Francis Ford Coppola (born on this day in 1939) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. He was part of the New Hollywood wave of film making.
After directing The Rain People (1969), he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as co-writer, with Edmund H. North, of Patton in 1970. His directorial prominence was cemented with the release in 1972 of The Godfather, a film which revolutionized movie-making in the gangster genre, earning praise from both critics and the public before winning three Academy Awards—including his second Oscar (Best Adapted Screenplay, with Mario Puzo), Best Picture, and his first nomination for Best Director.
He followed with The Godfather Part II in 1974, which became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Highly regarded by critics, it brought him three more Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture, and made him the second director, after Billy Wilder, to be honoured three times for the same film. The Conversation, which he directed, produced and wrote, was released that same year, winning the Palme d’Or at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival. He next directed 1979’s Apocalypse Now. Notorious for its over-long and strenuous production, the film was nonetheless critically acclaimed for its vivid and stark depiction of the Vietnam War, winning the Palme d’Or at the 1979 Cannes Film Festival. In 1990, he directed the second Godfather sequel, The Godfather Part III, which he considers to be the series’ epilogue. Coppola is one of only eight filmmakers to win two Palme d’Or awards.
While a number of Coppola’s ventures in the 1980s and 1990s were critically lauded, he has never quite achieved the same commercial success with films as in the 1970s. His most well-known films released since the 1980s are the dramas The Outsiders and Rumble Fish (both 1983), the crime-drama The Cotton Club (1984), and the horror film Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).