Francis Ford Coppola Quotes


Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter, born on April 7, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan. He is widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema.

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Coppola graduated with a degree in drama from Hofstra University and began his career as a screenwriter, working on films like Patton (1970) and The Great Gatsby (1974). He made his directorial debut with the horror film Dementia 13 (1963) but his breakthrough came with The Godfather (1972), which he directed and co-wrote the screenplay for, based on the novel by Mario Puzo.

Coppola went on to direct and produce many critically acclaimed films, including The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including five Academy Awards, and has been honored with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

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Coppola is also a successful winemaker and owns a winery in Napa Valley, California. He continues to be an influential figure in the film industry and his work has inspired generations of filmmakers.

Francis Ford Coppola, a master storyteller whose words resonate with timeless truths. Here are some of the best quotes that will ignite introspection and illuminate the different facets of your life.

Famous Francis Ford Coppola Quotes

1. “There’s nothing creative about living within your means.”

2. “The things you get fired for when you’re young are the same things that you get lifetime achievement awards for when you’re old.”

3. “Drinking wine is just a part of life, like eating food.”

Drinking wine is just a part of life, like eating food. - Francis Ford Copppla

4. “The essence of cinema is editing.”

5. “Wine is so much more than a beverage. It’s a romance, a story, a drama-all of those things that are basically putting on a show.”

6. “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little, we went insane.”

7. “I have always credited the writer of the original material above the title: Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or John Grisham’s The Rainmaker. I felt that I didn’t have the right to Francis Coppola’s anything unless I had written the story and the screenplay.”

8. “My talent is that I just try and try and try and try again and little by little it comes to something…”

9. “When you make a film it is like asking yourself a question. When it is finished, you know the answer. Ultimately with all of cinema, we are just trying to learn about ourselves. I have always used the opportunity to make a film to learn more about myself, which I am still doing.”

10. “The whole reason one wants to do lower budget films is because the lower the budget, the bigger the ideas, the bigger the themes, the more interesting the art.”

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11. “I like simplicity; I don’t need luxury.”

12. “I always knew what I thought the theme was, the core, in one word. In ‘The Godfather’ it was succession. In ‘The Conversation’ it was privacy. In ‘Apocalypse’ it was morality.”

13. “My film is not a movie; it’s not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam.”

14. “Music is a big factor in helping the illusion of the film come to life. The same way music brings back different periods of our lives.”

15. “The essence of cinema is editing. It’s the combination of what can be extraordinary images of people during emotional moments, or images in a general sense, put together in a kind of alchemy.”

16. “You don’t have to specialize – do everything that you love and then, at some time, the future will come together for you in some form.”

17. “I think it’s better to be overly ambitious and fail than to be underambitious and succeed in a mundane way. I have been very fortunate. I failed upward in my life!”

18. “I like to work in the morning. I like to sometimes go to a place where I’m all alone where I’m not going to get a phone call early that hurts my feelings, because once my feelings are hurt, I’m dead in the water.”

19. “When I was sixteen or seventeen, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a playwright. But everything I wrote, I thought, was weak. And I can remember falling asleep in tears because I had no talent the way I wanted to have.”

20. “I have much to learn from my daughter Sofia. Her minimalism exposes my limitations: I’m too instinctive and operatic, I put too much heart into my work, I get lost sometimes in bizarre things – it’s my Italian heritage.”

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21. “When I was about 9, I had polio, and people were very frightened for their children, so you tended to be isolated. I was paralyzed for a while, so I watched television.”

22. “Death is what makes life an event.”

23. “In kindergarten that used to be my job, to tell them fairytales. I liked Hans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm fairy tales, all the classic fairy tales.”

24. “My family were symphonic musicians and in the opera. Also, it was my era, the love of radio. We used to listen to the radio at night, close our eyes and see movies far more beautiful than you can photograph.”

25. “Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos.”

Anything you build on a large scale or with intense passion invites chaos. - Francis Ford Coppola

26. “When a movie is about to come out on its initial debut, there are a lot of people involved – the financiers, the studio and the producers and also, many times, the foreign distributors. So it is a time of tremendous pressure and uncertainty.”

27. “You ought to love what you’re doing because, especially in a movie, over time you really will start to hate it.”

28. “When I was 13, I worked for Western Union. When the telegrams came in, I would glue them on the paper and deliver them on my bicycle.”

