Francis Ford Coppola


Director
Francis Ford Coppola

About

Also Known As
Frank Coppola, Thomas Colchart, Francis Coppola
Birth Place
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Born
April 07, 1939

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 ...

Family & Companions

Eleanor Coppola
Wife
Set decorator, artist. Born in 1936; married in February 1963; directed documentary "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse".
Melissa Mathison
Companion
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.

Bibliography

"A Sense of Place: An Intimate Portrait of the Niebaum-Coppola Winery and the Napa Valley"
Steve Kolpan, Routledge (1999)
"The Godfather Legacy"
Harlan Lebo, Fireside (1997)
"Francis Ford Coppola"
Jean-Paul Chailet and Elizabeth Martin, St. Martin's Press (1985)
"Notes"
Eleanor Coppola, Simon & Schuster (1979)

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.

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 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.

Born on Apr. 7, 1939 in Detroit, MI, Coppola was raised in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine, was a flutist and composer who played in several orchestras, including Toscanini's NBC Symphony Orchestra, which he often conducted when on tour, while his mother, Italia, was an actress. Because of Carmine's tenure with Toscanini, Coppola moved with his family to New York City when he was two and spent the remainder of his childhood growing up in Queens. When he was nine years old, Coppola suffered from polio, which kept him confined to his bed for a year, with his left leg and arm paralyzed. Separated from his friends, Coppola occupied himself with puppets and mechanical devices, which intensified an already developing fascination with film. At age 10, he began making movies with his father's 8mm camera and tape recorder. After graduating Great Neck High School, he pursued a bachelor's degree in drama at Hofstra University, alongside actors Lainie Kazan and James Caan. Once he wrapped his student career at Hofstra, Coppola attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he brushed elbows with future Doors singer Jim Morrison and earned his Master of Fine Arts in film direction from UCLA Film School.

Coppola spent the better part of the 1960s trying to obtain his degree, thanks to his general discontent with the classroom. He gained some real world experience directing soft-core porn films like "Tonight For Sure" (1962), then hired himself out to low-budget king Roger Corman. His first job for Corman was to dub and re-edit a Russian science fiction film, which he turned into a sex-and-violence monster movie entitled "Battle Beyond the Stars" (1962). Coppola directed his first feature, the unremarkable Corman-produced "Dementia 13" (1963), while in Ireland that summer. Then on the strength of his Samuel Goldwyn award-winning UCLA screenplay "Pilma Pilma," he secured a job as a scriptwriter with Seven Arts. Coppola made significant contributions to "Is Paris Burning?" (1966) and "This Property is Condemned" (1966), eventually winning his first Oscar for co-writing Franklin Schaffner's war epic, "Patton" (1970). Frustrated at not seeing his vision on the big screen, however, Coppola bought the rights to a David Benedictus novel and fused it with a story idea of his own, resulting in "You're a Big Boy Now" (1966), his UCLA thesis project that also received a theatrical release via Warner Bros. Critics praised the funny and fast-paced film about a young, naïve suburban man (Peter Kastner) moving to the big city, as well as applauded the appearance of a new director of great talent and promise. Unfortunately, the film failed at the box office.

An unbowed Coppola agreed to direct a screen version of "Finian's Rainbow" (1968), a musical starring Fred Astaire. Though the movie bombed on release - the studio blew it up from 35mm to 70mm, effectively chopping off Astaire's feet - it did introduce him to a young George Lucas, who went on to work as a production assistant on Coppola's next effort, "The Rain People" (1969). Written, directed and financed by Coppola - until his money ran out and the studio had to help out - the film starred Shirley Knight as a distressed housewife who takes to the road, and along the way, befriends the brain-damaged football player (James Caan). In 1969, an idealistic Coppola sought to subvert the studio system which he felt had stifled his visions by launching American Zoetrope as an alternative to the way movies were then made. The company intended to produce mainstream pictures to finance off-beat projects and give first-time directors their chance to direct. But when Warner Bros. so disliked Zoetrope's initial offering, Lucas' futuristic "THX-1138" (1971), that they demanded their money back, Coppola found himself $300,000 in debt and unsure of his future as a filmmaker - a small sign of bigger financial calamities to come.

