a budget of $40,000 ($20,000 from Corman and $20,000 from another producer who wanted to buy the movie's English rights),[14] Coppola directed in a period of just nine days, Dementia 13, his first feature from his own original screenplay. Somewhat superior to the run-of-the-mill exploitation films being turned out at that time, the film recouped its shoestring expenses and went on to become a minor cult film among horror buffs. It was on the sets of Dementia 13 that he met his future wife Eleanor Jessie Neil.

In 1965, Coppola won the annual Samuel Goldwyn Award for the best screenplay (Pilma, Pilma) written by a UCLA student.[7] This secured him a job as a scriptwriter with Seven Arts. In between, he co-wrote the scripts for This Property Is Condemned (1966) and Is Paris Burning? (1966). However fame was still eluding him, and partly out of desperation, Coppola bought the rights to the David Benedictus novel You're a Big Boy Now and fused it with a story idea of his own, resulting in You're a Big Boy Now (1966). This was his UCLA thesis project that also received a theatrical release via Warner Bros..[2] This movie brought him some critical acclaim and eventually the Master of Fine Arts Degree.[10]

Following the success of You're a Big Boy Now, Coppola was offered the reins of the movie version of the Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow, starring Petula Clark, in her first American film, and veteran Fred Astaire. Producer Jack Warner was nonplussed by Coppola's shaggy-haired, bearded, "hippie" appearance and generally left him to his own devices. He took his cast to the Napa Valley for much of the outdoor shooting, but these scenes were in sharp contrast to those obviously filmed on a Hollywood soundstage, resulting in a disjointed look to the film. Dealing with outdated material at a time when the popularity of film musicals was already on the downslide, Coppola's result was only semi-successful, but his work with Clark no doubt contributed to her Golden Globe Best Actress nomination. The film introduced George Lucas to him, who became his life-long friend as well as production assistant in his next film The Rain People in 1969. It was written, directed and initially produced by Coppola himself, though as the movie advanced, he fell short of his budget and the studio had to underwrite the remainder of the movie.[2] The film won the Golden Shell at the 1969 San Sebastian Film Festival.

In 1969, Coppola took it upon himself to subvert the studio system which he felt had stifled his visions, intending to produce mainstream pictures to finance off-beat projects and give first-time directors their chance to direct. He decided he would name his future studio "Zoetrope" after receiving a gift of zoetropes from Mogens Scot-Hansen, founder of a studio called Lanterna Film and owner of a famous collection of early motion picture making equipment. While touring Europe, Coppola was introduced to alternative filmmaking equipment and inspired by the bohemian spirit of Lanterna Film. He decided he would build a deviant studio that would conceive and implement creative, unconventional approaches to filmmaking. Upon his return home, Coppola and George Lucas searched for a mansion in Marin to house the studio. However, with equipment flowing in and no mansion found yet, the first home for Zoetrope Studio became a warehouse in San Francisco on Folsom Street in 1969.[15] The studio went on to become an early adopter of digital filmmaking, including some of the earliest uses of HDTV.

1970s

Patton (1970)

Coppola co-wrote the script for Patton in 1970 along with Edmund H. North. This earned him his first Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. However, it was not easy for Coppola to convince Franklin J. Schaffner that the opening scene would work. Coppola later revealed in an interview:[16]

I wrote the script of Patton. And the script was very controversial when I wrote it, because they thought it was so stylized. It was supposed to be like, sort of, you know, The Longest Day. And my script of Patton was -- I was sort of interested in the reincarnation. And I had this very bizarre opening where he stands up in front of an American flag and gives this speech. Ultimately, I wasn't fired, but I was fired, meaning that when the script was done, they said, "Okay, thank you very much," and they went and hired another writer and that script was forgotten. And I remember very vividly this long, kind of being raked over the coals for this opening scene.

Even after the director was persuaded to keep the scene intact, George C. Scott refused to do it, as he believed it would overshadow the rest of his performance. The director lied and assured him that it would be shown at the end. The movie opens with Scott's rendering of Patton's famous military "Pep Talk" to members of the Third Army, set against a huge American flag. Coppola and North had to tone down Patton's actual language to avoid an R rating; in the opening monologue, the word "fornicating" replaced "fucking" when criticizing the The Saturday Evening Post. Over the years, this opening monologue has become an iconic scene, and has spawned parodies in numerous films, political cartoons and television shows.

