III. Francis Ford Coppola and His Films

III. Francis Ford Coppola and His Films

Cinema seems to be one of the richest sources of material for representing the power of the heliohoroscope aspects; through the creation of a movie, people gather and engage in both professional and creative relationships. My research shows that most aspects can be found in composite charts of directors and leading actors. To illustrate this, I’m presenting one of the most well-known and acclaimed directors: Francis Ford Coppola.

As previously mentioned, Coppola is a film director, as well as a producer and screenwriter, born in Michigan, U.S.A. in 1939. He is reputable as an essential figure in the New Hollywood wave of filmmaking.

Coppola directed The Rain People in 1969, before going on to co-write The Patton with Edmund H. North in 1970, both subsequently receiving an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. His talent as a director became especially prominent upon the release of The Godfather in 1972; the film would come to revolutionise movie-making in the gangster genre, and it raked in positive reviews from critics and casual viewers alike, eventually winning three Academy Awards. These included Coppola’s second Oscar (awarded to him and Mario Puzo for Best Adapted Screenplay), Best Picture, and Best Director.

1974 saw the release of The Godfather Part II, the first Academy Award-winning sequel ever (Best Picture.) Being yet another hit of his, this sequel would earn Coppola three more Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. This also meant that he became the second director to be awarded for the same film three times, Billy Wilder being the only previous such case. Also in 1974, Coppola directed, produced and wrote the film The Conversation, which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Next came another well-acclaimed work of his: Apocalypse Now, in 1979. The movie became known for its long, laborious production, but was loved for its striking portrayal of the Vietnam War. It would follow its predecessor’s footprints, also receiving the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Only eight filmmakers have ever won the Palme d’Or, Coppola being one of them.

Several of his works in the -80’s and -90’s would receive high praise as well, but none of Coppola’s later works could compete with those of his in the 1970’s when it comes to commercial success. Some famous works of his from the early 1980’s include Rumble Fish and The Outsiders from 1983, The Cotton Club from 1984, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992. While they were all critically acclaimed, they tend to rest in the shadows of The Godfather Part I and II and Apocalypse Now, which are commonly considered some of the great movies of all time.

Early life

Coppola was born into a family of immigrant ancestry, after his maternal grandfather—Francesco Pennino, a popular composer in Italy—moved from Naples, Italy to the United States, and his paternal grandparents immigrated from Bernalda, Basilicata. He himself was born in Detroit, Michigan, on April 7, 1939. His parents were the flutist in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Carmine Coppola (1910-1991) and the chef and actress Italia Coppola (née Pennino; 1912-2004.) He was the middle child, with one older brother—August—and one younger sister—Talia.

Coppola’s middle name Ford derives from the famous Henry Ford. This was partially due to him being born at the Henry Ford Hospital and partially due to his father’s association with Ford; Francesco Coppola was, at the time of his second son’s birth, an arranger and assistant orchestra director for the Ford Sunday Evening Hour, which was a concert music radio series under the car-manufacturing Ford Motor Company. When Coppola was two years old, his father became the principal flutist in the NBC Symphony Orchestra, after which the family decided to move to Queens, New York, where they would stay for the rest of Coppola’s childhood.

Throughout his childhood, Coppola was confined to his bed for long periods of time due to polio. He would use this as a chance to practice homemade puppet theatre productions, and at 15 years of age, he read A Streetcar Named Desire, further developing an interest in theatre. He dreamed of joining the film industry, editing home movies into 8mm features and titling them The Rich Millionaire, The Lost Wallet, among others.

While his achievements as a student were mediocre, Coppola was nicknamed “Science” by his fellow classmates, due to his immense interest in technology and engineering. He was also good with the tuba, even going so far as to win a music scholarship to the New York Military Academy for his talent. He graduated from the Great Neck North High School after attending a whole of 23 different schools and went on to attend the Hofstra College in 1955, majoring in theatre arts. Finally, his interest in the movies was rewarded, as he received yet another scholarship, this time for his playwriting. His father was anything but pleased with his son’s artistic orientation, wanting him to study engineering instead, but the scholarship had driven Coppola to want to pursue a career in the film industry even more.

