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Inside The Director's Chair:Francis Ford Coppola
On this edition of Inside The Director's Chair I have decided to chronicle the career of Francis Ford Coppolla.He is someone who has been around since the early 60's and is a name that everyone in this world knows if you are a movie lover.His first directing debut was with a film called The Bellboy and the Playgirls in 1962.The basic storyline to this film was about a bellboy who wants more then just tips in his job.Being that this was one of Coppolla's earlier works that it didn't go as recognized as some of his films in the future but for him being a director he was well on his way.In 1962 as well he made the film Tonight For Sure which was about two random men meeting on the Las Vegas Strip and before you know it chaos and madness ensues in the famous Sin City.This was another film that didn't get the highest rating on film sites but again it was one of his earlier works and something that helped him mold his character as a director.
1966 brought along the film You're A Big Boy Now and the story centered around a young teen virgin who moves to the big city with the big city being New York and he ends up getting his heart broken and falling in love in the same trip.This film unlike his earlier works that didn't have a poster when this one had one for better marketing and this film was also nominated for 1 Oscar during that years award season.1968 was the film Finian's Rainbow which centered around an Irishmen and his daughter going to Rainbow Valley and once they arrive an adventure ensues involving tobacco workers and even a leprechaun.1969 was the film The Rain People and it had a well known cast working with Coppolla this time around in James Caan,Robert Duvall and Shirley Knight.The story centered around Knight's character finding out that she is pregnant and also a wife together and she ends up deciding to run away to California to sort everything in her life out after hearing such life altering news.
1972 for Coppolla brought along one of the biggest films of his career and definitely the start to something huge and incredible all at the same time when he released The Godfather.Based on the book by Mario Puzo who also helped with the screenplay for this film to make it as close as possible to his book.The film starred Marlon Brando,Al Pacino and James Caan in some of the starring roles and this film was such a landmark in movie history that even after garnering 3 Oscars that year this film has widely been considered the greatest film ever made and some have even tied it with the film Citizen Kane but the difference between those two films is Godfather had incredible length and still holds up today if you were to sit down and watch it in the 175 minute masterpiece that it is.1974 showed america the film The Conversation.This film stars Gene Hackmen in the main role and the story is about a guy who starts to go paranoid over the fact that the family he is watching will be murdered sometime during his surveillance.During the awards season this film garnered 3 Oscar nominations and was noticed all over the world as a great film and many people saw the film for its great storyline,superb acting and of course the name Coppolla attached to it.
1974 brought in the second part of the Godfather franchise with The Godfather Part 2.The cast in this film can basically be considered as an all star team in sports terms with Al Pacino,Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall playing the starring roles and this film continued on with the story told by Mario Puzo in the first film and by most peoples accounts after seeing the film they were blown away by it and some almost loved the second part of the franchise more then the first and it is every now and then when a sequel has the ability and hype to try and surpass the original.During awards season this film won 6 Oscars which was double to what the original did and the acting was being considered as some of the best anyone has ever seen on film and the story was just as good as the acting as it went along.1979 strayed away from the Godfather franchise and showed how Coppolla would work in a different setting with the film Apocalypse Now.
The story in this film is about the time during the Vietnam War and a captain has to go behind enemy lines in Cambodia and assassinate a renegade colonel who is considered by everybody in the camp to be a god.The film had an amazing cast list with the main stars being Martin Sheen,Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall.The film won 2 Oscars during awards season and was able to be remembered as one of the best war epics around.1983 brought the film Rumble Fish which starred Matt Dillon,Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane.The films story revolves around the character of Rusty James who is a street thug and is having trouble trying to live up to his brothers expectation and it was during the height of the gang warfare on the streets.This story was based off of the book by S.E. Hinton and was known through most circles as just a book until Coppola took the reigns from it and made it his own.1984 showed the film The Cotton Club and the film starred Richard Gere,Diane Lane and Gregory Hines as the main starring roles and the story of the film was about the basic history of The Cotton Club and everyone that had come through and the story of the music that was played there as well.During the awards season this film was nominated for 2 Oscars and was known as another great film from the A list director.
1988 was another different film for Coppola when he chose to direct the film Tucker:The Man and His Dream.The story behind Tucker was the history of Preston Tucker who was a car designer and it was his story about telling the world about one of his concepts that he created in the world.Jeff Bridges,Joan Allen and Martin Landau are the main casting roles in the film and during awards season the film was nominated for 3 Oscars so his big run of either winning Oscars every year or either getting nominated for 1 whenever he makes a film is quite a feat.1990 was the final step and chapter in the massively popular Godfather series with Coppola making The Godfather Part 3.This one basically wraps up Mario's big story that was told so long ago and bringing back Al Pacino in his role and having Diane Keaton and Andy Garcia as the big starring roles and bringing even more life into the film that was already brought along in the first two films.During awards season the last chapter in the series was nominated for 7 Oscars and ended up not winning any which is a first for the series but at the same time being nominated for every film is such an amazing feat nonetheless.
1992 was Coppola directing the film about the classic story of the classic monster Dracula.The film starred Gary Oldman,Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins in the starring roles among many others as the cast for this film was a very stacked one.The film was a retelling of Bram Stokers novel and was such a dramatic film for how it was told that it was hard not to mention it in certain circles that year.During the awards season the film ended up winning 3 Oscars and was nominated over 13 times in many respective categories.1996 was a totally turn for Coppola as he chose to direct the film Jack which was about a boy who had a different disorder causing him to age 4 times faster then the average human being.The film starred Robin Williams in the starring role of Jack.During the awards season this film didn't garner any Academy Award nominations but it did get nominated for a few things during the season.1997 was the courtroom drama The Rainmaker.The film starred Matt Damon,Danny Devito and Claire Danes in the starring roles.The story behind the film was about a young lawyer who has a very cynical partner and they take on cases from a firm that is involved with a corrupt insurance company.Coppola got back into his groove by getting this film nominated for 1 Golden Globe but ending up going home empty on that front.
It was a whole 10 years later in 2007 that Francis had decided to go back to the directing chair and he directed the film Youth Without Youth.The main story behind the film is a love story that has a little bit of mystery attached to it too about a professor right before World War 2 who's life is changed by a mind blowing event.2009 brought the film Tetro and the story of it is about Bennie who travels to Beunes Aires to find his brother who over time ends up writing a play that both of them relate on and ends up changing their lives.2011 showed the film Twixt which starred Val Kilmer,Bruce Dern and Elle Fanning playing the role of V.The story of the film is about a writer who is traveling on a book tour and gets raveled in the world of a murder that happens in the town he is located in.This film listed on certain movie sites rated this as one of Coppola's worst films that he has ever done and I haven't personally watched the film but It did get a bit of talk for Fanning's role in the film.
The future for Coppola just looks like he will be producing quite a few projects and he has been helping his daughter Sofia Coppola in producing her projects that she does so he is keeping busy in no matter what he does and no matter what happens he will ALWAYS be known as a household name in the movie business for making that Godfather Trilogy and films like Apocalypse Now and Bram Stoker's Dracula.