The Godfather (1972)

The release of The Godfather in 1972 was a milestone in cinema. The near 3-hour-long epic, which chronicled the saga of the Corleone family, received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and fetched Coppola the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, which he shared with Mario Puzo, and two Golden Globe Awards- for Best Director and Best Screenplay. However, Coppola had to face a lot of difficulties while filming The Godfather. He was not Paramount's first choice to direct the movie; Italian director Sergio Leone was initially offered the job, but declined in order to direct his own gangster opus, Once Upon a Time in America.[17] Peter Bogdanovich was then approached but he also declined the offer and made What's Up, Doc? instead; Bogdanovich has often said that he would have cast Edward G. Robinson in the lead had he accepted the film. According to Robert Evans, head of Paramount Pictures at the time, Coppola also did not initially want to direct the film because he feared it would glorify the Mafia and violence, and thus reflect poorly on his Sicilian and Italian heritage; on the other hand, Evans specifically wanted an Italian-American to direct the film because his research had shown that previous films about the Mafia that were directed by non-Italians had fared dismally at the box office, and he wanted to, in his own words, "smell the spaghetti". When Coppola hit upon the idea of making it a metaphor for American capitalism, however, he eagerly agreed to take the helm.[18]

There was disagreement between Paramount and Coppola on the issue of casting; Coppola stuck to his plan of casting Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, though Paramount wanted either Ernest Borgnine or Danny Thomas. At one point, Coppola was told by the then-president of Paramount that "Marlon Brando will never appear in this motion picture". After pleading with the executives, Coppola was allowed to cast Brando only if he appeared in the film for much less salary than his previous films, perform a screen-test, and put up a bond saying that he would not cause a delay in the production (as he had done on previous film sets).[19] Coppola chose Brando over Ernest Borgnine on the basis of Brando's screen test, which also won over the Paramount leadership. Brando later won an Academy Award for his portrayal, which he refused to accept. Coppola would later recollect:[14]

The Godfather was a very unappreciated movie when we were making it. They were very unhappy with it. They didn't like the cast. They didn't like the way I was shooting it. I was always on the verge of getting fired. So it was an extremely nightmarish experience. I had two little kids, and the third one was born during that. We lived in a little apartment, and I was basically frightened that they didn't like it. They had as much as said that, so when it was all over I wasn't at all confident that it was going to be successful, and that I'd ever get another job.

After it was released, the film received widespread praise. It went on to win multiple awards, including Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Coppola. The film routinely features at the top in various polls for the greatest movies ever. It has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In addition, it is ranked third, behind Citizen Kane, and Casablanca on the AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies list by the American Film Institute. It was moved up to second when the list was published again, in 2008.[20] Director Stanley Kubrick believed that The Godfather was possibly the greatest movie ever made, and had without question the best cast.[21]

The Conversation (1974)

Coppola's next film, The Conversation, further cemented his position as one of the most talented auteurs of Hollywood.[22] The movie was partly influenced by Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup (1966).[23] The film generated a lot of speculation and interest when news leaked that the film utilized the very same surveillance and wire-tapping equipment that members of the Nixon administration used to spy on political opponents prior to Watergate. Although Coppola insisted that this was purely coincidental, for not only was the script for The Conversation completed in the mid-1960s (before the election of Richard Nixon) but the spying equipment used in the film was discovered through research and the use of technical advisers and not, as many believed, by revelatory newspaper stories about the Watergate break-in. However, the audience interpreted the film to be a reaction to both the Watergate scandal and its fall-out. The movie was a critical success, and won Coppola his first Palme d'Or at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival.

The Godfather Part II (1974)

Coppola shot The Godfather Part II parallel to The Conversation. It was the last major American motion picture to be filmed in Technicolor. George Lucas commented on the film after its five-hour-long preview, telling Coppola: "You have two films. Take one away, it doesn't work", referring to the movie's portrayal of two parallel storylines; one of a young Vito Corleone and the other of his son Michael. In the director's commentary on the DVD edition of the film (released in 2002), Coppola states that this film was the first major motion picture to use "Part II" in its title. Paramount was initially opposed to his decision to name the movie The Godfather Part II. According to Coppola, the studio's objection stemmed from the belief that audiences would be reluctant to see a film with such a title, as the audience would supposedly believe that, having already seen The Godfather, there was little reason to see an addition to the original story. The success of The Godfather Part II began the Hollywood tradition of numbered sequels. The movie was released in 1974, and went on to receive tremendous critical acclaim, with many deeming it superior to its predecessor.[24] It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and received 6 Oscars, including 3 for Coppola: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.

