Francis Ford Coppola

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Francis Ford Coppola bigraphy, stories - Director, producer, screenwriter

Francis Ford Coppola : biography

7 April 1939 –

Francis Ford Coppola ( (born April 7, 1939) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Widely acclaimed as one of Hollywood’s most innovative and influential film directors, Coppola epitomized a group of filmmakers known as the "New Hollywood". Emerging in the early 1970s with unconventional ideas that challenged contemporary film-making, the group included Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Terrence Malick, Robert Altman, Woody Allen, William Friedkin, Philip Kaufman and George Lucas.

In 1970, Coppola won the Oscar for best original screenplay as co-writer, with Edmund H. North, of Patton (1970). His directorial prominence was cemented with the release of The Godfather in 1972. The film revolutionized movie-making in the gangster genre, earning praise from both critics and the public before winning three Academy Awards—including his second Oscar (Best Adapted Screenplay, with Mario Puzo), Best Picture, and his first nomination for Best Director.

Coppola followed with The Godfather Part II in 1974, which became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Highly regarded by critics, it brought him three more Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture, and made him the second director, after Billy Wilder, to be honored three times for the same film.

The Conversation, which he 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 over-long and strenuous production, the film was nonetheless critically acclaimed for its vivid and stark depiction of the Vietnam War, winning the Palme d’Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. Coppola is one of only eight filmmakers to win two Palme d’Or awards.

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.. Retrieved October 18, 2010.

Career

1960s

Coppola enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles for his graduate studies, where he met Jim Morrison. Coppola would later use Morrison’s well-known song The End in Apocalypse Now. Very soon he enrolled in UCLA Film School for graduate work in film. 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. It was then he decided to experiment as a serious film director and ended up directing a softcore "nudie" comedy Tonight for Sure in 1962. 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 and 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. 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).

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 the movie. Coppola wrote a brief draft story idea in one night. It incorporated elements from Hitchcock’s Psycho 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), 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.