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114 Notable Francis Ford Coppola Quotes That Reflect His Creative Side

Famous As: One of the Best and Most Infulential Filmmakers of the 20th-Century
Born On: April 7, 1939
Born In: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Founder / Co Founder: Zoetrope: All-Story magazine

Francis Ford Coppola is an American filmmaker, screenwriter, and businessman, but many few know that he was also a musician and an expert in tuba. His mastery in tuba earned him a music scholarship in New York Military Academy. Coppola started his professional career while he was at the UCLA Film School and even directed a comedy and horror short movie, ‘Tonight For Sure’. Coppola then worked with Roger Croman for a few years and later in 1963 he wrote and ‘Dementia 13’, which became a hit. Seeing his work and experimentation with movies, he was hired by the Seven Arts as a scriptwriter. However, his big break was the movie ‘The Rain People’ that was directed, written and even co-produced by Coppola. He earned his first Academy Award for the movie ‘Patton’ in the year 1970. ‘Godfather’, one of the biggest movies in the history of cinema, earned him his first Oscar award and two Golden Globes. ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘The Godfather II’, and ‘The Great Gatsby’ are some of his best movies. Coppola is known for directing and scripting some of the best movies in Hollywood. Coppola’s thoughts on movie making, business, and life are very inspirational. We have gathered some of his quotes and thoughts from his movies, interviews and life.

We teach our boys to firebomb villages, but we won't let them write fuck on the side of their planes because it's obscene.

We teach our boys to firebomb villages, but we won't let them write fuck on the side of their planes because it's obscene.

Francis Ford Coppola

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
Anyone who's made film and knows about the cinema has a lifelong love affair with the experience. You never stop learning about film.

Anyone who's made film and knows about the cinema has a lifelong love affair with the experience. You never stop learning about film.

Francis Ford Coppola
Everything I do is personal. I have never made a movie that didn't have very strong personal resonance.

Everything I do is personal. I have never made a movie that didn't have very strong personal resonance.

Francis Ford Coppola
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
I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can't steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that's how you will find your voice.

We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can't steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that's how you will find your voice.

Francis Ford Coppola
Art depends on luck and talent.

Art depends on luck and talent.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.'

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.'

Francis Ford Coppola
I don't see any method at all...Sir

I don't see any method at all...Sir

Francis Ford Coppola
Some critics are stimulating in that they make you realise how you could do better, and those are valued.

Some critics are stimulating in that they make you realise how you could do better, and those are valued.

Francis Ford Coppola
I know that if a film is ready to emerge out of what I write, I'll be able to go off and make it without asking anyone's permission.

I know that if a film is ready to emerge out of what I write, I'll be able to go off and make it without asking anyone's permission.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
The time a movie is made is unique, not only from the talent that is available but if the public was ready for it.

The time a movie is made is unique, not only from the talent that is available but if the public was ready for it.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.'

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.'

Francis Ford Coppola
I was a pretty shy, lonely kid. I blossomed about age 17, when I went to college.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
I've been offered lots of movies. There's always some actor who's doing a project and would like to have me do it.

I've been offered lots of movies. There's always some actor who's doing a project and would like to have me do it.

Francis Ford Coppola
If I have to be remembered for something, I want it remembered that I really liked children and was a good camp counselor.

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

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

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

Francis Ford Coppola
Movie-wise, there is nothing I wouldn't do again. It's not possible to make one perfect movie every time.

Movie-wise, there is nothing I wouldn't do again. It's not possible to make one perfect movie every time.

Francis Ford Coppola
I was raised as a Catholic, but I didn't like the Catholic Church at all. I thought the nuns were mean.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
I was terrible at maths, but I could grasp science, and I used to love to read about the lives of the scientists. I wanted to be a scientist or an inventor.

I was terrible at maths, but I could grasp science, and I used to love to read about the lives of the scientists. I wanted to be a scientist or an inventor.

Francis Ford Coppola
It is a little disappointing to see that your legs are not as strong. But I like the idea of growing old, and the thought of approaching death is not particularly daunting to me.

It is a little disappointing to see that your legs are not as strong. But I like the idea of growing old, and the thought of approaching death is not particularly daunting to me.

Francis Ford Coppola
We support each other in the Coppola family. We love the idea of everyone getting his place in the sun.

We support each other in the Coppola family. We love the idea of everyone getting his place in the sun.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
Being a former theater student, of course, there is a part of me that is fascinated with stage crafts and what you can do with illusions and working within the confines of the studio.

Being a former theater student, of course, there is a part of me that is fascinated with stage crafts and what you can do with illusions and working within the confines of the studio.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
'Godfather' was very classical - the way it was shot, the style - the whole driving force of it was more classical, almost Shakespearean.

