Francis Ford Coppola

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Francis Ford Coppola : biography

7 April 1939 –

The film was overwhelmingly lauded by critics when it finally appeared in 1979 and was selected for the 1979 Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme d’Or along with The Tin Drum, directed by Volker Schlöndorff. When the film screened at Cannes, he quipped: "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. Roger Ebert considers it to be the finest film on the Vietnam war and included it on his list for the 2002 Sight & Sound poll for the greatest movie of all time.

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. His musical fantasy One from the Heart, although pioneering 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, 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. He would spend the rest of the decade working to pay off his debts. (Zoetrope Studios finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990, after which its name was changed to American Zoetrope). In addition Coppola himself was forced into US bankruptcy court three times over the next 8 years.

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."

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 against a budget of $10 million.

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 centres 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 and once again aggravated Coppola’s financial troubles.

The Cotton Club (1984)

In 1984 Coppola directed the 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.. Retrieved October 18, 2010.