Happy Birthday to Francis Ford Coppola

“Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos.”

Francis Ford Coppola, Oscar winning director, writer, and producer, was born on April 7th, 1939 in Detroit. His Italian-American family moved to New York while he was still young, and he developed an interest in film early. After studying drama at Hofstra University in New York, he received his MFA in film from UCLA in 1966.

Regrettably, when I hear Francis Ford Coppola I only think of The Godfather, but I never realized the depth and diversity of his resume. In addition to his trio of credits as writer, director, and producer of the Godfather Trilogy, he served the same three roles for Apocalypse Now, which is somewhat based on Joseph Conrad’s “Hearth of Darkness.” He was also a writer on This Property Is Condemned (one of my mom’s favorite movies), the award-winning Patton, and the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby. His direction ranges from musical (Finian’s Rainbow with Fred Astaire), to horror (Bram Stoker’s Dracula from 1992), to comedy (Peggy Sue Got Married starring nephew Nicholas Cage). He’s worked as a producer of feature films, shorts, and television.

I also didn’t realize that he purposefully places the author’s name in front of a film, such as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. I read several quotes to choose the two seen here, and I couldn’t help taking away the feeling that Francis Ford Coppola is a down-to-earth, genuine guy who just wants to write and make movies. Must be that Midwestern sensibility…

“I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”

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