Francis Ford Coppola


Francis Ford Coppola (April 7, 1939) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, film composer, and vintner. He was a central figure in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. He, like many other filmmakers, started his career under the mentorship of prolific filmmaker/producer, Roger Corman.

After directing Finian’s Rainbow (1968), with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark; The Rain People (1969), Coppola co-wrote Franklin J. Schaffner‘s Patton (1970), earning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay along with Edmund H. North. Coppola’s reputation as a filmmaker was cemented with the release of The Godfather (1972), with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, John Cazale, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. The film revolutionized movie-making in the gangster genre, and was adored by the public and critics alike. The Godfather won three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay (shared with Mario Puzo).

The Godfather Part II (1974), with much of the returning cast along with Robert De Niro sh Bruno Kirby; became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Highly regarded by critics, the film brought Coppola three more Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, and made him the second director (after Billy Wilder) to be so honored three times for the same film. The Conversation (1974), with Gene Hackman, Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford, Teri Garr, and Duvall; won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. His next film, Apocalypse Now (1979), with Brando, Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Ford, and Dennis Hopper; which notoriously had a lengthy and strenuous production, was widely acclaimed for its vivid depiction of the Vietnam War. The film won the Palme d’Or, making Coppola one of only eight filmmakers to have won that award twice.

While a number of Coppola’s ventures in the 1980s and 1990s were critically lauded, he has never quite achieved the same commercial success with films as in the 1970s. Films released since the start of the 1980s include One From the Heart (1982), with Forrest, Teri Garr, Raul Julia, Nastassja Kinski, Lainie Kazan, and Harry Dean Stanton; The Outsiders (1983), with C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Leif Garrett; Rumble Fish (1983), with Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Vincent Spano, Diane Lane, Diana Scarwid, Nicolas Cage (his nephew), Hopper; The Cotton Club (1984), with Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Cage, Allen Garfield, Gwen Verdon and Fred Gwynne; Peggy Sue Got Married (1985), with Kathleen Turner, Cage, Barry Miller, Catherine Hicks, Jim Carrey, John Carradine, and Helen Hunt; Gardens of Stone (1987), with Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones, D.B. Sweeney, Dean Stockwell and Mary Stuart Masterson; and Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), with Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau, Elias Koteas, Forrest, Christian Slater, and Mako.

Films in the 1990s include and The Godfather Part III (1990), with much of the returning cast along with Andy García, Joan Mantegna, and Eli Wallach; Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), with Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, and Tom Waits; Jack (1996), with Robin Williams, Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Fran Drescher, and Brian Kerwin; and The Rainmaker (1997), with Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Claire Danes, Jon Voight, Roy Scheider, Mickey Rourke, Virginia Madsen, Mary Kay Place and Teresa Wright.

Coppola would then take a 10 year hiatus from filmmaking, returning with the film Youth Without Youth (2007), with Tim Roth, Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, André Hennicke, Marcel Iureș, Adrian Pintea, and Andrei Gheorghe; followed by Tetro (2009), with Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú, Klaus Maria Brandauer, and Carmen Maura; and Twixt (2011), with Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Ben Chaplin, Ehrenreich, David Paymer, and Joanne Whalley.

A number of Coppola’s relatives and children have become famous actors and filmmakers in their own right: his sister is the actress Talia Shire (who appeared in The Godfather trilogy); his daughter Sofia Coppola, son Roman Coppola, and granddaughter Gia Coppola are directors, and actor Jason Schwartzman is one of his nephews.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Tonight for Sure (1962)
  • The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962)
  • The Haunted Palace (1963) – directed by Roger Corman – additional dialogue (uncredited)
  • Dementia 13 (1963)
  • This Property Is Condemned (1966) – directed by Sydney Pollack – co-writer
  • Is Paris Burning (1966) – directed by René Clément – co-writer
  • You’re a Big Boy Now (1966)
  • Finian’s Rainbow (1968)
  • The Rain People (1969)
  • Patton (1970) – directed by Franklin J. Schaffner – co-writer
  • THX 1138 (1971) – directed by George Lucas – executive producer
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • Paper Moon (1973) – directed by Peter Bogdanovich – uncredited executive producer
  • American Graffiti (1973)** – directed by George Lucas – producer
  • The Way We Were (1973) – directed by Sydney Pollack – uncredited co-writer
  • The Great Gatsby (1974) – directed by Jack Clayton – writer
  • The Conversation (1974)
  • The Godfather Part II (1974)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Kagemusha (1980) – directed by Akira Kurosawa – executive producer: international version
  • One from the Heart (1982)
  • The Outsiders (1983)
  • Rumble Fish (1983)
  • The Cotton Club (1984)
  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) – directed by Paul Schrader – executive producer
  • Captain EO (1986) – theme park video
  • Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
  • Gardens of Stone (1987)
  • Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
  • New York Stories (1989) – directed with Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen
  • The Godfather Part III (1990)
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
  • Don Juan DeMarco (1994) – directed by Jeremy Leven – producer
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994) – directed by Kenneth Branagh – producer
  • Jack (1996)*
  • The Rainmaker (1997)
  • Sleepy Hallow (1999) – directed by Tim Burton – executive producer
  • The Virgin Suicides (2000) – directed by Sofia Coppola – producer
  • No Such Thing (2002) – directed by Hal Hartley – executive producer
  • CQ (2002) – directed by Roman Coppola – executive producer
  • Pumpkin (2002) – directed by Anthony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder – executive producer
  • Assassination Tango (2003) – directed by Robert Duvall – executive producer
  • Lost in Translation (2003) – directed by Sofia Coppola – executive producer
  • Kinsey (2004) – directed by Bill Condon – executive producer
  • Marie Antoinette (2006) – directed by Sofia Coppola – executive producer
  • The Good Shepherd (2006) – directed by Robert De Niro – executive producer
  • Youth Without Youth (2007)
  • Tetro (2009)
  • Somewhere (2010) – directed by Sofia Coppola – executive producer
  • Twixt (2011)
  • On the Road (2013) – directed by Walter Salles – executive producer
  • The Bling Ring (2013) – directed by Sofia Coppola – executive producer

Other notable New Hollywood filmmakers: