More than any other director, Francis Coppola exemplifies the drive and invention of modern American cinema. Acclaimed since his first Godfather movie in 1972, he went on to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes for The Conversation and to make an unforgettable impact on audiences worldwide with the gripping Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. Along with major blockbusters, he has also launched actors' careers including those of Nicholas Cage and Tom Cruise. Since the turn of the new millennium, Coppola has returned to his roots - to the low-budget, personal film, written and directed without the involvement of the major Hollywood studios. He has also encouraged the work of other talented film-makers - from his daughter Sofia to the Brazilian director Walter Salles and Robert De Niro. In 2010 he was awarded his sixth Oscar. Talking exclusively to Peter Cowie for this updated edition of the biography, Coppola looks back on the past twenty years, and reflects on his much-cherished independence, as well as on the state of modern cinema.
Cowie, founding editor of International Film Guide and author of several books on cinema, traces the career of the flamboyant director of The Godfather , Apocalypse Now , The Conversation and other controversial movies. Describing Coppola's filmmaking techniques and analyzing his plots, the author shows how the director's inventiveness, as well as such aspects of his personal life as his Italian heritage, have influenced his work. In Cowie's adulatory view, Coppola has continued to forge ahead boldly, undeterred by box-office failures ( One from the Heart and Gardens of Stone ), the ups and downs of Zeotrope, his film studio, or the tragedy of the death of his oldest son in a boating accident. Nevertheless, Coppola the man remains elusive in this biography. Illustrations not seen by PW.