'Godfather' was very classical - the way it was shot, the style - the whole driving force of it was more classical, almost Shakespearean.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
That's part of the requirement for me to be an artist is that you're trying to share your personal existence with others and trying to illuminate modern life, trying to understand life.

That's part of the requirement for me to be an artist is that you're trying to share your personal existence with others and trying to illuminate modern life, trying to understand life.

Francis Ford Coppola
My big goal in life was always to figure out how I can make a lot of money so I can go off and make films irrespective of the opinion of the three or four critics who seem to rule the roost.

My big goal in life was always to figure out how I can make a lot of money so I can go off and make films irrespective of the opinion of the three or four critics who seem to rule the roost.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
I just admire people like Woody Allen, who every year writes an original screenplay. It's astonishing. I always wished that I could do that.

I just admire people like Woody Allen, who every year writes an original screenplay. It's astonishing. I always wished that I could do that.

Francis Ford Coppola
I have more of a vivid imagination than I have talent. I cook up ideas. It's just a characteristic.

I have more of a vivid imagination than I have talent. I cook up ideas. It's just a characteristic.

Francis Ford Coppola
'The Godfather' changed my life, for better or worse. It definitely made me have an older man's film career when I was 29.

'The Godfather' changed my life, for better or worse. It definitely made me have an older man's film career when I was 29.

Francis Ford Coppola
I probably have genius. But no talent.

I probably have genius. But no talent.

Francis Ford Coppola
I was never sloppy with other people's money. Only my own. Because I figure, well, you can be.

I was never sloppy with other people's money. Only my own. Because I figure, well, you can be.

Francis Ford Coppola
We do things for good reasons that are bad.

We do things for good reasons that are bad.

Francis Ford Coppola
Most filmmakers can't afford to try something out that doesn't work.

Most filmmakers can't afford to try something out that doesn't work.

Francis Ford Coppola
I'm no longer dependent on the movie business to make a living. So if I want to make movies as other old guys would play golf, I can.

I'm no longer dependent on the movie business to make a living. So if I want to make movies as other old guys would play golf, I can.

Francis Ford Coppola
It takes no imagination to live within your means.

It takes no imagination to live within your means.

Francis Ford Coppola
I used to love going into local hardware stores, to look at little things they made locally. Nowadays it's harder, though you can still do it in Vietnam.

I used to love going into local hardware stores, to look at little things they made locally. Nowadays it's harder, though you can still do it in Vietnam.

Francis Ford Coppola
The internet in hotels should be free - and I really resent it when they charge you five dollars for a bottle of water beside your bed.

The internet in hotels should be free - and I really resent it when they charge you five dollars for a bottle of water beside your bed.

Francis Ford Coppola
As long as I can make lots of money in other businesses, I'll continue to subsidize my own work.

As long as I can make lots of money in other businesses, I'll continue to subsidize my own work.

Francis Ford Coppola
I wanted to write and direct movies and not be forced to adapt them from a bestselling book.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
When newspapers started to publish the box office scores of movies, I was horrified. Those results are totally fake because they never include the promotion budget.

When newspapers started to publish the box office scores of movies, I was horrified. Those results are totally fake because they never include the promotion budget.

Francis Ford Coppola
I bring to my life a certain amount of mess.

I bring to my life a certain amount of mess.

Francis Ford Coppola
All of a sudden, there are great Japanese films, or great Italian films, or great Australian films. It's usually because there are a number of people that cross-pollinated each other.

All of a sudden, there are great Japanese films, or great Italian films, or great Australian films. It's usually because there are a number of people that cross-pollinated each other.

Francis Ford Coppola
Listen, if there's one sure-fire rule that I have learned in this business, it's that I don't know anything about human nature.

Listen, if there's one sure-fire rule that I have learned in this business, it's that I don't know anything about human nature.

Francis Ford Coppola
A number of images put together a certain way become something quite above and beyond what any of them are individually.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
George Lucas doesn't have the most physical stamina. He was so unhappy making Star Wars that he just vowed he'd never do it again.

George Lucas doesn't have the most physical stamina. He was so unhappy making Star Wars that he just vowed he'd never do it again.

Francis Ford Coppola
I always found the film world unpleasant. It's all about the schedule, and never really flew for me.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
I associate my motion picture career more with being unhappy and scared, or being under the gun, than with anything pleasant.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
I became quite successful very young, and it was mainly because I was so enthusiastic and I just worked so hard at it.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
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
I had a number of teachers who hated me. I didn't do well in school.

