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Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

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Also Known As: Frank Coppola, Thomas Colchart, Francis Coppola Died:
Born: April 7, 1939 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, composer, executive, magazine publisher, vintner, restaurateur

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of America's most erratic, energetic and controversial filmmakers, Francis Ford Coppola enjoyed stunning triumphs and endured monumental setbacks before resurrecting himself, Phoenix-like, to begin the process all over again. Known primarily for his successful "Godfather" trilogy - "The Godfather" (1972), "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "The Godfather, Part III" (1990) - Coppola was the most celebrated of the Young Turks - a group of filmmakers who emerged in the early 1970s that included George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma and William Friedkin. Unbridled by his ambition and enthusiasm, and perhaps obsessive to the point of being manic, Coppola infused a fervent creative energy into his early work, culminating in "Apocalypse Now" (1979), a journey into his own heart of darkness that irrevocably altered his career and may have even caused permanent psychological damage. Renowned for his generosity with other filmmakers, Coppola served as a fierce promoter of others' films, championing the work of Wim Wenders, Paul Schrader and Akira Kurosawa, while playing an important part in the restoration of Abel Gance's classic silent film, "Napoleon" (1927). The quality of his...

One of America's most erratic, energetic and controversial filmmakers, Francis Ford Coppola enjoyed stunning triumphs and endured monumental setbacks before resurrecting himself, Phoenix-like, to begin the process all over again. Known primarily for his successful "Godfather" trilogy - "The Godfather" (1972), "The Godfather, Part II" (1974) and "The Godfather, Part III" (1990) - Coppola was the most celebrated of the Young Turks - a group of filmmakers who emerged in the early 1970s that included George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma and William Friedkin. Unbridled by his ambition and enthusiasm, and perhaps obsessive to the point of being manic, Coppola infused a fervent creative energy into his early work, culminating in "Apocalypse Now" (1979), a journey into his own heart of darkness that irrevocably altered his career and may have even caused permanent psychological damage. Renowned for his generosity with other filmmakers, Coppola served as a fierce promoter of others' films, championing the work of Wim Wenders, Paul Schrader and Akira Kurosawa, while playing an important part in the restoration of Abel Gance's classic silent film, "Napoleon" (1927). The quality of his directing fell off throughout the 1980s and 1990s, however, and the big studios - remembering his colossal box-office failures - became leery of backing his more personal projects, preferring instead to employ him as a hired gun on the likes of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) and "The Rainmaker" (1997), which helped the director pay off his enormous debts. Nonetheless, Coppola - having been responsible for directing three of the greatest films in cinema history - remained forever a legend.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Twixt (2012)
2.
  Tetro (2009)
4.
5.
  Jack (1996) Director
6.
  Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) Director
7.
8.
  New York Stories (1989) Director ("Life Without Zoe")
9.
10.
  Gardens Of Stone (1987) Director

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1962:
Worked on various non-mainstream movies "The Playgirls and the Bellboy" (1962) and "Tonight For Sure" (1962)
1962:
Credited as Thomas Colchart for adapting <i>Nebo zovyot/The Heaven's Call</i> (1960) into "Battle Beyond the Sun"; served as assistant to director Roger Corman on "The Premature Burial" and as dialogue director on "Tower of London"
1962:
Won the Samuel Goldwyn Award for his UCLA screenplay "Pilma, Pilma" (never produced)
1962:
Joined Seven Arts (later Warner Brothers-Seven Arts) as scriptwriter
1963:
Directed and co-wrote first legitimate feature "Dementia 13"
1966:
Directed and wrote UCLA thesis feature "You're a Big Boy Now"; received theatrical release
1969:
Established American Zoetrope (later Zoetrope Studios) for which he executive produced John Korty's TV thriller "The People" (1972)
1970:
Co-wrote Academy Award-winning screenplay "Patton," directed by Franklin Schaffner
1971:
First American Zoetrope film, George Lucas' futuristic "THX-1138"
1972:
Scored huge success with "The Godfather"; won Oscar for co-writing screenplay with Mario Puzo
1973:
Directed revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" at the American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco) and Gottfried von Einem's opera "The Visit of the Old Lady" for the San Francisco Opera Company
1973:
Formed The Directors Company (with Peter Bogdanovich and William Friedkin), which produced only two films ¿ Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon" (1973) and Coppola's "The Conversation" (1974)
1974:
Co-wrote (with Puzo) and directed sequel "The Godfather, Part II"; won Oscars for Best Screenplay and Best Director
1974:
Scripted the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby"
1975:
Founded Niebaum-Coppola winery
1976:
Published <i>City</i> magazine
1979:
Released "Apocalypse Now" to mixed reviews but a strong box office; mortgaged everything to personally cover some $16 million of the $30 million cost
1982:
American Zoetrope dealt a crippling blow by the failure of the extravagant musical film "One From the Heart"
1983:
Directed two film adaptations of S.E. Hinton novels, "The Outsiders" and "Rumble Fish"
1985:
Made TV directing debut with "Rip Van Winkle" (Showtime)
1988:
Directed "Tucker: The Man and His Dream"
1989:
Co-wrote (with daughter Sofia) and directed the "Life Without Zoe" segment of "New York Stories"; received the weakest reviews of the three participating directors (also Martin Scorcese and Woody Allen)
1990:
Returned to the Corleone saga for "The Godfather, Part III"; considered the weakest of the trilogy
1992:
Produced and directed "Bram Stoker's Dracula"
1993:
Appointed to the board of directors at MGM
1996:
Served as president of jury at Cannes Film Festival
1996:
With Wayne Wang and Tom Luddy, formed production company Chrome Dragon
1996:
Dedicated "Jack" (which he produced and directed) to granddaughter Gia Carla, daughter of his son, the late Gian-Carlo
1997:
Launched literary magazine <i>Zoetrope</i>
1997:
Directed and scripted screen adaptation of "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker,'" starring Danny Glover and Danny De Vito
1998:
Produced first feature through Chrome Dragon, Sherwood Hu's "Lanai-Loa: The Passage"
1998:
Won lawsuit against Warner Bros. claiming the studio had stolen his idea for a live-action version of "Pinocchio"; awarded $20 million in compensatory damages by a jury; further awarded $60 million in punative damages; on appeal, however, $60 million damages were dismissed; appelate judge let stand the $20 million award
1998:
Served as one of the executive producers of the Sci-Fi Channel series "First Wave"
1999:
Produced "The Virgin Suicides," the writing and directing debut of his daughter Sofia Coppola
2003:
Executive produced "Lost in Translation," the award-winning film written and directed by Sofia
2007:
Returned to directing after a ten year hiatus with "Youth Without Youth," a low-budget, self-financed project adapted from the novella by Romanian author Mircea Eliade
2009:
Wrote and directed "Tetro," starring Vincent Gallo
2011:
Wrote, directed, and produced thriller "Twixt"
2012:
Executive produced feature adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," directed by Walter Salles
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Great Neck High School: Great Neck , New York -
Hofstra College: Hempstead , New York - 1960
University of California, Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California - 1967

