Francis Ford Coppola: A Filmmaker's Life

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Crown Publishers, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 536 pages
"So you still want to direct films?" Coppola wearily asked one of his assistants after a long day of shooting on The Godfather.
"Always remember three things. Have the definitive script ready before you shoot. There'll always be some changes, but they should be small ones. Second, work with people you trust and feel secure with. Remember good crew people you've worked with on other films and get them for your film. Third, make your actors feel very secure so they can do their job well."
Pausing for a moment, Coppola considered his advice.
"I've managed to do none of these things on this film," he concluded.
Francis Ford Coppola is one of the seminal filmmakers of the generation that changed the way movies are made. Five of the films he's worked on are listed among the American Film Institute's top 100 films ever made. He is a man who's spent his life seeking to realize his own artistic vision even as he acknowledges the force that truly drives Hollywood--box office receipts.
Francis Ford Coppola: A Filmmaker's Life is the first complete picture of the flawed cinematic genius who directed the Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and other distinctive films--some wildly successful, some disastrous.
Coppola is on every film aficionado's list of Hollywood's greatest directors. But he is renowned nearly as much for his mistakes as for his masterpieces, for his bluster as for his brilliance, for the money he has lost as for the fortunes he has made. In an era when playing it safe seems to be the credo of the Hollywood/Wall Street complex, Coppola is a driven, unpredictable renegade who has repeatedly gambled everything in an effort to bring hisideas to life, regardless of the cost.
In Francis Ford Coppola, we hear the entire story of this man's career covered in more detail than ever before: from his apprenticeship under Roger Corman to his winning a Director's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. Along the way, we learn how he turned a pulp Mafia novel into a cinematic classic, how he almost literally killed himself during the filming of Apocalypse Now, and how he confirmed Hollywood's predictions about him, with various flops and follies along the way.
In the hands of biographer Michael Schumacher--who gained unprecedented access to Coppola's friends, critics, peers, casts, and crews--the story of Francis Ford Coppola makes for irresistible reading and the first complete picture of this complex, conflicted genius.

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User Review  - Kirkus

The director of perhaps the finest film of the past 30 years is presented as erratic, grandiose, and mysteriously boring for so great an artist. Schumacher (Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric ... Read full review

Francis Ford Coppola: a filmmaker's life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Coppola made his reputation as a director by winning back-to-back Best Picture Oscars for The Godfather, Parts 1 and 2. The exuberant Coppola was like a godfather to the new American cinema movement ... Read full review



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About the author (1999)

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER is the author of five books, including biographies of Allen Ginsberg, Phil Ochs, and Eric Clapton. He lives in Wisconsin.

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