With "The Godfather," however, everything changed, but only after Coppola fought tooth and nail for the cast of his choice - namely Marlon Brando - and narrowly avoided dismissal by a skittish Paramount brass who feared the young director was in over his head. Thanks to the ever-faithful producer Bob Evans and a timely Oscar for "Patton," Coppola survived to bring his monumental epic to the screen, earning his second Oscar for the screenplay he co-wrote with Mario Puzo, author of the bestselling novel the film was based on. One of the highest-grossing films in cinema history, "The Godfather" captured the country's imagination by skirting the traditional gangster territory and reinventing itself both as a family chronicle and a lyrical epic of almost Shakespearean proportions. Capturing the transition of leadership inside a New York Mafia family after its patriarch (Brando) has been shot, Coppola used his manic creative energy to pull out all the stops in directing what many consider to be the greatest film of all time. Aside from the stunning visual feast - from the opening wedding contrasted by the dark interior of the Don holding court, to the final bloody montage of murder seen against the backdrop of baptism - "The Godfather" was elevated beyond the mere pulp of its paperback origins into the realm of true art. Meanwhile, the film helped resurrect Brando's career while introducing audiences to James Caan, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Coppola's sister, Talia Shire, and a young Diane Keaton. On top of earning an Oscar for Best Picture, "The Godfather" helped usher in the era of the blockbuster, making Coppola a wealthy man and propelling forward his stagnating career.

Coppola's "Godfather" success did almost as much for his filmmaking friends as it did for the generous director, himself. He launched George Lucas' career by producing the early-1960s nostalgia flick, "American Graffiti" (1973) and, following work on the screenplay for "The Great Gatsby" (1974), directed "The Conversation" (1974), based on his own script about a lonely surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) whose obsessive eavesdropping leads to tragedy. The film, which brought Coppola two Oscar nominations and won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, featured the high-tech gadgetry that fascinated him in his youth and later throughout his career. The real star turned out to be sound designer Walter Murch who, besides providing the superb soundtrack, also ran post-production when the director had to abandon the project to work on "Godfather II" (1974). Coppola again co-wrote with Puzo on the hugely successful sequel, which won six Oscars, including three for Coppola as producer, director and writer. "Godfather II" daringly intercut the story of the rise to power of Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), a prelude to the first film, with the parallel contrasting story of his son Michael's (Pacino) fall from grace 30 years later. Both parts of "The Godfather" were later recut in chronological sequence for a TV miniseries. Such was the incredible success of the sequel, many felt it was the superior film of the two.

By the end of 1975, Coppola had begun work on "Apocalypse Now" (1979) - a version of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness superimposed onto the Vietnam War. Fellow UCLA student John Milius had written the original script years earlier under Coppola's sponsorship, with George Lucas poised to direct before Coppola assumed control. The film tracked a military operative (Martin Sheen) traveling up a Cambodian river in search of the legendary Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who has established a bizarre empire of tribal followers deep in the jungle. Perhaps the most storied film production in cinema history, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Disappointed with the dailies, Coppola replaced original leading actor Harvey Keitel with Martin Sheen after shooting began, who not long after, suffered a nervous breakdown - captured on film and edited into the opening sequence - which was followed by a heart attack that delayed production. Nature herself even entered the act with Typhoon Olga wreaking havoc on set.

Meanwhile, Coppola's personal journey into his own heart of darkness mirrored the story he was filming. The cost overrun was staggering, forcing Coppola to mortgage everything he owned to cover some $16 million of the $30 million budget. His wife, Eleanor, who had gone to the Philippines to make a documentary about this process, wrote of her husband in a March 1977 entry in her diary: "I guess he has had a sort of nervous breakdown." Coppola has remarked of the experience that "little by little, we went crazy," while he later cited that he began smoking cigarettes and marijuana as a means of coping After many months of difficult jungle shooting and strenuous editing, the long-awaited production enjoyed an emotional premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d'Or. Parts of the movie - like the helicopters attacking to the bombast of Richard Wagner's "The Ride of the Valkyries" - were sheer genius, and despite its difficult ending, "Apocalypse Now" was undeniably a visually breathtaking and ultimately flawed masterpiece, while becoming a modest hit at the box office and winning two Oscars. Once again, Coppola was saved from financial ruin. But this film in particular took its toll on the director, perhaps doing irreparable damage to his psyche and permanently undermining his confidence.

