Francis Ford Coppola Biography

Francis Ford Coppola is an American Academy award winning director, producer and screenwriter. This biography offers detailed information on his childhood, achievements and timeline.

Francis Ford Coppola
Quick Facts

Birthday: April 7, 1939

Nationality: American

Famous: Directors Screenplay Writers

Age: 79 Years, 79 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Aries

Born in: Detroit

Height: 1.82 m

political ideology: Democratic

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Eleanor Coppola

father: Carmine Coppola

mother: Italia Pennino

siblings: August Coppola, Talia Shire

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

Diseases & Disabilities: Bipolar Disorder, Polio

City: Detroit, Michigan

Personality: INTJ

U.S. State: Michigan

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

More Facts

education: BA Drama, Hofstra University (1960), MFA, University of California at Los Angeles (1967),

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Francis Ford Coppola is a famous American filmmaker, director, producer and a screenwriter. He is the reason behind the iconic change brought into the cinema with epics like ‘The Godfather’, ‘The Godfather Part II’ and ‘Apocalypse Now’. Coppola is known for his imaginative creativity when it comes to writing and artistic precision when it comes to direction. He started out his filmmaking career while he was still a student at the UCLA Film School. He made a few noticeable movies before finally getting his hands on the epic ‘The Godfather’, a movie with which he revolutionized the gangster cinema. He was reluctant to direct a movie like that as he did not want to ruin the image of Sicily, but he took up the challenge and won several Academy Awards for it. With the same experimental streak, he made the Vietnam War based movie ‘Apocalypse Now’ and gained fair acclaim for it. The most glorious era of Coppola’s film career is considered to be the 70s as the decades of 80s and 90s brought too many creative and commercial disappointments his way. Coppola’s daughter and son, Sofia and Roman, are both well-known filmmakers from Hollywood. Not only an actor, he is also a successful businessman –– he owns a winery, a restaurant, lifestyle resorts, etc.

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Francis Ford Coppola
Childhood & Early Life
  • Francis Ford Coppola was born in Michigan to Carmine and Italia Coppola. His father was a flautist 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, which meant that he was bedridden for a good part of his childhood. He was an average student in school but was known for his high curiosity in science and technology.
  • He was trained to be a musician in the beginning and became an expert of tuba, which fetched him a music scholarship in the New York Military Academy. He did his major in theater arts from 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 3 D.H. Lawrence Awards for his directorial talent at the university and graduated in 1959.
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Career
  • Coppola entered UCLA Film School in 1960 and started experimenting with direction just when he entered the institute; he directed ‘The Two Christophers’, which was a short horror movie and ‘Tonight for Sure’––a light comedy.
  • In 1962, Roger Corman appointed Coppola as an assistant to re-edit a Russian sci-fi called ‘Nebo Zovyot’, which he turned into a sex-and-violence monster movie with his talent, titled ‘Battle Beyond the Sun’.
  • Corman was very happy with Coppola’s work and therefore kept offering him projects from 1962-1963. He was a dialogue director of the movie ‘Tower of London’, sound man for ‘The Young Racers’ and associate producer of ‘The Terror’.
  • On the persuasion of Corman, Coppola made ‘Dementia 13’ in 1963. He wrote the script of the movie in one night and directed it in just 9 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 and also his UCLA thesis project.
  • Coppola’s first big venture and success came with ‘The Rain People’ in 1969. The movie was written, directed and co-produced by Coppola himself. 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 at the time and won him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
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  • Next was the most glorious movie of his film career, ‘The Godfather’ in 1972. He was not Paramount’s first choice and Coppola too was hesitant in taking up the project but it got 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 Cannes, wrote the screenplay for ‘The Great Gatsby’ and directed ‘The God Father Part II’ which won him 3 Oscars.
  • Coppola’s self-proclaimed nightmarish experience of making a movie-- ‘Apocalypse Now (1979)’––went on to win many awards and became a masterpiece of the New Hollywood era and one of the finest movies made on the Vietnam War.
  • The period from 1982 to 1983 was really a bad one for him as many of his films tanked at box office. ‘One from the Heart’ left him bankrupt while he was not credited properly for ‘Hammett’. It was followed by the failure of ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘Rumble Fish’, which considerably affected Coppola’s image.
  • From 1984 to 1986, Coppola continued to make more movies but could not create the same masterpieces as before. He directed ‘The Cotton Club’ which failed at box office but gained critical acclaim, ‘Captain EO’ and ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’.
  • Coppola directed ‘Tucker: The Man and His Dream’ in 1987, a movie based on the life of famous ‘Preston Tucker’. It was a refreshing change in his film career as the movie earned many prestigious award nominations.
  • In 1989, he pitched into a venture with Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen and direct ‘New York Stories’. He directed a separate segment in the film called ‘Life Without Zoe’, for which he wrote the script along with his daughter.
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  • In 1990, he came out with ‘The Godfather Part III’. Although it was not a great success but still managed moderate success. Coppola cast his daughter, Sofia, in the movie and it 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 9th highest grossing film of the year and additionally, won 3 Academy Awards.
  • In 1996, he made a movie with Robin Williams in the lead role, titled ‘Jack’. Coppola was highly criticized for making the movie as some of the critics considered his talent too big to be making a movie like this.
  • Coppola made John Grisham’s novel’s adaptation ‘The Rainmaker’ in 1997, starring Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, etc. The movie was critically acclaimed and also did quite well at the box office.
  • After a hiatus of 10 years, he returned with ‘Youth Without Youth’ in 2007. It was based on the novella by Mircea Eliade. The movie bombed at the box office and was a disappointment.
  • Coppola’s last two movies, ‘Tetro (2009)’––a movie based in Argentina and ‘Twixt (2011)’––starring Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning, failed to impress the viewers as well as most of the critics.
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Major Works
  • The most highlighted work of Coppola’s film career is considered to be ‘The Godfather (1972)’, ‘The Godfather Part II (1974)’ and ‘Apocalypse Now (1979)’. These movies established Coppola’s imaginative superiority over the other directors of his times.
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Awards & Achievements
  • Coppola has won 6 Academy Awards––for Best Writing for ‘Patton’, for Best Picture and Best Writing for ‘The Godfather’, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writing for ‘The Godfather Part II’. He is also a winner of 5 Golden Globes.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • Coppola got married to Eleanor Neil, after meeting her on the sets of ‘Dementia 13’, in 1963. The couple has three children together: Gian-Carlo, Roman and Sofia. Gian-Carlo died in a car accident at an early age.
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Trivia
  • This Academy Award winning director is famous for casting the members of his family in small roles in his movies.
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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. Kagemusha (1980)

  (Drama, History, War)




7. Patton (1970)

  (War, Biography, Drama)

8. The Conversation (1974)

  (Drama, Mystery, Thriller)





Awards

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)

See the events in life of Francis Ford Coppola in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Francis Ford Coppola Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/francis-ford-coppola-3796.php
Last Updated
- November 25, 2016

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