The Godfather: Francis Ford Coppola’s cult film celebrates its fiftieth anniversary

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the film saga of Godfatherdirector Francis Ford Coppola, who recently received his star on the famous Hollywood Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, slipped in some confidences about this essential film which could never have seen the light of day.

While The Godfather (1972) today celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of its release with a new edition of the three films remastered in 4K supervised by Francis Ford Coppola in person, the director ofApocalypse Now (1979) and secret talk (1974) – who both received the Palme d’or – returned to the genesis of his masterpiece and notably confessed that he was on the verge of refusing the project. ” I was very disappointed when I started to read it… it was really a book that Mario Puzo had written to raise money for his children (…) When they asked me to do it – mainly because that everyone else had refused – I also refused “Coppola said during a screening of the film in the brand new museum of the Academy of Oscars. What will finally push the filmmaker, barely thirty at the time, to accept the proposal and make this film about the Corleone family which will win the Oscar for best picture and become one of the biggest hits? films of all time?

It’s a certain george lucaswhich will create a few years later the saga Star Warswho would eventually convince Coppola to take the job in order to save their joint production company, American Zoetrope, founded in 1969.” I thought it was going to be a particular failure. When you’re making a film against the grain of what’s going on at the time, that kind of film is difficult. You’re not doing what everyone expects or wants you to do said Coppola on his introduction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The production of Godfather was indeed quite stormy – starting with the casting of the film about which the two parties were constantly at odds, especially over the choice of the young Al Pacino for the role of Michael Corleone, still relatively unknown at the time – and the director was nearly fired several times by Paramount. On the set, the tension was at its peak; Coppola will also come to blows with his chief operator Gordon Willis.

Francis Ford Coppola, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino on the set of Godfather, 1972 ©MPTV Archive

At the time of its release, The Godfather will nevertheless become the highest-grossing film of all time and exceeds Gone with the wind (1939) at the box office. Despite the success of the film, Francis Ford will constantly have to fight with Hollywood studios to finance his future feature films, starting with Apocalypse Now, that no major was willing to finance. Coppola will have to invest part of his own fortune amassed through the success of the Godfather to realize Apocalypse Now, whose production was chaotic from start to finish, as well as Falling for something (1982), a bitter failure that will cripple him with debts. ” The Godfather has destroyed me,” Coppola recently confessed in an interview for GQ Magazineconfirming in passing the start of construction of Megalopolis, heart project of the director who returns for the first time behind the camera in more than ten years…

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The Godfather: Francis Ford Coppola’s cult film celebrates its fiftieth anniversary