Francis Ford Coppola Biography

(One of the Best and Most Infulential Filmmakers of the 20th-Century)

Birthday: April 7, 1939 (Aries)

Born In: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Francis Ford Coppola is a famous American filmmaker, director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known for his films like ‘The Godfather,’ ‘The Godfather Part II,’ and ‘Apocalypse Now.’ Coppola is known for his imaginative creativity and artistic precision. He started his filmmaking career when he was still a student at the ‘UCLA Film School.’ He made a few noticeable movies before directing ‘The Godfather,’ the movie with which he revolutionized the gangster genre cinema. He was reluctant to direct a movie like that, but he took up the challenge and won several ‘Academy Awards’ for it. He then went on to make the Vietnam War-based movie ‘Apocalypse Now’ and gained acclaim for it. The glorious era of Coppola’s film-making career is considered to be the 70s. During the 80s and 90s, too many creative and commercial disappointments came his way. Apart from being a filmmaker, he is also a successful businessman; he owns a winery, restaurant, lifestyle resorts, etc. Coppola’s children Sofia and Roman are well-known filmmakers in Hollywood.

Quick Facts

Age: 85 Years, 85 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Eleanor Coppola

father: Carmine Coppola

mother: Italia Pennino

siblings: August Coppola, Talia Shire

children: Gian-Carlo Coppola, Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Francis Ford Coppola Directors

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

political ideology: Democratic

Ancestry: Italian American

City: Detroit, Michigan

U.S. State: Michigan

Founder/Co-Founder: Zoetrope: All-Story magazine

More Facts

education: University Of California, Los Angeles, Hofstra University

  • 1

    What are some of Francis Ford Coppola's most famous movies?

    Some of Francis Ford Coppola's most famous movies include "The Godfather" trilogy, "Apocalypse Now," and "The Conversation."

  • 2

    What inspired Francis Ford Coppola to become a filmmaker?

    Francis Ford Coppola was inspired to become a filmmaker after watching the film "On the Waterfront" directed by Elia Kazan.

  • 3

    Has Francis Ford Coppola ever directed any films based on books?

    Yes, Francis Ford Coppola directed the film adaptation of the novel "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton.

  • 4

    What is Francis Ford Coppola's approach to filmmaking?

    Francis Ford Coppola is known for his innovative and visionary approach to filmmaking, often incorporating experimental techniques in his work.

  • 5

    How has Francis Ford Coppola influenced the film industry?

    Francis Ford Coppola has had a significant impact on the film industry through his groundbreaking work in cinema, inspiring future generations of filmmakers.

Childhood & Early Life

Francis Ford Coppola was born on April 7, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, USA, to Carmine and Italia Coppola. His father was a flutist with the ‘Detroit Symphony Orchestra.’ His father also worked as an arranger and assistant orchestra director for ‘The Ford Sunday Evening Hour.’

Coppola had polio in his early years, and he was bedridden for a good part of his childhood. He was an average student in school but was known for his high curiosity about science and technology.

He was trained to be a musician and became an expert in playing the tuba, which earned him a music scholarship to the ‘New York Military Academy.’ He did his major in theater arts at ‘Hofstra University’ in 1955.

Coppola did exceptionally well at the university. He founded the cinema workshop at ‘Hofstra’ and also made contributions to their literary magazine. He won three ‘D.H. Lawrence Awards’ for his directorial talent at the university and graduated in 1959.

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Coppola entered ‘UCLA Film School’ in 1960, and started experimenting with direction. Right after entering the institute, he directed ‘The Two Christophers,’ a short horror movie, and ‘Tonight for Sure,’ a light comedy.

In 1962, Roger Corman appointed Francis Ford Coppola as an assistant to re-edit a Russian sci-fi called ‘Nebo Zovyot.’ With his skills, Coppola turned the film into a sex-and-violence monster movie titled ‘Battle Beyond the Sun.’

Corman was very happy with Coppola’s work and therefore kept offering him projects from 1962 to 1963. He worked as the dialogue director for the movie ‘Tower of London,’ a soundman for ‘The Young Racers,’ and an associate producer for ‘The Terror.’

On Corman’s insistence, Coppola made ‘Dementia 13’ in 1963. He wrote the script of the movie in one night and directed it in just nine days. The movie became a cult hit amongst the horror movie fans.

Coppola was hired by ‘Seven Arts’ as a scriptwriter in 1965. The following year, he released ‘You’re a Big Boy Now,’ which was a ‘Warner Bros’ production. He also came up with his UCLA thesis project.

Coppola tasted mainstream success after the release of ‘The Rain People’ in 1969. The movie was written, directed, and co-produced by Coppola. The film won the ‘Golden Shell’ at the 1969 ‘San Sebastian Film Festival.’

In 1970, Coppola wrote the script for the movie ‘Patton’ along with Edmund H. North. This movie became an iconic hit and won him an ‘Academy Award’ for ‘Best Original Screenplay.’

Francis Ford Coppola then came up with the most glorious movie of his film career, ‘The Godfather’ in 1972. He was not Paramount’s first choice to direct the film and Coppola himself was hesitant in taking up the project, but ultimately the film earned him an ‘Oscar’ and two ‘Golden Globes.’