I had a number of teachers who hated me. I didn't do well in school.

Francis Ford Coppola
I had an older brother who was very interested in literature, so I had an early exposure to literature, and and theater. My father sometimes would work in musical comedies.

I had an older brother who was very interested in literature, so I had an early exposure to literature, and and theater. My father sometimes would work in musical comedies.

Francis Ford Coppola
I had been a kid that moved so much, I didn't have a lot of friends. Theater really represented camaraderie.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
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
I remember growing up with television, from the time it was just a test pattern, with maybe a little bit of programming once in a while.

I remember growing up with television, from the time it was just a test pattern, with maybe a little bit of programming once in a while.

Francis Ford Coppola
I remember teachers who really singled me out for their discouragement.

I remember teachers who really singled me out for their discouragement.

Francis Ford Coppola
I thought I wanted to be a playwright because I was interested in stories and telling stories.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
I was the kind of kid that had some talents or ability, but it never came out in school.

I was the kind of kid that had some talents or ability, but it never came out in school.

Francis Ford Coppola
It's ironic that at age 32, at probably the greatest moment of my career, with The Godfather having such an enormous success, I wasn't even aware of it, because I was somewhere else under the deadline again.

It's ironic that at age 32, at probably the greatest moment of my career, with The Godfather having such an enormous success, I wasn't even aware of it, because I was somewhere else under the deadline again.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
The stuff that I got in trouble for, the casting for The Godfather or the flag scene in Patton, was the stuff that was remembered, and was considered the good work.

The stuff that I got in trouble for, the casting for The Godfather or the flag scene in Patton, was the stuff that was remembered, and was considered the good work.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
You ought to love what you're doing because, especially in a movie, over time you really will start to hate it.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
You're in a profession in which absolutely everybody is telling you their opinion, which is different. That's one of the reasons George Lucas never directed again.

You're in a profession in which absolutely everybody is telling you their opinion, which is different. That's one of the reasons George Lucas never directed again.

Francis Ford Coppola
I think a sequel is a waste of money and time. I think movies should illuminate new stories.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
Films and hotels have many aspects that are the same. For example, there is always a big vision, an idea.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
Sequels are not done for the audience or cinema or the filmmakers. It's for the distributor. The film becomes a brand.

Sequels are not done for the audience or cinema or the filmmakers. It's for the distributor. The film becomes a brand.

Francis Ford Coppola
I had to get a job, and of course, the job was 'The Godfather.' That made me be something I didn't know I was going to be. I became a big-shot director.

I had to get a job, and of course, the job was 'The Godfather.' That made me be something I didn't know I was going to be. I became a big-shot director.

Francis Ford Coppola
Lots of people have criticized my movies, but nobody has ever identified the real problem: I'm a sloppy filmmaker.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
I realized I probably wouldn't make another film that cuts through commercial and creative things like 'Godfather' or 'Apocalypse.'

I realized I probably wouldn't make another film that cuts through commercial and creative things like 'Godfather' or 'Apocalypse.'

Francis Ford Coppola
I had a number of very strong personalities in my family. My father was a concert flutist, the solo flute for Toscanini.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
My film is not a movie; it's not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam.

My film is not a movie; it's not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam.

Francis Ford Coppola
Usually, the stuff that's your best idea or work is going to be attacked the most.

Usually, the stuff that's your best idea or work is going to be attacked the most.

Francis Ford Coppola
If you're a person who says yes most of the time, you'll find yourself in the hotel business and the restaurant business.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
Most Italians who came to this country are very patriotic. There was this exciting possibility that if you worked real hard, and you loved something, you could become successful.

Most Italians who came to this country are very patriotic. There was this exciting possibility that if you worked real hard, and you loved something, you could become successful.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
My company and people think I'm wacky when I have an idea... I know if I have an idea, no one will want to go through it. But if I persist, people will go through it.

My company and people think I'm wacky when I have an idea... I know if I have an idea, no one will want to go through it. But if I persist, people will go through it.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
I was always the black sheep of the family and always told that I was dumb, and I had a low IQ and did badly in school.

I was always the black sheep of the family and always told that I was dumb, and I had a low IQ and did badly in school.

Francis Ford Coppola
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!

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!

Francis Ford Coppola
I gladly, I voluntarily gave up the kind of commercial film career I had going as soon as I had enough money to finance my own films.

I gladly, I voluntarily gave up the kind of commercial film career I had going as soon as I had enough money to finance my own films.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
I like simplicity; I don't need luxury.

I like simplicity; I don't need luxury.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola
We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little, we went insane.

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

Francis Ford Coppola
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.

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.

Francis Ford Coppola