The Godfather Part II is ranked as the #1 greatest movie of all time in TV Guide's "50 Best Movies of All Time",[25] and is ranked at #7 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the "100 Greatest Movies of All Time".[26] The film is also featured on movie critic Leonard Maltin's list of the "100 Must-See Films of the 20th Century",[27] as well as Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.[28] It was also featured on Sight and Sound's list of the ten greatest films of all time in 2002, ranking at #4.[29]

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Following the success of The Godfather, The Conversation and The Godfather Part II, Coppola began filming Apocalypse Now, an adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness set in Cambodia during the Vietnam War (Coppola himself briefly appears as a TV news director). Before production of the film began, Coppola went to his mentor Roger Corman for advice about shooting in the Philippines, since Corman had filmed several pictures there. Coppola said that all the advice Corman offered was "Don't go".[30] The production of the film was plagued by numerous problems, including typhoons, nervous breakdowns, the firing of Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen's heart attack, extras from the Philippine military leaving in the middle of scenes to go fight rebels, and an unprepared Brando with a bloated appearance (which Coppola attempted to hide by shooting him in the shadows). It was delayed so often it was nicknamed Apocalypse When?.[31] The 1991 documentary film Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, directed by Eleanor Coppola (Francis's wife), Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper, chronicles the difficulties the crew went through making Apocalypse Now, and features behind-the-scenes footage filmed by Eleanor. After filming Apocalypse Now, Coppola famously stated:[32] "We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little, we went insane."

The film was overwhelmingly lauded by critics when it finally appeared in 1979, and was selected at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival and won the Palme d'Or, along with The Tin Drum, directed by Volker Schlöndorff. When the film screened at Cannes, he quipped:[31] "My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam." Apocalypse Now's reputation has grown in time and it is now regarded by many as a masterpiece of the New Hollywood era, and is frequently cited as one of the greatest movies ever made.[2][33][34][35] Roger Ebert considers it to be the finest film on the Vietnam war and included it on his list for the 2002 Sight and Sound poll for the greatest movie of all time.[36][37]

In 2001, Coppola re-released Apocalypse Now as Apocalypse Now Redux, restoring several sequences lost from the original 1979 cut of the film, thereby expanding its length to 200 minutes.

1980s

One from the Heart (1982)

Apocalypse Now marked the end of the golden phase of Coppola's career.[2] His musical fantasy One from the Heart, although it pioneered the use of video-editing techniques which are standard practice in the film industry today, ended with a disastrous box-office gross of $636,796 against a US$26 million budget,[38] far from enough to recoup the costs incurred in the production of the movie, and he was forced to sell his 23-acre Zoetrope Studio in 1983.[10] He would spend the rest of the decade working to pay his debts. (Zoetrope Studios finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990, after which its name was changed to American Zoetrope).[2] In addition he was forced into US bankruptcy court three times in the next 8 years.[39]

Hammett (1982)

Following the disastrous One from the Heart, Coppola co-directed Hammett along with Wim Wenders in the same year. Although Coppola was not credited for his effort, according to one source, "by the time the final version was released in 1982, only 30 percent of Wenders' footage remained, and the rest was completely reshot by Coppola, whose mere 'executive producer' credit is just a technicality."[40]

The Outsiders (1983)

In 1983, he directed The Outsiders, a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton. Coppola credited his inspiration for making the film to a suggestion from middle school students who had read the novel. The Outsiders is notable for being the breakout film for a number of young actors who would go on to become major stars. These included major roles for Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, and C. Thomas Howell. Also in the cast were Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane, and Tom Cruise. Matt Dillon and several others also starred in Coppola's related film, Rumble Fish, which was also based on a S. E. Hinton novel and filmed at the same time as The Outsiders on-location in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Carmine Coppola wrote and edited the musical score, including the title song "Stay Gold", which was based upon a famous Robert Frost poem and performed for the movie by Stevie Wonder. The film was a moderate box-office success, drawing a revenue of $25 million[41] against a budget of $10 million.[42]

Rumble Fish (1983)

Rumble Fish was based on the novel of the same name by S. E. Hinton, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Shot in black-and-white as an homage to German expressionist films, Rumble Fish centers on the relationship between a revered former gang leader (Mickey Rourke), and his younger brother, Rusty James (Matt Dillon). The film bombed at the box office, earning a meagre $2.5 million against a budget of $10 million,[43] and once again aggravated Coppola's financial troubles.