"Apocalypse Now" marked the end of Coppola's golden period. What followed in the new decade was a succession of box-office disappointments, often as a result of his undeniable megalomania. The $26 million production of the movie musical "One From the Heart" (1982) was a major financial and critical bomb, due largely to Coppola's preoccupation with costly high-tech gadgets and experimental computer and video techniques at the expense of storytelling. "One from the Heart" brought him to the brink of personal and business bankruptcy, and he would spend the rest of the decade working to pay his debts. (Zoetrope Studios finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990). In 1983, Coppola directed two adaptations of teenage-themed novels by S.E. Hinton, "The Outsiders" and "Rumble Fish," both of which were criticized as overly-stylized and lacking in strong narrative impact. Both also lost money. Nevertheless, they captured the writer's world, as Coppola had intended, and provided screen introductions for an astonishing number of young actors who would, within a few years, dominate Hollywood, including Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Nicolas Cage, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, Christopher Penn and Diane Lane.

Coppola's run of bad luck continued with "The Cotton Club" (1984), an ambitious musical set in the famous Harlem jazz club of the 1920s. Despite putting the script through nearly 40 drafts before the trouble-plagued production began, Coppola was hamstrung by the predetermined character of white cornetist Dixie Dwyer (dictated by Richard Gere's contract), which led to an improbable and incoherent story. Coupled with that problem was Coppola's unmitigated fascination with huge state-of-the-art production methods that ballooned costs to $48 million and had him spending most of his time in his customized high-tech trailer - the 'Silverfish' - surrounded by cameras, monitors, consoles and computers. It was a pure recipe for disaster. Still, he continued his love affair with technology for his television directing debut, "Rip Van Winkle" (Showtime, 1985), crafting many of the fantastic scenes with computer imaging systems. Meanwhile, 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.

Coppola next helmed the light time-travel comedy, "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986), and though it suffered for its inevitable comparisons to "Back to the Future" (1985), it managed a respectable box office. In spite of a weak script, Coppola constructed the tale around a series of poignant encounters; the most powerful - like when Peggy sees her grandparents as they were 25 years earlier - causing the audience to choke-up right along with the time-traveling heroine. A high school student himself in the 1950s, Coppola effectively conveyed an authentic look and feel for the period. The film solidified Kathleen Turner's reputation as an A-list actress and made a star of Coppola's nephew, Nicolas Cage, although some thought him grating in his turn as Peggy Sue's husband. An aura of tragedy surrounded "Gardens of Stone" (1987), a well-acted Vietnam War-era drama played out on the home front, which pleased some critics, but not audiences. During its filming, Coppola's eldest son Gian-Carlo was accidentally killed in a boating accident, due to the negligence of actor and star of "Gardens," Griffin O'Neal, who was later charged with manslaughter for driving the boat recklessly and under the influence of drugs. After replacing O'Neal, Coppola managed to finish the film, albeit with a heavy heart.

The far more impressive "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" (1988) starred Jeff Bridges in the role of the real-life 1940s auto-industry visionary. Coppola had been planning to make this film since the early 1970s, when he had become fascinated with the story of Preston Tucker, the brash but intelligent entrepreneur who dared to challenge the Detroit establishment. The story was not without parallels to Coppola's own career in Hollywood, but more importantly, "Tucker" focused attention on entrepreneurship and innovation at a time in American history when those qualities were sorely lacking. Like "Peggy Sue," "Tucker" also revealed a striking sense of period. Because Coppola used the cinematic conventions of the 1940s to capture the look and feel of the time, "Tucker" was as much about his own memory of the period as it was about the period itself.

Coppola was working in Rome when the opportunity arose to direct "Godfather III" (1990). In desperate need of a hit, Coppola acceded to Paramount chairman Frank Mancuso's pleas for a third installment in the series. Bargaining for full artistic control over the project, he began what would become a $55 million rumor-bound production in November 1989, reuniting screenwriters Coppola and Puzo, as well as stars Pacino, Keaton and Shire. Coppola's decision to cast daughter Sofia in a pivotal role after Winona Ryder withdrew due to illness backfired miserably, turning a pivotal role into an industry laughingstock. His daughter's failure to capture the part was widely cited as one of the film's worst flaws - leading to cries of nepotism. Studio pressure to meet a December release terminated the editing process prematurely, leaving essentially an unfinished product that seemed aimless and uncertain. A revised "Godfather III" was later made available in the DVD version. Though it remained nowhere near as good as the first two parts, it was far superior to the original theatrical release, thanks to Walter Murch's additional editing. Autumnal, sad, and full of confessions, "The Godfather III" was one of Coppola's most candid films and better than originally believed.