The year 1974 was an exciting one in Coppola’s film career; he directed ‘The Conversation’ and won his first ‘Palme d’Or’ at the ‘Cannes Film Festival.’ He also wrote the screenplay for ‘The Great Gatsby’ and directed ‘The Godfather Part II,’ which won him three ‘Oscars.’

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Coppola went on to direct the 1979 epic war film ‘Apocalypse Now,’ which won him many awards and became a masterpiece of the New Hollywood era. It is also one of the finest movies ever made on the ‘Vietnam War.’

From 1982 to 1983, many of his films bombed at the box office. ‘One from the Heart’ left him bankrupt, while he was not credited properly for ‘Hammett.’ This was followed by the failure of ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘Rumble Fish’ which affected Coppola’s image to an extent.

In the mid-1980s, Coppola continued to make more movies, but could not create the same magic as before. He directed ‘The Cotton Club,’ which failed at the box office but gained critical acclaim. During this period, he also directed projects like ‘Captain EO’ and ‘Peggy Sue Got Married.’

Coppola directed ‘Tucker: The Man and His Dream’ in 1988, a movie based on the life of the famous Preston Tucker. It was a refreshing change in his film career as the movie earned many prestigious award nominations.

In 1989, he was one of the three directors to direct an anthology film titled ‘New York Stories.’ The film consists of three short stories. While the second story 'Life Without Zoë' was directed by Coppola, the first and third were directed by Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, respectively. Coppola wrote the script for 'Life Without Zoë' along with his daughter.

In 1990, he came up with ‘The Godfather Part III,’ which became a moderate success. Coppola cast his daughter Sofia in the movie, which was nominated for several awards.

Coppola’s next success came with the adaptation of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula.’ Titled ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula,’ the film was a box office success and became the ninth highest-grossing film of the year. It also won three ‘Academy Awards.’

In 1996, he made a movie titled ‘Jack’ with Robin Williams in the lead. Coppola was highly criticized for making the movie as some critics thought he was underusing his talent by making movies like ‘Jack.’

Coppola made ‘The Rainmaker,’ an adaptation of John Grisham’s novel, in 1997. Starring Matt Damon and Danny DeVito, the movie was critically acclaimed and also did quite well at the box office.

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After a hiatus of 10 years, he returned with ‘Youth Without Youth’ in 2007. It was based on Mircea Eliade’s novella of the same name. The movie tanked at the box office and was a disappointment.

Coppola’s movies like ‘Tetro’ (2009) and ‘Twixt’ (2011) failed to impress the viewers as well as most of the critics.

He will make his directorial return with the upcoming American epic science fiction drama film ‘Megalopolis.’ He is also the writer and co-producer of the film.

Major Works

Some of his highly acclaimed works are ‘The Godfather’ (1972), ‘The Godfather Part II’ (1974), and ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979). These movies established Coppola as an iconic filmmaker in the American film industry.

Awards & Achievements

Coppola has won five ‘Academy Awards;’ ‘Best Writing’ for ‘Patton,’ ‘Best Writing’ for ‘The Godfather,’ and ‘Best Picture,’ ‘Best Director,’ and ‘Best Writing’ for ‘The Godfather Part II.’ He has also won five ‘Golden Globe’ awards.

He was also honored with the ‘Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award’ by the ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.’

Personal Life & Legacy

Francis Ford Coppola got married to Eleanor Neil after meeting her on the sets of ‘Dementia 13’ in 1963. The couple has two children: Roman, and Sofia. His son Gian-Carlo died in a speed boating accident at an early age.

Facts About Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola is not only a renowned filmmaker but also a successful winemaker, owning a vineyard in California's Napa Valley.

He is known for his unique approach to filmmaking, often incorporating experimental techniques and pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling.

Coppola is a talented writer as well, having penned several screenplays in addition to directing his films.

He comes from a family of artists, with both his father and sister being successful in the entertainment industry.

In addition to his work in film, Coppola is also a respected mentor and teacher, inspiring many aspiring filmmakers with his wisdom and experience.

Francis Ford Coppola Movies

1. The Godfather (1972)

  (Crime, Drama)

2. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

  (Crime, Drama)

3. Apocalypse Now (1979)

  (Drama, War)

4. Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

  (Music, Documentary)

5. Paper Moon (1973)

  (Crime, Drama, Comedy)

6. Patton (1970)

  (War, Biography, Drama)

7. The Conversation (1974)

  (Drama, Mystery, Thriller)

8. Kagemusha (1980)

  (Drama, History, War)

9. American Graffiti (1973)

  (Comedy, Drama)

10. The Black Stallion (1979)

  (Sport, Adventure, Family)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1975 Best Picture The Godfather: Part II (1974)
1975 Best Director The Godfather: Part II (1974)
1975 Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted From Other Material The Godfather: Part II (1974)
1973 Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium The Godfather (1972)
1971 Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced Patton (1970)
Golden Globe Awards
1980 Best Director - Motion Picture Apocalypse Now (1979)
1980 Best Original Score - Motion Picture Apocalypse Now (1979)
1973 Best Director - Motion Picture The Godfather (1972)
1973 Best Screenplay - Motion Picture The Godfather (1972)
BAFTA Awards
1980 Best Direction Apocalypse Now (1979)

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