Coppola’s final push into the industry in which he would become so well-known was October: Ten Days That Shook the World by Sergei Eisenstein, the editing of which impressed him so much that he decided to go into cinema instead of theatre. He has stated that even before this, he was influenced by his brother, August, to become a writer. This showed in how Coppola attended both of August’s alma maters, namely, Hofstra and UCLA. Coppola has also claimed that the work of Elia Kazan inspired him as a director.

At Hofstra, Coppola met classmates Lainie Kazan and James Caan, and radio artist Joe Frank. Later, as Coppola directed One from the Heart, he cast Lainie Kazan, as well as Caan in The Rain People and The Godfather.

Coppola’s artistic feats throughout his higher education were many: he was elected president of the drama group The Green Wig and the musical comedy club The Kaledioscopians while attending the UCLA and decided to unite the two into what he called The Spectrum Players. The new drama and musical comedy club would produce weekly productions under his leadership. He also founded a cinema workshop at Hofstra and made great contributions to the literary magazine on campus. Consequently, Coppola was awarded three D.H. Lawrence Awards for theatrical production and direction and received a Beckerman Award for his input to the theatre arts division of the school. He was also greatly encouraged by his teacher Dorothy Arzner, which he himself has acknowledged as a vital influence on his career as a movie director.

The transit heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola on the day of his wedding
1. The transit heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola on the day of his wedding: an Earth reunion, a Mars—Jupiter solar line, and a Venus—Venus—Mars line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter, Sofia Coppola
2. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter, Sofia Coppola: an Earth union, a Mercury—Jupiter solar line, and an Earth—Mercury—Venus line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and his nephew, Christopher Coppola
3. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and his nephew, Christopher Coppola: an Earth union and an alignment of four lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Ford Motor Company
4. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Ford Motor Company: a Venus union, a Mars—Jupiter solar line, and a Mercury—Venus—Mars line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Dorothy Arzner
5. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Dorothy Arzner: a Mars union.

Coppola’s first film: Dementia 13

In 1963, Coppola directed Dementia 13 (known as The Haunted and the Hunted in the UK) together with producer Roger Corman, which starred William Campbell, Patrick Magee, and Luana Anders. The film was a horror-thriller released by American International Pictures on September 25, 1963, and while it wasn’t Coppola’s first work, it is considered his first legitimate directorial feat.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Roger Corman
6. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Roger Corman: an alignment of five lines, three of which are solar.
The transit heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola on the day of his first film premiere
7. The transit heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola on the day of his first film premiere: three lines.

The Godfather

Coppola directed The Godfather in 1972—an American crime film based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo. It was produced by Albert S. Ruddy and starred Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in a story that takes place throughout the years 1945 to 1955, set in New York and revolving around the crime family Corleone; specifically, the transformation of Pacino’s character Michael Corleone, as he grows from a family outsider to a merciless mafia boss.

Paramount Pictures bought the rights to the novel before it had gained much popularity, the price landing at $80,000. Finding a director for the film became a problem, however, as the first few offered the part said no, and they clashed with Coppola over the casting. Despite this, Coppola ended up as the director, and the filming was an overall smooth ordeal, done on location and finishing earlier than expected. The soundtrack to the movie was composed by Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola.

The Godfather was, for some time, the highest grossing movie ever made, which is a title it has since then lost while keeping that of the highest grossing movie of 1972. It won several Oscars, including Best Actor for Brando, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay for Puzo and Coppola, Best Director for Coppola and six others. It received two sequels in total and even today it is often seen as one of the best films in world cinema and one of the most influential works in the gangster genre. In 1990, the Library of Congress chose it for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry, calling it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It was also ranked the second greatest movie in American cinema by the American Film Institute.