Throughout Coppola's career, shaky business ventures magnified the problems of his box-office flops. In the 1960s, he had poured profits from screenwriting into an ill-fated venture called Scopitone, a precursor of music videos, which showed short movies on a juke box, while the 1970s saw him quickly lose $1.5 million on the San Francisco-based City Magazine during his stewardship. Though the bankruptcy of American Zoetrope signaled his ultimate failure to establish himself independent of the Hollywood power structure, the success of a few mid-'90s films restored Coppola's fortune and subsequent investments later thrived. He bought Blancaneaux, a 50-acre property on the banks of the Privassion River in Belize and began operating it as a luxury hotel in 1993. The following year, he opened - along with partners Robert De Niro, Robin Williams and restaurateur Drew Nieporent - Rubicon, a San Francisco restaurant. Coppola paid $10 million in 1995 to purchase the balance of the old Inglenook wine-producing property, completing his dream estate and expanding his wine company, Niebaum-Coppola. He later offered a food line, "Francis Coppola Selects," reflecting his love of cooking that featured olive oils, vinegars and sun-dried tomatoes.

It would be his growing wine business, in fact, that would keep his name alive, as his nineties film offerings were mostly forgettable, with Coppola more or less a director for hire. He did, however, score a huge success at the helm of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) with the help of a stunning production design (Thomas Sanders), superb cinematography (Michael Ballhaus) and chilling music (Wojciech Kilar). A sumptuous visual extravaganza that more than compensated for lapses in the story, the film grossed $200 million worldwide and carried home Oscars for makeup, sound effects editing and costume design. His nine-year-old granddaughter's request that he make something for kids influenced his next directorial choice. "Jack" (1996) starred Robin Williams as a 10-year-old child with a disorder that caused him to grow four times faster than normal and to have the appearance of a 40-year-old man. The fable, a kind of "Peggy Sue Got Married" premise dealing with Jack's diminished life expectancy, appealed to Coppola for its parallel to his son Gian-Carlo's tragically short but full life. Regrettably, the movie failed to resonate with audiences and pulled up lame at the box office. He picked a proven winner as his next project, scripting and helming the film adaptation of "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker'" (1997), one of the best of the Grisham adaptations, but one that still lacked the fire and inspiration of Coppola's finer works. After "The Rainmaker," Coppola took nearly a decade off, before returning with "Youth Without Youth" (2007), a low-budget thriller about a fugitive (Tim Roth) fleeing across Europe before the onset of World War II. He then helmed "Tetro" (2009), a drama centered on an artistic immigrant family in Buenos Aires.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Twixt (2012)
Director
Tetro (2009)
Director
Youth Without Youth (2007)
Director
John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997)
Director
Jack (1996)
Director
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Director
The Godfather, Part III (1990)
Director
New York Stories (1989)
Director
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Director
Gardens Of Stone (1987)
Director
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Director
Captain Eo (1986)
Director
The Cotton Club (1984)
Director
Rumble Fish (1983)
Director
The Outsiders (1983)
Director
One From the Heart (1982)
Director
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Director
The Conversation (1974)
Director
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Director
The Godfather (1972)
Director
The Rain People (1969)
Director
Finian's Rainbow (1968)
Director
The Wild Racers (1968)
2nd unit Director
You're a Big Boy Now (1966)
Director
The Terror (1963)
Uncredited Director collab
Dementia 13 (1963)
Director
The Playgirls and the Bellboy (1962)
Director-writ addl u. s. seq
Tonight for Sure! (1962)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Milius (2013)
Himself
Seduced and Abandoned (2013)
Himself
The Godfather Legacy (2012)
Himself
Fog City Mavericks (2007)
CODA: Thirty Years Later (2007)
Himself
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)
Himself
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)
Hollywood Mavericks (1990)
Himself

Writer (Feature Film)