Notes

He was given his middle name because his father was playing flute on the "Ford Sunday Evening Hour" at the time of his birth.

In 1974, Coppola was the first director to receive two nominations from the Directors Guild of America for their annual award. He was cited for "The Conversation" and "The Godfather, Part II". He won for the latter.

"Really, the way the movie business has evolved, there are six companies that own the basketballs, and if you want to play, you have to either talk one of them into doing [your project] or accept one of their jobs. When you talk a studio into doing one of your films, immediately it's, 'But of course, you're going to do this for half your fee, or no fee.' Or, 'Of course, well, let's see, you've got to work on the script a little bit.' They totally control it, so they can have you take a year in rewriting and reworking and casting, and ultimately, you're sort of trying to hang on to doing it the way you want to do it, but they're running everything." --Francis Ford Coppola in an August 1996 interview with the website Mr. Showbiz (www.mrshowbiz.com)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Eleanor Coppola. Set decorator, artist. Born in 1936; married in February 1963; directed documentary "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse".
companion:
Melissa Mathison. Screenwriter. Had been hired as baby-sitter for the Coppola children; became Coppola's assistant; had relationship around the time of the filming of "Apocalypse Now"; later married to actor Harrison Ford.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
August Coppola. Pianist. Emigrated to USA from Naples as Enrico Caruso's piano accompanist.
father:
Carmine Coppola. Flutist, composer, musical arranger. Born on July 11, 1910; died on April 26, 1991; Italian-American; played in Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra; scored some of son's films, including "The Godfather, Part II" for which he shared an Oscar.
mother:
Italia Coppola. Actor.
uncle:
Archimedes Coppola. Engineer, musician. Born in 1909; died in 1927.
uncle:
Michael Coppola. Inventor. Born in 1914.
uncle:
Antonio Coppola. Conductor, music teacher. Conductor of symphony orchestras and opera with the San Francisco Opera and New York City Opera; also conducted Broadway musicals like "My Fair Lady"; was opera advisor on "The Godfather, Part III" (1990).
father-in-law:
Clifford Neil. Artist, inventor. Born in 1891; died in 1945.
brother:
August Floyd Coppola. Writer, professor. Born in 1934; dean of the School of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University; involved with "Audio Vision" which provides a taped soundtrack of a narrator describing visual information for blind filmgoers; father of Marc and Christopher Coppola and Nicolas Cage.
sister:
Talia Rose Coppola. Actor, producer, director. Born on April 25, 1945; has acted in films directred by brother; formerly married to composer David Shire who scored "The Conversation" (1974); subsequently wed to the late producer Jack Schwartzman with whom she had two sons, actors Jason and Robert Schwartzman.
brother-in-law:
William Neil. Special effects technician. Born in 1939.
nephew:
Marc Coppola. Actor. Born in 1957; son of August Coppola; acted in "Cotton Club", "Jack" and "Deadfall".
nephew:
Christopher Coppola. Director, screenwriter. Son of August Coppola; born on January 25, 1962.
nephew:
Nicolas Cage. Actor. Son of August Coppola; has acted in films directed by uncle; born on January 7, 1964; won Oscar for "Leaving Las Vegas".
son:
Gian-Carlo Coppola. Born on September 17, 1963; killed in boating accident in May 1986.
son:
Roman Coppola. Production head, visual effects technician, 2nd unit director, sound mixer, music video director. Born in 1965; heads Black Diamond Productions; first feature as executive producer, "The Spirit of '76" (1990).
nephew:
Jason Schwartzman. Actor, musician. Son of Talia Shire and late producer Jack Schwartzman; born on June 26, 1980; star of comedy hit "Rushmore" (1998).
granddaughter:
Gian Carla Coppola. Daughter of the late Gian-Carlo Coppola and Jackie De La Fontaine, born six months after Gian-Carlo's death in 1986.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Francis Ford Coppola" St. Martin's Press
"Notes" Simon & Schuster
"The Godfather Legacy" Fireside
"A Sense of Place: An Intimate Portrait of the Niebaum-Coppola Winery and the Napa Valley" Routledge
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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