Photo of Francis Ford Coppola Francis Ford Coppola

Born April 7, 1939, to Italian-American parents in Detroit, Mich., Francis Ford Coppola grew up in a New York City suburb. He attended UCLA to learn filmmaking and landed a job working as an assistant to B-movie director and producer Roger Corman, who gave Coppola the chance to direct his first feature, Dementia 13 (1963).

After winning his first Oscar for writing the script for Patton (1970), Coppola was given the chance to direct one of the most influential films in history, The Godfather (1972). Surprisingly, it wasn't until the release of The Godfather, Part II (1974) that Coppola took home an Oscar for directing.

Coppola began his most ambitious and personally taxing project with Apocalypse Now (1979). He has since balanced smaller-scale projects such as The Outsiders and Peggy Sue Got Married with larger productions such as The Cotton Club, Dracula and The Godfather, Part III (1990).

Francis Ford Coppola in Rumble Fish

Rumble Fish

1983 R

In Francis Ford Coppola's black-and-white adaptation of the S.E. Hinton novel, Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is the leader of a small, dying gang once led by his now-absent brother, Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke). When Rusty is injured in a gang fight, his brother returns to their sad, industrial town to help. Despite this, Rusty continues on his path of self-destruction, damaging his relationships with his girlfriend (Diane Lane) and friends.

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