The Cotton Club (1984)

In 1984 Coppola directed Robert Evans-produced The Cotton Club. The film was nominated for several awards, including Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Picture (Drama) and the Oscar for Best Film Editing. However the film failed miserably at the box-office, recouping only $25.9 million of the $47.9 million privately invested by brothers Fred and Ed Doumani.[22] The same year he directed an episode of Rip Van Winkle, where Harry Dean Stanton played the lead role.[44] The next year, along with producer George Lucas, he was able to indulge himself by making Captain EO (1985), a 12-minute space fantasy for Disney theme parks starring pop superstar Michael Jackson. At a cost of about one million dollars per minute of film, it was, minute-for-minute, the most expensive motion picture of all time.[1][45]

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

In 1986 Coppola released the comedy Peggy Sue Got Married starring Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage and Jim Carrey. Much like The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, Peggy Sue Got Married centered around teenage youth. The film earned Coppola positive feedback and provided Kathleen Turner her first and only Oscar nomination. It was the first box-office success for Coppola since Apocalypse Now.[46] The film later ranked number 17 on Entertainment Weekly's list of "50 Best High School Movies."[47]

Gardens of Stone (1987)

The following year, Coppola re-teamed with James Caan for Gardens of Stone. The film was overshadowed by the death of Coppola's eldest son Gian-Carlo Coppola during the film's production. The movie was not a critical success and performed poorly at the box office, earning only $5.2 million.[48]

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

Coppola directed Tucker: The Man and His Dream the following year. A biopic based on the life of Preston Tucker and his attempt to produce and market the Tucker '48, Coppola had originally conceived the project as a musical with Marlon Brando after the release of The Godfather Part II. Ultimately it was Jeff Bridges who played the role of Preston Tucker. The film received positive reviews, earning three nominations at the 62nd Academy Awards. In addition, Martin Landau won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, while Dean Tavoularis won the BAFTA Award for Best Production Design.

New York Stories (1989)

In 1989 Coppola teamed up with fellow Oscar-winning directors Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen for an anthology film called New York Stories. Coppola directed the Life Without Zoe segment starring his sister Talia Shire, and also co-wrote the film with his daughter Sofia Coppola. Life Without Zoe was mostly panned by critics and was generally considered the segment that brought the film's overall quality down.[49][50] Hal Hinson of The Washington Post wrote a particularly scathing review, stating that "It's impossible to know what Francis Coppola's Life Without Zoe is. Co-written with his daughter Sofia, the film is a mystifying embarrassment; it's by far the director's worst work yet."[51]

1990s

The Godfather Part III (1990)

Francis Ford Coppola at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1990, he released the third and final chapter of The Godfather series: The Godfather Part III. Coppola successfully managed to get Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, and Talia Shire to return to the franchise, but Robert Duvall refused to reprise his role as Tom Hagen over salary disagreements.[52] While not as critically acclaimed as the first two films,[53][54][55] it was still a box office success, earning a revenue of $136 million against a budget of $54 million.[56] Some reviewers criticized the casting of Coppola's daughter Sofia, who stepped into a role abandoned by Winona Ryder just as filming began.[53] Despite this, The Godfather Part III went on to gather 7 Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture. The film failed to win any of these awards, the only film in the trilogy to do so.

Dracula (1992)

In 1992, Coppola directed, co-produced and co-wrote Dracula. Adapted from Bram Stoker's novel, it was intended to be more faithful to the book than previous film adaptations.[57] Coppola cast Gary Oldman in the film's title role, with Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins in supporting roles. The movie became a box-office hit, grossing $82,522,790 domestically, making it the 15th highest-grossing film of the year.[58] It fared much better overseas grossing $133,339,902 for a total worldwide gross of $215,862,692,[59] making it the 9th highest grossing film of the year worldwide.[60] The film won Academy Awards for Costume Design, Makeup, and Sound Editing.