Twixt (2012)
Story By
Twixt (2012)
Screenplay
Tetro (2009)
Screenplay
Youth Without Youth (2007)
Screenplay
John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997)
Screenplay
The Godfather, Part III (1990)
Screenplay
New York Stories (1989)
Screenplay
The Cotton Club (1984)
From Story
The Cotton Club (1984)
Screenplay
The Cotton Club (1984)
Story By
Rumble Fish (1983)
Screenplay
One From the Heart (1982)
Screenplay
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Screenplay
The Conversation (1974)
Screenwriter
The Great Gatsby (1974)
Screenplay
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Screenplay
The Godfather (1972)
Screenwriter
Patton (1970)
Screenwriter
The Rain People (1969)
Screenwriter
You're a Big Boy Now (1966)
Screenwriter
This Property Is Condemned (1966)
Screenwriter
Is Paris Burning? (1966)
Screenwriter
Battle Beyond the Sun (1963)
English vers adapt
Dementia 13 (1963)
Screenwriter
The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (1962)
Adapt english vers
Tonight for Sure! (1962)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Jeepers Creepers III (2017)
Producer
The Bling Ring (2013)
Executive Producer
Twixt (2012)
Producer
Somewhere (2010)
Executive Producer
Tetro (2009)
Producer
Youth Without Youth (2007)
Producer
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Executive Producer
Kinsey (2004)
Executive Producer
Lost in Translation (2003)
Executive Producer
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Executive Producer
Assassination Tango (2003)
Executive Producer
Pumpkin (2002)
Executive Producer
No Such Thing (2002)
Executive Producer
Another Day (2001)
Executive Producer
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Executive Producer
The Legend of Suriyothai (2001)
Executive Producer
CQ (2001)
Executive Producer
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Executive Producer
The Third Miracle (1999)
Executive Producer
The Florentine (1999)
Executive Producer
The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Producer
Outrage (1998)
Executive Producer
Lani-Loa: The Passage (1998)
Producer
Gunfighter (1998)
Producer
Gunfighter (1998)
Executive Producer
Buddy (1997)
Executive Producer
John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997)
Executive Producer
Survival on the Mountain (1997)
Executive Producer
Haunted (1996)
Executive Producer
Jack (1996)
Producer
Dark Angel (1996)
Executive Producer
My Family: Mi Familia (1995)
Executive Producer
My Family: Mi Familia (1995)
Producer
White Dwarf (1995)
Executive Producer
Tecumseh: The Last Warrior (1995)
Executive Producer
One Night Stand (1995)
Producer
Don Juan de Marco (1994)
Producer
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
Producer
The Secret Garden (1993)
Executive Producer
Wind (1992)
Executive Producer
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Producer
The Godfather, Part III (1990)
Coproducer
Powaqqatsi (1988)
Producer
Barfly (1987)
Producer
Lionheart (1987)
Executive Producer
Gardens Of Stone (1987)
Producer
Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987)
Executive Producer
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
Executive Producer
The Outsiders (1983)
Producer
Rumble Fish (1983)
Executive Producer
The Black Stallion Returns (1983)
Executive Producer
One From the Heart (1982)
Producer
Hammett (1982)
Executive Producer
The Escape Artist (1982)
Executive Producer
The Black Stallion (1979)
Executive Producer
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Producer
The Conversation (1974)
Producer
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Producer
American Graffiti (1973)
Producer
The People (1972)
Executive Producer
THX 1138 (1971)
Executive Producer
The Rain People (1969)
Presented By
I Am Cuba (1964)
Producer
The Terror (1963)
Associate Producer
Tonight for Sure! (1962)
Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)
Music
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Music

Sound (Feature Film)

The Young Racers (1963)
Sound

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

Tower of London (1962)
Dial Director

Special Thanks (Feature Film)

In the Name of the Father (1993)
Special Thanks To

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Seduced and Abandoned (2013)
Other
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995)
Other
Hollywood Mavericks (1990)
Other
The Freshman (1990)
Other
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Other

Cast (Special)

Friedkin Uncut (2018)
Himself
A Decade Under the Influence (2003)
Himself
George Lucas: Creating an Empire (2002)
Hollywood Salutes Nicolas Cage: An American Cinematheque Tribute (2002)
Performer
Martha Stewart's Home for the Holidays (2001)
Kurosawa: The Last Emperor (2000)
Heart of Darkness (1999)
Mickey Rourke: The E! True Hollywood Story (1999)
Anatomy of Horror (1995)
Marlon Brando, Wild One (1994)
The World of Jim Henson (1994)
George Lucas: Heroes, Myths and Magic (1993)
John Barry's Moviola (1993)
Memory & Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress (1992)
The Godfather Family: A Look Inside (1990)
Himself

