For more than half a century, Francis Ford Coppola has been a cinematic titan. Coppola, along with colleagues such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas, ushered in the New Hollywood movement of American filmmaking in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This new school of filmmakers adopted more experimental and unconventional storytelling approaches and characters, deviating from traditional Hollywood framework. This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of Coppola’s The Godfather, which established New Hollywood’s permanence and sent Coppola on a legendary career path that few directors have equaled.
Coppola is returning for one final film, Megalopolis, which he is self-financing for $120 million after not completing a film since 2011. Let’s take a look at some other fantastic Francis Ford Coppola films that aren’t The Godfather before it comes out.
1. Apocalypse Now (1979)
Cast- Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Laurence Fishburne
Captain Benjamin Willard, an experienced soldier and covert operative, withdraws from an inebriated and dishevelled state. At the height of the Vietnam war to accept his most risky and hidden mission yet. His plan is to take a canoe down the Nyung River and assassinate a Green Beret Colonel named Kurtz. He has gone wild deep in the jungle and is leading his men and a local tribe as a god on illegal guerilla missions into enemy territory. Willard and the crew of a Navy public relations boat, uninformed of his mission. He set off on a trek from the safety of civilisation to the wild depths of the forest. Willard must face not only the same horrors and hypocrisy that drove Colonel Kurtz insane. But also the primordial brutality of human nature and the evil within his own heart.
2. The Conversation (1974)
Cast- Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Harrison Ford
Without a doubt, guilt-ridden Harry Caul is a lone surveillance. He is an expert dedicated to neutrality in San Francisco, is at the top of his game. Caul starts the ordinary chore of listening in on a young couple’s chat in San Francisco’s busy Union Square. Unknowing that a horrifying reality lurks in plain sight. As Harry pieces together a master recording with important evidence, his buried conscience awakens. Also, tiny hints of murder drive him spiralling into a dangerous web of secrecy, paranoia, and self-destruction.
3. The Outsiders (1983)
Cast- Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell
In 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma, conflict is developing right under everyone’s noses. On the one hand, the rough, working-class Greasers from the other side of the rails yearn for a better world. While on the other, the affluent, bored-to-death college boys, the Socials, or Socs, have it all figured out. Then, against the backdrop of a frightening undercurrent of simmering violence. A cocky Soc is knifed to death, and two Greasers flee. The already precarious truce is now in jeopardy, and only a ferocious brawl between the two juvenile gangs can separate the men from the lads. But there are so many things you haven’t seen or done when you’re sixteen.
4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Cast- Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves
Vlad III Dracula, the formidable monarch of fifteenth-century Romania, has unjustly tasted the unbearable anguish of personal loss while drunk with victory over the Ottomans’ vast forces. More than four centuries later, in late-nineteenth-century London, a successful real-estate deal combined with fate’s cruel irony brings the Transylvanian Count and nature’s eternal abomination in search of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dracula’s late wife—the delicately beautiful Mina. With Mina’s young solicitor fiancé, Jonathan Harker, imprisoned in the vampiric aristocrat’s impregnable castle, defenceless victims fall prey to his unquenchable bloodlust, as the undeterred vampire assassin, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, resolves to eliminate Dracula’s reign. Vlad was cursed by love once to roam among the living for the rest of his life.
5. The Rain People (1969)
Cast- James Caan, Shirley Knight, Marya Zimmet
Natalie Ravenna, a Long Island housewife, panics and rushes out of the house to see if she can untangle her grocery list of obligations that sum up to a life with a husband she adores. She lies immobile on the bed in a motel room where she stops to rest during the day, feeling both the excitement of complete independence and the unpleasant thoughts of fresh beginnings. Natalie continues on her travels and picks up Killer, an attractive brain-damaged football player, as a young hitch-hiker. A more unsettling question than that of domestic obligation is addressed to Natalie by Killer.
6. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Cast- Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey
Peggy Sue was one of the most popular girls in high school, and she loved spending time with her friends and boyfriend, Charlie. It was a standard high school fantasy until she married Charlie and had a child. However, when Charlie cheats on her with another woman, her life takes a catastrophic turn, leaving her depressed and facing divorce. Peggy Sue passes out at her high school reunion and returns to her senior year. Despite her perplexity about what has occurred and how to return to her own time, Peggy knows that she has the opportunity to restart her life and prevent her sadness and marriage to Charlie.
7. Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Cast- Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau
It is told a semi-fictionalized narrative of engineer Preston Tucker’s effort to build his revolutionary future automobile. In this example, the present is WWII, and his desire is to meet what he sees as the unmet want of the American consumer in the postwar era. Many of the flaws he finds in what the Big Three vehicle manufacturers are producing are addressed in his design. He employs Abe Karatz to help with the funding and administrative arrangements, despite the fact that, unlike Tucker’s close group, Abe admits that he is doing this job for the money.
While Abe finally gets into the concept, they realise that much of the public does as well, thanks to Tucker’s public relations role in raising funds. They will, however, realise that there are others within the company who only see financial signs in doing things the way the Big Three have always done them. But the opposition from the Big Three, who see Tucker as a serious threat to their way of life and have some powerful people in their back pockets, may be the most significant hurdle to Tucker and his group’s success.
8. One From The Heart (1981)
Cast- Teri Garr, Frederic Forrest, Natassja Kinski
One From the Heart is a bold, expansive musical with passion dripping from every frame. The film looks and sounds wonderful, thanks to famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s lensing and Tom Waits’ bluesy score, as it explores Hank (Frederic Forrest) and Frannie’s tumultuous relationship (Teri Garr). After five years of trying to live together, Hank and Frannie meet the person of their dreams, but they must rethink where their true love rests.
9. Rumble Fish (1983)
Cast- Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane
Cornered Rusty James, a juvenile hoodlum living for the moment, is inspired by faded recollections of a history he never knew, while living with the ashen ghost of Motorcycle Boy—his missing brother and a criminal prince in self-exile. Indeed, Rusty James seemed doomed to spend the rest of his life in the shadow of his brother, attempting to carve out an identity amidst savage brawls, weak allegiances, and equally worthless friendships. The renowned prince of the vicious Packers gang then reappears, and Rusty is overjoyed. Rusty’s golden opportunity to prove his worth has finally arrived, and no one can stop him from achieving his fate. However, life is brutal to both saints and sinners.