Jack (1996)

Coppola's next project was Jack, which was released in August, 1996. It stars Robin Williams as Jack Powell, a ten-year-old boy whose cells are growing at four times the normal rate, so at the age of ten he looks like a 40-year-old man. Jack persuades his parents (Diane Lane and Brian Kerwin) to let him attend regular school, based upon a recommendation from his tutor, Mr. Woodruff (Bill Cosby). The rest of the film deals with Jack's failures and successes as a student in a regular elementary school in the fifth grade, through the end of his life in high school. Jack also featured Jennifer Lopez, Fran Drescher and Michael McKean in supporting roles. Although a moderate box-office success, grossing $58 million domestically on an estimated $45 million budget, it was panned by critics, many of whom disliked the film's abrupt contrast between actual comedy and tragic melodrama. It was also unfavorably compared to the 1988 film Big, in which Tom Hanks also played a child in a grown man's body. Most critics felt that the screenplay was poorly written, not funny, and the dramatic material was unconvincing and unbelievable. Other critics felt that Coppola was too talented to be making this type of film. Although ridiculed for making the film, Coppola has defended it, saying he is not ashamed of the final cut of the movie. He had been friends with Robin Williams for many years and had always wanted to work with him as an actor. When Williams was offered the screenplay for Jack he said he would only agree to do it if Coppola agreed to sign on as director.

The Rainmaker (1997)

The last film Coppola directed in the 90s, The Rainmaker was based on the 1995 novel of the same name by John Grisham. An ensemble courtroom drama, the film was well-received by critics, earning an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[61] Roger Ebert gave The Rainmaker three stars out of four, remarking: "I have enjoyed several of the movies based on Grisham novels ... but I've usually seen the storyteller's craft rather than the novelist's art being reflected. ... By keeping all of the little people in focus, Coppola shows the variety of a young lawyer's life, where every client is necessary and most of them need a lot more than a lawyer."[62] James Berardinelli also gave the film three stars out of four, saying that "the intelligence and subtlety of The Rainmaker took me by surprise" and that the film "stands above any other filmed Grisham adaptation".[63] Grisham said of the film, "To me it's the best adaptation of any of [my books]. ... I love the movie. It's so well done."[64] The film grossed about $45 million domestically.[65] This would be more than the estimated production budget of $40 million but a disappointment compared to previous films adapted from a Grisham novel.

Zoetrope: All-Story

In 1997, Coppola founded Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine devoted to short stories and design. The magazine publishes fiction by emerging writers alongside more recognizable names, such as Woody Allen, Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, Alice Munro, Don DeLillo, Mary Gaitskill, and Edward Albee; as well as essays, including ones from Mario Vargas Llosa, David Mamet, Steven Spielberg, and Salman Rushdie. Each issue is designed, in its entirety, by a prominent artist, one usually working outside his / her expected field. Previous guest designers include Gus Van Sant, Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Marjane Satrapi, Guillermo del Toro, David Bowie, David Byrne, and Dennis Hopper. Coppola serves as founding editor and publisher of All-Story.

Dispute with Warner Bros.

In the late 1980s, Coppola started considering concepts for a motion picture based upon the 19th century novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. In 1991, Coppola and Warner Bros. began discussing the project and two others involving the life of J. Edgar Hoover and the children's novel The Secret Garden. These discussions led to negotiations for Coppola to both produce and direct the Pinocchio project for Warner, as well as Secret Garden and Hoover. However, in mid-1991 Coppola and Warner came to disagreement over the compensation to be paid to Coppola for his directing services on Pinocchio.[66] The parties deferred this issue, and finally a settlement was reached in 1998, when the jurors awarded Coppola $20 million as compensation for losing the film project, Pinocchio. This was the largest civil verdict ever against a Hollywood studio.[39] The Los Angeles jury awarded him $60 million in punitive damages on top of the $20 million, stemming from his charges that Warner Bros. sabotaged his intended version.[39]

2000s

Youth Without Youth (2007)

Francis Ford Coppola at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

After a 10-year hiatus, Coppola returned to film direction with Youth Without Youth in 2007. It was based on the novella of the same name by Romanian author Mircea Eliade. The film was poorly reviewed, currently holding a 30% 'rotten' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[67] It was made for about $19 million, and was given a limited release. As a result, Coppola announced his plans to produce his own films in order to avoid the marketing input that goes into most films (trying to make them appeal to too wide an audience). The film managed a meager $244,397 at the box-office.[68]

Tetro (2009)