Producer (Special)

The Conversation (1995)
Executive Producer

Misc. Crew (Special)

A Decade Under the Influence (2003)
Other
The Godfather Family: A Look Inside (1990)
Other

Cast (Short)

The Lion Roars Again (1975)
Himself

Producer (TV Mini-Series)

Goosed (2000)
Executive Producer
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1999)
Executive Producer
Moby Dick (1998)
Executive Producer
The Odyssey (1997)
Executive Producer
Kidnapped (1995)
Executive Producer

Life Events

1962

Worked on various non-mainstream movies "The Playgirls and the Bellboy" (1962) and "Tonight For Sure" (1962)

1962

Was 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

Joined Seven Arts (later Warner Brothers-Seven Arts) as scriptwriter

1962

Won the Samuel Goldwyn Award for his UCLA screenplay "Pilma, Pilma" (never produced)

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

Released the 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

Scripted the film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby"

1974

Co-wrote (with Puzo) and directed sequel "The Godfather, Part II"; won Oscars for Best Screenplay and Best Director

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

Dedicated "Jack" (which he produced and directed) to granddaughter Gia Carla, daughter of his son, the late Gian-Carlo

1996

With Wayne Wang and Tom Luddy, formed production company Chrome Dragon

1997

Directed and scripted screen adaptation of "John Grisham's 'The Rainmaker,'" starring Danny Glover and Danny De Vito

1997

Launched literary magazine <i>Zoetrope</i>

1998

Served as one of the executive producers of the Sci-Fi Channel series "First Wave"

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

Produced first feature through Chrome Dragon, Sherwood Hu's "Lanai-Loa: The Passage"

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

2015

Directed the proof-of-concept production "Distant Vision"

Photo Collections

Dementia 13 - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Dementia 13 (1963), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) — (Movie Clip) What We Said On Tuesday Peggy (Kathleen Turner) knows she’s time-traveled back to 1960 from the ’85 high school reunion but her mom, dad and sister (Barbara Harris, Don Murray and Sofia Coppola, the director Francis’ daughter) just think she’s acting strange (since she fainted at the blood drive the day before), as does boyfriend and future husband Charlie (Nicolas Cage) picking her up for school, in Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986.
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) — (Movie Clip) A King And A Queen Kathleen Turner (title character at her 25th reunion) is upset because her recent-ex Charlie (Nicolas Cage) unexpectedly showed up, then nerd-turned billionaire Richard (Barry Miller) is named king and she’s queen, in her dress from back-then, Jim Carrey heckling, Helen Hunt her daughter, Wil Shriner the M-C, and Marshall Crenshaw, who would play Buddy Holly in La Bamba, 1987, leading the band, in Francis Ford Coppola’s Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986.
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) — (Movie Clip) Richard’s Burrito Getting a better grip on things since she passed out at the ’85 high school reunion and time-traveled back to 1960, Kathleen Turner (title character in her Best-Actress nominated role) has arranged to meet nerdy future billionaire Richard (Barry Miller) in the physics lab, in Francis Coppola’s sleeper hit from his Zoetrope Studios, Peggy Sue Got Married, 1986.
Freshman, The (1990) - Guns And Provolone In his NYU film class, Clark (Matthew Broderick) is studying The Godfather: Part II, 1974, just after he’s been hired by Carmine Sabatini (played by Marlon Brando), who he’s been told was the basis for the Vito Corleone character, writer-director Andrew Bergman’s joke being about Paul Benedict as the pompous professor Fleeber, in The Freshman, 1990.
Black Stallion, The (1979) - Off The Coast Of North Africa, 1946 Director Carroll Ballard’s opening, dialogue free, evoking the initial premise of the novel by Walter Farley, introducing star Kelly Reno as young American Alec, and Cass-Olé, the Texas-bred Arabian trained for the film by Glen, J.R. and Corky Randall, in The Black Stallion, 1979.
Black Stallion, The (1979) - He'll Die Without Me Nearly 30 minutes since the last spoken line, Alec (Kelly Reno) is surprised when fishermen appear at the Mediterranean island where he and the stallion he now calls “Black” have been stranded for weeks, in director Carroll Ballard’s The Black Stallion, 1979.
Black Stallion, The (1979) - Beach Shipwrecked Alec (Kelly Reno) making friends with the horse (Cass-Ole), cinematographer Caleb Deschanel on location in Sardinia, in The Black Stallion, 1979, directed by Carroll Ballard.
Black Stallion, The (1979) - Shipwreck Most of director Carroll Ballard's frantic shipwreck scene, Alec (Kelly Reno) awakened, father (Hoyt Axton) attempting rescue, crazy Arab guy (Doghmi Larbi) interfering and horse (Cass-Ole) escaping, in The Black Stallion, 1979.
Finian's Rainbow (1968) - Me Magnetic Feather Finian (Fred Astaire) has sneaked into the night in Misstucky, U.S.A., to bury the pot of gold he's brought from Ireland, convinced it will grow, when he meets leprechaun Og (Tommy Steele, his first scene), who has a complaint, in Finian's Rainbow, 1968.
Finian's Rainbow (1968) - Look To The Rainbow Petula Clark sings the Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg tune, as she and Fred Astaire (playing her Irish father) traverse the United States, in Francis Coppola's charming, if geographically incoherent, opening credit sequence, from Finian's Rainbow, 1968.
Finian's Rainbow (1968) - Something Sort Of Grandish Irish Sharon (Petula Clark) has just fished leprechaun Og (Tommy Steele) from the well at her new home in the U-S-A, though he doesn't realize she's fallen for another, as they deliver a tune by Burton Lane and E.Y. Harburg, in Finian's Rainbow, 1968.
Finian's Rainbow (1968) - Follow The Fellow Fred Astaire (as Finian, fresh from Ireland), age 68, in his last musical, leads Petula Clark (as daughter Sharon), who was convinced she couldn't dance with him, into their first number, all the American kids supporting, Francis Coppola directing, in Finian's Rainbow, 1968.

