Biography of Francis Ford Coppola (1939-VVVV)

Director, screenwriter and producer of American cinema born in Detroit, Michigan on April 7, 1939.

In Hollywood have been given various types of professionals, which include those who live with intensity what they do. Coppola was one of the directors who have more vibrated with what he did. He was one of the film promoters more contradictory and controversial of the last half of the 20th century. It moved between the desire to make low-budget films and the obsession of megalomaniac projects, always defended taking a creative position of great wealth, able to show great sensitivity at the most unexpected moments. Although he was the most senior, it was part of a group of young innovators of the industry of American film, which included George Lucas, Martín Scorsese, Brian de Palma, Steven Spielberg and John Milius.

Son of Carmine Coppola, soloist and composer, and Italy Pennino, daughter of a businessman in movie theaters. For the profession of his father, Francis lived from a child the world of the spectacle: enjoyed with the Radio City Music Hall assemblies. It was not good student, which meant a brake in the family aspirations. The worst was, however, a ten-year-old contracted polio and remained an isolated from their world. He learned shortly after music. It passed by the Academy military of New York, where he escaped, and ended, thanks to the guidance of his brother Augusto - essential reference in your life - enrolled in drama at the Hofstra University in Hempstead (Long Island). There he achieved a notorious popularity by mounting a series of works which provided him his first awards as director and theatrical producer. In these years he made his first cinematographic works in 8 and 16 mm.

At age 21 he enrolled in the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where he showed a mastery in scriptwriting; just received the Samuel Goldwyn Award for a screenplay titled "Pilma Pilma". When I was still at University was chosen by Roger Corman for some jobs (such as the scenes for Battle Beyond the Sun, 1960, Joel RAP). His contact with Corman came out closely for several years in which Francis did everything and, most importantly, learned his trade in a sea of difficulties. It was Corman who gave him the opportunity to direct his first film, Dementia 13 (1963), which won its first awards and, above all, met Eleanor Nelly, occasional artistic director, with whom he married in February 1963.

Not completed their courses in cinematography at UCLA (he would get his master's degree in fine arts to be admitted as a thesis film because you're a great guy) accepted contracts as a scriptwriter. He wrote several stories that were very praised, but that is not carried on the screen. In the mid-1960s lived one of the most intense moments of his fledgling career: was one of the screenwriters of do burning Paris? (1966), by René Clément, had the opportunity to direct his second film because you're a great guy (1966), he wrote one of the best scripts of the era, Patton (that was brought to the screen by Franklin J. Schaffner in 1970) and took over the management of two other films of uneven results, one of which rains on my heart (1969), received the Golden shell at the San Sebastián Film Festival.

The anti-establishment stance and the creative dynamics of Francis led him to seek an alternative way that give him more independence for the industrial structure of Hollywood. After studying and seeking the necessary collaboration, at the end of 1969, he founded the American Zoetrope, the producer so marked him in his life. The ideals of Coppola were who, in many cases, by the pace of an industry that nothing looked like he wanted to develop. Francis was forced, from the moment that formed his company, to live on the edge of the precipice, always dependent on revenue generated by some of his hits which, unfortunately, failed to give you all the stability that always yearned.

In this frame of mind, Francis managed to help Lucas to take forward their first projects. While he addressed commissioned by Paramount to direct the Godfather (1972), a surprising story written by Mario Puzo who took part in the script. The history of the Mafia in the United States during the 20th century was an occasion of family reunion, given the Italian ancestry of the director. The result of this film surprised everyone and consolidated to Coppola as one of the best directors of the moment. Of the ten nominations to the Oscar just got three (best film, Actor -Marlon Brando- and script). Commercially, was one of the films over the blockbuster of all time. This story continued it later in two installments over (the Godfather Part II, 1974; The Godfather III, 1990), which were creatively excellent (le second part also earned six Oscar of the Academy) but with unequal trade, although never loss-making fortune. The trilogy, however, was consolidated as one of the most important cinematographic frescoes of the history of the seventh art.

No other director may be said that part of his work may go unnoticed. Coppola showed that each new project boarded was a total and passionate delivery. Therefore, in no time his activity as director could hide their initiatives as screenwriter, producer and patron of the arts. Coppola was imposed as a rule the challenge, risk, adventure. Each creative step took it with a personal commitment that involved all those who surrounded him, especially his family.

Therefore, after a small great work as it was the conversation (1974), embarked on a megaproject entitled Apocalypse Now (1979), which devoted several years of his life and underwent a whole team in a film which reached the highest degrees of insanity. Advertised as one of the most haunting adventures ever projected on the screen, the Benjamín Williar (Martín Sheen) trip to the meeting of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) was one of the most striking visual stories about the conflict in Viet Nam. The film received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and two Oscar (picture and sound) and forced him to have to return about bank loans for many years.

The concern of Francis prevents you relax after each new film. Hence that soon end the Vietnamese adventure addresses an innovative project carried out with electronic technology and which was titled hunch (1982) and that was a smart bet by the narration, to whose development took advantage of new resources available to the audiovisual world, still not incorporated by the film. The economic failure of this bet - to all renewing lights in many ways - forced him to tackle two jobs that would allow it to go ahead. What is considered a custom food projects, were two unequal bets, one of great wealth and creative imagination (the law of the street) and another that was limited to be discoverer of new talent to the Hollywood of the following years (rebels) will be consolidated. Both films were shot in identical locations with the same team, which adopted a style of work which Coppola already knew in his years with Corman; the economic results were very different, with the outstanding success of rebels.