In 2009, Coppola released Tetro. It was "set in Argentina, with the reunion of two brothers, the story follows the rivalries born out of creative differences passed down through generations of an artistic Italian immigrant family."[69] The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, the film has an average metascore of 63% based on 19 reviews.[70] Rotten Tomatoes reported that 68% of critics gave positive reviews based on 71 reviews with an average score of 5.6/10.[71] Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 71% based on 24 reviews.[71] Overall, the Rotten Tomatoes consensus was: "A complex meditation on family dynamics, Tetro's arresting visuals and emotional core compensate for its uneven narrative."[71]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars, praising the film for being "boldly operatic, involving family drama, secrets, generations at war, melodrama, romance and violence". Ebert also praised Vincent Gallo's performance, but claimed Alden Ehrenreich is "the new Leonardo DiCaprio".[72] Todd McCarthy of Variety gave the film a B+ judging that "Coppola finds creative nirvana, he frequently has trouble delivering the full goods."[73] Richard Corliss of TIME gave the film a mixed review, praising Ehrenreich's performance, but claiming Coppola "has made a movie in which plenty happens but nothing rings true."[74]

Other ventures

Coppola co-produced George Lucas’s first film, THX 1138, in 1971. Shortly after completion of production Lucas and Coppola brought the finished film to Warner Bros., along with several other scripts for potential projects at American Zoetrope. However, studio executives strongly disliked all the scripts including THX. Warner demanded that Coppola repay the $300,000 they had loaned him for the Zoetrope studio, and insisted on cutting five minutes from the film. The debt nearly closed Zoetrope, and forced Coppola to (reluctantly) focus on The Godfather.[24] In 1974, he wrote the screenplay for The Great Gatsby,[12] and in 1979, he was executive producer for The Black Stallion.[12]

Coppola, with his family, expanded his business ventures to include winemaking in California's Napa Valley, where he purchased the former home and adjoining vineyard of Gustave Niebaum in Rutherford, California. He bought the property in 1975 using proceeds from the first movie in the Godfather trilogy.[75] His winery produced its first vintage in 1977 with the help of his father, wife and children stomping the grapes barefoot. Every year, the family has a harvest party to continue the tradition.[76] After purchasing the property, he produced wine under the Niebaum-Coppola label. He purchased the former Inglenook Winery chateau in 1995 and renamed the winery Rubicon Estate Winery in 2006. The company also produces a line of pastas and pasta sauces. He owns the Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize. For 14 years he co-owned the "Rubicon" restaurant in San Francisco along with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. The restaurant closed in August 2008. Coppola also owns Francis Ford Coppola Winery near Geyserville, California where he has opened a family-friendly facility with swimming pools, bocce courts and a restaurant. The winery displays several of Coppola's Oscars along with memorabilia from his movies including a desk from The Godfather and a restored 1948 Tucker Sedan. This winery is located on the former Chateau Souverain Winery.[77] Coppola is also the owner of Francis Ford Coppola Presents, a lifestyle brand under which he markets goods from companies he owns or controls. It includes films and videos, resorts, cafes, a literary magazine and a winery. He brought out the San Francisco-based City Magazine in the '70s. He lost 1.5 million dollars in this venture.[78][79] Coppola serves as the "Honorary Consul H. E. Francis Ford Coppola" for the Central American nation of Belize in San Francisco.[80] He was the jury president at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.[79] He also took part as a special guest at the 46th International Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece.[79]

Coppola stated that The Godfather Part IV was never made as Mario Puzo died before they had a chance to write the film. [81] Andy Garcia has since claimed the film's script was nearly produced. [82]

Coppola is currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also spends considerable time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he is establishing a subsidiary of his production company. In San Francisco, Coppola owns a restaurant named Cafe Zoetrope, located in the Sentinel Building. It serves traditional Italian cuisine and wine from his personal vineyard and bottling company.

Over the years, Francis Coppola has given political contributions to several candidates of the Democratic Party, including Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi for the U.S. House of Representatives and Barbara Boxer and Alan Cranston for the U.S. Senate.[83]

For quite some time, he had been planning to direct an epic movie named Megalopolis, but for some reason or the other, the project hasn't come to fruition. In 2007 he stated that "I have abandoned that as of now. I'm now going to...I plan to begin a process of making one personal movie after another and if something leads me back to look at that, which I'm sure it might, I'll see what makes sense to me."[84]

Personal life

In February 1963, Coppola married Eleanor Neil, who he met on the set of Dementia 13.[79] They had three children: Sofia Coppola, Roman Coppola and Gian-Carlo Coppola. Sofia Coppola is an Academy Award-winning writer and nominated director. Her films include the critically acclaimed The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. In 2004, she became the first American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, for Lost in Translation. Coppola's eldest son, Gian-Carlo, was in the early stages of a film production career when he was killed on May 26, 1986 in a speedboat accident. Coppola's surviving son, Roman, is a filmmaker and music video director whose filmography includes the feature film CQ and music videos for The Strokes, as well as co-writing the Wes Anderson film The Darjeeling Limited.