29. “To make great movies, there is an element of risk. You have to say, ‘Well, I am going to make this film, and it is not really a sure thing.’”

30. “Usually, the stuff that’s your best idea or work is going to be attacked the most.”

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31. “Roger Corman exploited all of the young people who worked for him, but he really gave you responsibility and opportunity. So it was kind of a fair deal.”

32. “So much of the art of film is to do less. To aspire to do less.”

33. “An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before?”

34. “Time is the lens through which dreams are captured.”

35. “A director is the ringmaster of a circus that’s inventing itself.”

36. “If you’re not allowed to experiment anymore for fear of being considered self-indulgent or pretentious or what have you, then everyone’s going to just stick to the rules – there’s not going to be any additional ideas.”

37. “You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you’ll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.”

38. “Work on nothing less than epic scale.”

39. “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.”

40. “People feel the worst film I made was ‘Jack.’ But to this day, when I get checks from old movies I’ve made, ‘Jack’ is one of the biggest ones. No one knows that. If people hate the movie, they hate the movie. I just wanted to work with Robin Williams.”

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41. “I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing.”

I don’t think there’s any artist of any value who doesn’t doubt what they’re doing. - Francis Ford Coppola

42. “We were raised in an Italian-American household, although we didn’t speak Italian in the house. We were very proud of being Italian, and had Italian music, ate Italian food.”

43. “Ten Days That Shook The World, by Eisenstein, I went to see it, and I was so impressed with this film, so impressed with what cinema could do.”

44. “The most adventurous thing I’ve done is learn how to fly a helicopter in the Philippines. One night we landed on a beach and slept on it.”

45. “I believe that filmmaking – as, probably, is everything – is a game you should play with all your cards, and all your dice, and whatever else you’ve got. So, each time I make a movie, I give it everything I have. I think everyone should, and I think everyone should do everything they do that way.”

46. “Films and hotels have many aspects that are the same. For example, there is always a big vision, an idea.”

47. “I had a number of very strong personalities in my family. My father was a concert flutist, the solo flute for Toscanini.”

48. “I probably have genius. But no talent.”

49. “The only TV I would be interested in exploring would be live television. There’s no substitute for a team of artists performing at their peak live when failure is possible. It’s a high-wire act. That excites me.”

50. “When I do a novel, I don’t really use the script, I use the book; when I did Apocalypse Now, I used Heart of Darkness. Novels usually have so much rich material.”

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51. “Art depends on luck and talent.”

52. “It was the man’s dream, and his inspiring attempt to make them come true that remain important.”

53. “In a sense, I think a movie is really a little like a question and when you make it, that’s when you get the answer.”

54. “Although knowledge of structure is helpful, real creativity comes from leaps of faith in which you jump to something illogical. But those leaps form the memorable moments in movies and plays.”

55. “I never went to a psychologist or psychiatrist in my life. Never. You know, Italians are a little prejudiced against that kind of thing.”

56. “The photographer and the director are where reality and fantasy meet.”

57. “I became quite successful very young, and it was mainly because I was so enthusiastic and I just worked so hard at it.”

58. “I made this movie for $40,000, which was this little black-and-white horror film called Dementia 13, which we made in about nine days.”

59. “I bring to my life a certain amount of mess.”

60. “I was interested in the idea of succession – showing a father and a son both in their own time and drawing a contrast.”

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61. “They needed someone to write a script of The Great Gatsby very quickly for the movie they were making. I took this job so I’d be sure to have some dough to support my family.”

62. “Whom God wishes to destroy, He first makes successful in show business.”

Whom God wishes to destroy, He first makes successful in show business. - Francis Ford Coppola

63. “A number of images put together a certain way become something quite above and beyond what any of them are individually.”

64. “Most directors have one masterpiece by which they are known. Kurosawa has at least eight or nine.”

65. “I’ve been blessed with enough wealth that I can make a film myself up to a certain budget. So one way I thought I would reinvent myself was just to make these very small, personal films that I’ve financed myself.”

66. “I associate my motion picture career more with being unhappy and scared, or being under the gun, than with anything pleasant.”

67. “If I have to be remembered for something, I want it remembered that I really liked children and was a good camp counselor.”

68. “The notebook was my anchor through all of it.”

69. “When that happens – when risk is taken and the filmmakers dive into the subject matter without a parachute – very often what you get it something with those qualities that make it age well with the public.”