The subsequent trajectory confirmed to Francis as one of the most interesting directors of American cinema, with a great international projection in which justified the admiration aroused his cinema in Europe. He left no problems with Cotton Club (1984), a story about the famous club Harlem in which Coppola - the essence of characters and an environment - seal is unmistakable. It was involved again in a custom as Peggy Sue got married (1986), he turned in the discipline and military tradition with gardens of stone (1987), impassioned with Tucker, a man and his dream (1988) and was used to fund a version of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), which developed an unconventional story with large doses of Visuality.

Coppola, faithful to its ideals, learned about clothing other different projects throughout his career, such as Koyaanisqatsi (1983), a visual experiment of Regio Godfrey, Junky s Christmas (1993), of Nick Donkin, Buddy (1997), of Caroline Thompson, or The Florentine (1999), Nick Stagliano. He collaborated so that Akira Kurosawa could finish his Kagemusha, the shadow of the Warrior (1980), he promoted the premiere of Napoleon, Abel Gance, in United States as well as other European directors of the 1970s films. "Francis Coppola presents" has become a seal of quality that many directors wanted to play.

His professional career was recognized with the special Donostia award in 2002, the year that the San Sebastián Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary.


Director:Short films: 1958: the lost (in Super 8 mm) wallet. 1961: Aymonn the Terrible; The Disenchanted; My Last Duchess. 1962: The Fifth Coin. 1986: Captain Eo.

Feature films: 1961: Tonight PIC Sure (and producer, screenwriter and editor). 1963: The Terror (and associated prod.); Dementia 13 (and screenplay). 1966: already a big guy (and screenwriter). 1968: the Valley of the Rainbow. 1969: Rains on my heart (and co-writer). 1972: the Godfather (and co-writer). 1974: the Godfather II (and co-writer and producer); The conversation (and screenwriter and producer). 1979: Apocalypse Now (and producer, co-writer, composer, and actor). 1982: hunch (and co-writer). 1983: the law of the street (and screenwriter and Executive prod.); Rebels. 1984: Cotton Club (and co-writer). 1986: Peggy Sue got married. 1987: Gardens of stone (and producer). 1988: Tucker, a man and his sueno.1989: Life Without Zoe (New York stories episode). 1990: the Godfather III (and co-writer and producer). 1992: Bram Stoker's Dracula (and producer). 1996: Jack (and producer). 1997: legitimate defence (co-writer and producer). 2000: Supernova (and editor).

Other works as a scriptwriter: 1961: Sadko (for its American version: The Magic Voyage of Sinbad); MIT Eva Fing ie Sünde An (for its American version: The Playgirls and the Bellboy). 1962: Tower of London (only dialogues address); Nebo Zovyot (for its American version: Battle Beyon the Sun). 1966: would Paris burning?; Condemned property. 1967: Reflections in a golden eye. 1970: Patton. 1974: The great Como.

Other films as producer: 1971: THX 1138. 1972: The People (to TV). 1973: American Graffiti. 1979: The black steed. 1980: Kagemusha. 1982: The man in Chinatown (Hammett); Master in leaks. 1983: Koyaanisqatsi; How to nail and flesh. 1987: Lionheart; Tough Guys Don't Dance. 1990: The Outsiders (TV series). 1992: Wind. 1993: The secret garden; The Junky's Christmas. 1994: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. 1995: White Dwarf (for TV); Tecumseh: The Last Warrior (for TV); Kidnapped (for TV); My Family; Haunted; Don Juan de Marco. 1996: Dark Angel (for TV). 1997: Buddy; The Odyssey (TV series). 1998: Lanai-Loa; Moby Dick (for TV); Outrage (for TV); First Wave (TV series). 1999: the Virgin suicides; Sleepe Hollow; The Florentine; Goosed; The third miracle. 2000: Grapefruit Moon.

As an actor: 1968: Filmmaker. 1975: The Godfather Comes to Sixth St. 1979: Cultural Celebrities. 1981: American Mythologies. 1991: The Godfather Family: A Look Inside; Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker completo Apocalypse (and composer). 1995: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies. 1996: Marlon Brando: The Wild One (for TV). 1999: Kurosawa: The Last Emperor.

Other collaborations: 1962: The Premature Burial (prod. attached). 1963: The Young Racers (sound); The Terror (ay from address and prod attached). 1968: The Wild Racers (second unit dir.). 1985: return to Oz (ay. address).


ARESTE, José María. Francis Ford Coppola. (Barcelona; Royal Books, 1994).

COPPOLA, Francis Ford. Journals 1989-1993. (Faber & Faber, 1994).

COWIE, Peter. Coppola. (Madrid; Libertarias/Prodhufi, 1992).

GOODWIN, Michael and WISE, Naomi. On the edge: the life and times ofr Francis Coppola (New York; William Morrow & Co. Inc., 1989).

They PAYAN, Juan Miguel. Francis Ford Coppola (Madrid; Editions JC, 1992).