Coppola often works with family members in his films. His sister, Talia Shire, played Connie Corleone in all three Godfather films. His daughter Sofia also appeared in all three (the first two movies uncredited): as the infant being baptized at the end of the first movie, as a young child on board ship in the second, and in a supporting role as Michael Corleone's daughter Mary in the third. He cast his two sons in The Godfather as extras during the street fight scene and Vito Corleone’s funeral. His father Carmine, a composer and professional musician, co-wrote much of the music in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now.

Coppola's nephew, Nicolas Cage, starred in Coppola's film Peggy Sue Got Married and was featured in Rumble Fish and The Cotton Club. Other famous members of Coppola's family include nephews Jason Schwartzman and Robert Schwartzman, sons of Talia Shire. Jason Schwartzman has starred in several films, including Rushmore and Slackers. He also co-wrote (along with director Wes Anderson and cousin Roman Coppola) and starred in the 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited. Robert Schwartzman is the lead singer in the band Rooney and appeared in The Princess Diaries as well as having small appearances in several films, including his cousin Sofia's The Virgin Suicides.

Honors

In the 2002 poll of the Sight and Sound publication, Coppola ranked #4 in the directors' top ten directors of all time[85] and #10 in the critics' top ten directors of all time.[86] He featured at #17 in MovieMaker Magazine's 25 most influential directors of all-time.[87] He also ranked #9 in toptenreviews' list of top directors of all time,[88] and at #21 in Entertainment Weekly's top fifty directors of all time.[89] Four of Coppola's films- The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now and Patton featured in WGAW's list of 101 greatest screenplays ever.[90] Three of his films feature in AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies: The Godfather (#2), Apocalypse Now (#28) and The Godfather Part II (#32). The Godfather also ranks at number #11 in AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills.

The following Coppola films were also nominated for the list:

1991, he was honored with the Berlinale Camera at the Berlin International Film Festival.[91] In 1992, he was awarded a Golden Lion – Honorary Award at the Venice Film Festival.[91] In 1998, the Directors Guild of America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.[91] He was honored with a special 50th anniversary award for his impressive career at the 2002 San Sebastián International Film Festival.[91] The same year he received a gala tribute from Film Society of Lincoln Center.[91] In 2003, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Denver Film Festival.[91] He was given an honorary award at the 2007 Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.[92] In 2010, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to honor him with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the 2nd Governor's Awards in November.[93][94] The honor was bestowed on him on November 13, along with Jean-Luc Godard, Kevin Brownlow and Eli Wallach.[95] George Lucas said that he based the Han Solo character in Star Wars on Coppola.[12][79]

