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Why is Coppola Regarded So Highly?

Yes, he made four great films in the seventies, some of the greatest ever made. Apocalypse Now alone is worth the praise, but TSPDT ranks him in the Top 10 directors. I mean, after Apocalypse Now, he never really quite regained that lofty height. And some of his films are just awful (Jack, anyone?). Which begs the question, how should we rank filmmakers? Should we rank them on the strength of their masterpieces alone? Their output? Or their entire filmography as a whole? Coppola made great films, but looking at his entire output, I wouldn’t say he’s one of the greatest.

Brad S.

about 2 years ago

You answered your own question. He made those four great films and those have more than stood the test of time. That’s four more great films than a lot of directors can claim. Making crap like Jack doesn’t erase those earlier accomplishments.

tomas.roges

about 2 years ago

I’m not a huge fan of him myself. To me he’s only made two great films: Rain People and Rumble Fish.

Miasma

about 2 years ago

Coppola is regarded highly?

Varun Anisett​y

about 2 years ago

Peggy Sue Got Married,Rumble Fish ,The Cotton Club are all very much underrated.
Brad S is right.Those four films alone makes him one of the greatest.

Santino

about 2 years ago

Most “great” directors don’t even make two masterpieces, let alone four.

Jack Lineman

about 2 years ago

I know someone is probably going disagree with me on this but I think “Youth without Youth” should replace “Apocalypse Now” when where talking about Coppola’s four great films.

Matt Parks

about 2 years ago

Even The Godfather III shows up in in the TSPDT Top #1000.

Ari

about 2 years ago

^ Yikes!

He does make a mean marinara.

Bobby Wise

about 2 years ago

As Orson Welles said, “You only need one!”

Santino

about 2 years ago

“Even The Godfather III shows up in in the TSPDT Top #1000.”

Well it is an Oscar nominee.

Ari

about 2 years ago

^ SO is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close….. Oh wait, Santino likes that film!

Santino

about 2 years ago

I expect Extremely Loud to be included in TSPDT shortly.

Roscoe

about 2 years ago

TSPDT — fooey. If you can’t think of 1000 better films than RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, you should stop at 999.

Ari

about 2 years ago

Yes, but we can at least acknowledge that Raiders is a cultural touchstone of sorts. Godfather III is just….. actually, I guess I should re-see it before passing judgment again…. it’s been a long while. Anyway, The Conversation is one of the great American films from the 1970s so I have no problem with Coppola being ranked highly even if he’s made mostly crap.

Santino

about 2 years ago

Godfather 3 is not the worst movie ever. It just sucks compared to the other two.

Roscoe

about 2 years ago

Or in the case of GODFATHER III, make it 998.

Is RAIDERS really a cultural touchstone? I’d put it in the “Enjoyed it in high school, now can’t bear it” file.

My two cents on the OP — all great filmmakers blow it on occasion. Coppola’s got JACK and the unspeakable LIFE WITHOUT ZOE, Scorsese’s got COLOR OF MONEY and the unspeakable SHUTTER ISLAND, Kurosawa’s got DODESKADEN, DREAMS and the unspeakable QUIET DUEL. Doesn’t detract from the brilliance of GODFATHER I/II, RAGING BULL, or SEVEN SAMURAI.

Matt Parks

about 2 years ago

You could do worse, a lot worse (and, in fact Coppola has), but it’s not one of the 1000 greatest films of all time. I imagine it gets some halo effect from it’s association with parts I and II.

Ari

about 2 years ago

That reminds me I have Youth Without Youth sitting on my shelf for months without having seen it. I guess I should give it a spin. Is it better than Tetro?

Santino

about 2 years ago

I thought Youth Without Youth was worse than Tetro.

But I liked Tetro, so there you go.

Santino

about 2 years ago

I believe Raiders was one of the films Tarr mentioned as inspiration for Werckmeister Harmonies.

tomas.roges

about 2 years ago

Unspeakable Quiet Duel? Yeah right.

Brad S.

about 2 years ago

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the greatest movie of it’s type. Why is that getting ripped on in a Coppola thread?

Matt Parks

about 2 years ago

How do you feel about Eliade, Ari?

Ari

about 2 years ago

The Romanian philosopher of religion, Matt?

Matt Parks

about 2 years ago

Yup . . . wrote the book Youth Without Youth is based on. If you don’t have much patience with that kind of thinking, you probably won’t like the film.

Ari

about 2 years ago

Huh, interesting. I had no idea it was based on his book. Or even that he wrote novels…. Uh, I’m mixed on him. I imagine it’s very archetypal then?

Loverof​LeCinem​a

about 2 years ago

When you make four movies as excellent as those you are one of the greatest by no question. I can see your arguement, though.

Matt Parks

about 2 years ago

Yeah. Apparently he wrote quite a lot of fiction, but are far as I know only a handful of his fiction has been translated into English.

Chavdar

about 2 years ago

Back to the question.

I think it is because, especially with The Godfather I and II he achieved one of the marks of great films – they are very coherent. Then he confirmed his position with The Conversation and Apocalypse Now, which were thematically different, still solid (out of all his films I still prefer The Conversation the most).

The other thing is – he was able to create emblematic American movies, featuring (and creating) some of the greatest American actors – the change of generations of actors like Brando vs. Pacino / De Niro reflected the generations change in The Godfather story.

Personally, I have problems calling Coppola great. He misses some other marks of a genius – like telling something new – the psychological depth of Bergman, the coding of Kubrick, the vision of Tarkovsky. But on the narrative side, he is of the best.