Trailer

Promo

Family

August Coppola
Grandfather
Pianist. Emigrated to USA from Naples as Enrico Caruso's piano accompanist.
Carmine Coppola
Father
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.
Italia Coppola
Mother
Actor.
Archimedes Coppola
Uncle
Engineer, musician. Born in 1909; died in 1927.
Michael Coppola
Uncle
Inventor. Born in 1914.
Antonio Coppola
Uncle
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).
Clifford Neil
Father-In-Law
Artist, inventor. Born in 1891; died in 1945.
August Floyd Coppola
Brother
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.
Talia Rose Coppola
Sister
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.
William Neil
Brother-In-Law
Special effects technician. Born in 1939.
Marc Coppola
Nephew
Actor. Born in 1957; son of August Coppola; acted in "Cotton Club", "Jack" and "Deadfall".
Christopher Coppola
Nephew
Director, screenwriter. Son of August Coppola; born on January 25, 1962.
Nicolas Cage
Nephew
Actor. Son of August Coppola; has acted in films directed by uncle; born on January 7, 1964; won Oscar for "Leaving Las Vegas".
Gian-Carlo Coppola
Son
Born on September 17, 1963; killed in boating accident in May 1986.
Roman Coppola
Son
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).
Jason Schwartzman
Nephew
Actor, musician. Son of Talia Shire and late producer Jack Schwartzman; born on June 26, 1980; star of comedy hit "Rushmore" (1998).
Gian Carla Coppola
Granddaughter
Daughter of the late Gian-Carlo Coppola and Jackie De La Fontaine, born six months after Gian-Carlo's death in 1986.

Companions

Eleanor Coppola
Wife
Set decorator, artist. Born in 1936; married in February 1963; directed documentary "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse".
Melissa Mathison
Companion
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.

Bibliography

"A Sense of Place: An Intimate Portrait of the Niebaum-Coppola Winery and the Napa Valley"
Steve Kolpan, Routledge (1999)
"The Godfather Legacy"
Harlan Lebo, Fireside (1997)
"Francis Ford Coppola"
Jean-Paul Chailet and Elizabeth Martin, St. Martin's Press (1985)
"Notes"
Eleanor Coppola, Simon & Schuster (1979)

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)