70. “I had a heartbreaking experience when I was 9. I always wanted to be a guard. The most wonderful girl in the world was a guard. When I got polio and then went back to school, they made me a guard. A teacher took away my guard button.”

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71. “Lots of people have criticized my movies, but nobody has ever identified the real problem: I’m a sloppy filmmaker.”

72. “I always found the film world unpleasant. It’s all about the schedule, and never really flew for me.”

73. “Upon that second reading, much of the book fell away in my mind, revealing a story that was a metaphor for American capitalism in the tale of a great king with three sons: the oldest was given his passion and aggressiveness, the second his sweet nature and childlike qualities, and the third his intelligence, cunning, and coldness.”

74. “By working in the morning, I find a sense of peace; it’s isolated peace, but I can definitely be in touch with my feelings, and then I just start.”

75. “I had a number of teachers who hated me. I didn’t do well in school.”

76. “I think a sequel is a waste of money and time. I think movies should illuminate new stories.”

77. “Movies are the art form most like man’s imagination.”

78. “Frank Capra was a prop man, I think. John Ford was a prop man. It was a little bit of a father and son thing, and you kind of worked your way up.”

79. “I landed a job with Roger Corman. The job was to write the English dialogue for a Russian science fiction picture. I didn’t speak any Russian. He didn’t care whether I could understand what they were saying; he wanted me to make up dialogue.”

80. “I don’t go on set with an army of people because the most expensive elements of a movie production are the plane tickets, the hotel rooms, food and gasoline. If you’re willing to discover new colleagues in the place that you are, you can save a ton of money.”

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81. “I have more of a vivid imagination than I have talent. I cook up ideas. It’s just a characteristic.”

82. “When I was going for my graduate degree, I decided I was going to make a feature film as my thesis. That’s what I was famous for-that I had my thesis film be a feature film, which was ‘You’re a Big Boy Now.’”

83. “I liked to work in a shop down in the basement and invent things and build gadgets.”

I liked to work in a shop down in the basement and invent things and build gadgets. - Francis Ford Coppola

84. “The secret of life is to say yes all the time, because when you’re old, you don’t want to say, ‘I wish I’d done this, I wish I had done that.”

85. “Sound is your friend because sound is much cheaper than picture, but it has equal effect on the audience – in some ways, perhaps more effect because it does it in a very indirect way.”

86. “Sequels are not done for the audience or cinema or the filmmakers. It’s for the distributor. The film becomes a brand.”

87. “The professional world was much more unpleasant than I thought. I was always wishing I could get back that enthusiasm I had when I was doing shows at college.”

88. “I live near San Francisco in the most beautiful spot on earth and enjoy myself in many ways. Yes, I love to work, which for now is to think and read and write, so it’s all a dream come true.”

89. “I wanted to be a film student again, as a man in my 60s. To go someplace alone and see what you can cook up, with non-existent budgets. I didn’t want to be surrounded by comforts and colleagues, which you have when when you’re a big time director. I wanted to write personal works.”

90. “I was a pretty shy, lonely kid. I blossomed about age 17, when I went to college.”

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91. “If you’re a person who says yes most of the time, you’ll find yourself in the hotel business and the restaurant business.”

92. “I thought I wanted to be a playwright because I was interested in stories and telling stories.”

93. “I wrote the script of Patton. I had this very bizarre opening where he stands up in front of an American flag and gives this speech. Ultimately, I was fired. When the script was done, they hired another writer and that script was forgotten.”

94. “I was raised as a Catholic, but I didn’t like the Catholic Church at all. I thought the nuns were mean.”

95. “So give yourself that chance to put together the 80, 90 pages of a draft and then read it very in a nice little ceremony, where you’re comfortable, and you read it and make good notes on it, what you liked, what touched you, what moved you, what’s a possible way, and then you go about on a rewrite.”

96. “I just finished a film a few days ago, and I came home and said I learned so much today. So if I can come home from working on a little film after doing it for 45 years and say, I learned so much today, that shows something about the cinema. Because the cinema is very young. It’s only 100 years old.”

97. “I’m very proud of my flops, as much as of my successes.”

98. “Today’s winemakers still worry about quality.”

99. “I wanted to write and direct movies and not be forced to adapt them from a bestselling book.”

100. “I had been a kid that moved so much, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Theater really represented camaraderie.”

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