Filmography

Film
Year Title Contribution Notes
1962 Tonight for Sure Director/Writer First film
1962 Bellboy and the Playgirls, TheThe Bellboy and the Playgirls Director/Writer
1963 Dementia 13 Director/Writer First feature film
1963 Terror, TheThe Terror Director/Producer
1966 You're a Big Boy Now Director/Writer Nominated — Palme d'Or
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best American Screenplay - Comedy
1968 Finian's Rainbow Director Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
1969 Rain People, TheThe Rain People Director/Writer Golden Shell at San Sebastián International Film Festival
1970 Patton Writer Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
1971 THX 1138 Executive Producer
1972 Godfather, TheThe Godfather Director/Writer Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film
Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Golden Screen at Golden Screen Awards, Germany
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated — Best Audio Commentary at DVD Exclusive Awards
1973 American Graffiti Producer Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture
Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
1974 Conversation, TheThe Conversation Director/Producer/Writer Palme d'Or
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury- Special Mention
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
National Board of Review Award for Best Director
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Direction
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated — Video Premiere Award at DVD Exclusive Awards
Nominated — Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film
Nominated — Best Motion Picture Screenplay
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture
1974 Godfather Part II, TheThe Godfather Part II Director/Producer/Writer Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Director
Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director
Writers Guild of America Award for Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
1979 Apocalypse Now Director/Producer/Writer/Music Palme d'Or
FIPRESCI Prize
Golden Globe Award for Best Director
BAFTA Award for Best Direction
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Film
Golden Screen at Golden Screen Awards, Germany
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Film
Nominated — Best Foreign Language Film at Cinema Brazil Grand Prize (2002)
Nominated — César Award for Best Foreign Film
Nominated — Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated — Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special
Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen
1979 The Black Stallion Executive Producer
1980 Kagemusha Executive Producer David di Donatello for Best Producer[96]
1982 One from the Heart Director/Writer
1983 Outsiders, TheThe Outsiders Director Nominated — Golden Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival
Nominated — Best Family Feature Motion Picture at the Young Artist Awards
1983 Rumble Fish Director/Producer/Writer FIPRESCI Prize at San Sebastián International Film Festival
OCIC Award at the San Sebastián International Film Festival
1984 Cotton Club, TheThe Cotton Club Director/Writer Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated — Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Foreign Language Film
1986 Peggy Sue Got Married Director Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film
1987 Gardens of Stone Director/Producer Nominated — Golden Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival
Nominated — Political Film Society Award for Peace
1988 Tucker: The Man and His Dream Director
1989 New York Stories Co-director/Co-writer
1990 Godfather Part III, TheThe Godfather Part III Director/Producer/Writer Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) at Fotogramas de Plata
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Director
Nominated — Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
1992 Dracula Director/Producer/Writer Saturn Award for Best Direction
Saturn Award for Best Horror Film
Best Foreign Film (Mejor Película Extranjera) at Fotogramas de Plata
Nominated — Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation
1993 Junky's Christmas, TheThe Junky's Christmas Producer
1994 Frankenstein Producer Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Horror Film
1995 Kidnapped Executive Producer
1996 Jack Director/Producer Nominated — Best Family Feature - Musical or Comedy at Young Artist Awards
1997 Rainmaker, TheThe Rainmaker Director/Writer Nominated — USC Scripter Award
Nominated — Political Film Society Award for Democracy
1999 Virgin Suicides, TheThe Virgin Suicides Producer
1999 Sleepy Hollow Producer
2001 CQ Producer
Jeepers Creepers Producer
2003 Jeepers Creepers 2 Producer
2006 Marie Antoinette Producer
2007 Youth Without Youth Director/Producer/Writer
2009 Tetro Director/Producer/Writer
2010 Somewhere Producer
2011 On the Road Executive Producer
2011 Twixt Director/Producer/Writer

See also

Further reading

References

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  95. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080979/awards

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Francis Ford Coppola — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Coppola (desambiguación). Francis Ford Coppola …   Wikipedia Español

  • Francis Ford Coppola — (Januar 2007) Francis Ford Coppola (* 7. April 1939 in Detroit, Michigan) ist ein US amerikanischer Regisseur, Produzent und Weingutsbesitzer. Als Regisseur von Klassikern wie Der Pate und Apocalypse Now zählt er zu den bedeut …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Francis Ford Coppola — nació el 7 de abril de 1939 en Detroit, Michigan, es un director de cine estadounidense, también guionista, vinatero, editor de revistas y dueño de una empresa hotelera …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Francis Ford Coppola — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Coppola. Francis Ford Coppola …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Francis Ford Coppola — ➡ Coppola (I) * * * …   Universalium

  • Francis Ford Coppola — noun United States filmmaker (born in 1939) • Syn: ↑Coppola • Instance Hypernyms: ↑film maker, ↑filmmaker, ↑film producer, ↑movie maker …   Useful english dictionary

  • Francis Ford Coppola — n. (born 1939) American movie director producer and scriptwriter (his well known movies include The Conversation {1974}, The Godfather, Part II {1974}, Apocalypse Now {1979}, The Godfather, Part III {1990} and many more) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Francis Ford Coppola Presents — is a lifestyle brand created by Francis Ford Coppola, under which he markets goods from companies he owns or controls. It includes films and videos, Resorts, Cafes, a literary magazine and a winery. Values*family and tradition *Italian American… …   Wikipedia

  • Francis F. Coppola — Francis Ford Coppola Pour les articles homonymes, voir Coppola. Francis Ford Coppola …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Francis Ford — may refer to:*Francis Ford (actor), American actor, writer and film director *Francis Ford (cricketer), English cricketer, who played cricket in the late 19th century *Francis Ford (politician), Canadian Liberal party politician who was involved… …   Wikipedia

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