Robert Evans, the producer of Paramount Studio, demanded an Italian director, believing that it would make the movie more authentic, pointing to the fiasco that was their previous film in the mafia genre, The Brotherhood, for proof that this was a key element in succeeding with a movie of this sort. The team behind The Brotherhood was entirely void of Italians, and Evans didn’t want to see a similar mistake be made again. Originally, he wanted Sergio Leone to direct, but Leone turned the offer down, busy with another project. Peter Bogdanovich gave a no as well, as he lacked interest in the mafia. Five other directors were asked after this, but they all declined and, eventually, Coppola was suggested by Peter Bart, Evans’ chief assistant. He reasoned that not only was Coppola of Italian descent but also, since his last movie—The Rain People—had flopped, he could be hired for a rather low sum. Coppola turned the offer down, however, calling Puzo’s novel “pretty cheap stuff,” before his financial issues and the encouragements from his friends and family caused him to accept the offer. It was agreed that he would receive $125,000 and 6% of the gross rentals.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Marlon Brando
8. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Marlon Brando: an alignment of three lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino
9. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino: an Earth union and a Mars—Mercury—Mars line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and James Caan
10. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and James Caan: a Mercury union.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Richard Castellano
11. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Richard Castellano: a Mercury union and an Earth—Mercury solar line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Duvall
12. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Duvall: an Earth union, a Mercury union, and a Mars—Venus—Mercury—Mercury line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Sterling Hayden
13. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Sterling Hayden: a Mercury union and two lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Nino Rota
14. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Nino Rota: an Earth—Earth—Mars line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Evans
15. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Evans: an Earth—Earth solar line and a Venus union.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Nino Rota and Gordon Willis
16. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Nino Rota and Gordon Willis: an exact union of Jupiter, an exact union of Venus, and an alignment of three lines, including two solar lines.

The Conversation

In 1974, Coppola wrote, produced and directed the American psychological mystery thriller The Conversation, starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford, Teri Garr and Robert Duvall.

The film centres around the moral dilemma faced by a surveillance expert when he finds potential proof of a murder in his recordings. Coppola has stated that the film Blowup from 1996 was a big inspiration in the making of The Conversation. As it was released only a few months prior to Richard Nixon’s resignation, he worried that the film might be interpreted as connected to the Watergate scandal, which was not the case.

This would be yet another one of Coppola’s movies to win the Palme d’Or, in 1974. It received three Academy Award nominations as well, during the same year, losing the award for Best Picture to another one of Coppola’s works: The Godfather Part II. Like The Godfather, this movie would also be preserved in the National Film Registry.

A piano score composed and performed by David Lee Shire appears in The Conversation, created before the movie was even shot. Shire would use musique concrete techniques on certain cues, where he’d use taped sounds of the piano and distort them, effectively creating alternative tonalities to round out the score.

Shire was born on July 3, 1937, and is known for composing many scores for stage musicals, films, and TV series. His career as a composer for various television shows began in the 1960’s and he began making scores for feature films in the 1970’s. Back then, he was married to Talia Shire, actress and sister of Francis Ford Coppola. The score that Shire wrote for Coppola’s The Conversation is possibly his most famous one ever.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and John Cazale
17. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and John Cazale: a Mercury union and four lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Allen Garfield
18. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Allen Garfield: an exact Venus union and an Earth—Mercury solar line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for David Shire and his wife, Talia Coppola
19. The composite heliohoroscope chart for David Shire and his wife, Talia Coppola: an exact Venus union and an Earth—Earth solar line.

The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II was produced and directed by Coppola in 1974, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Like the previous part of the trilogy, it is based on Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather from 1969. Part II acts both as a prequel and a sequel, being produced chronologically after The Godfather but revolving around the back story of Vito Corleone (De Niro) from the first film, thus, plot-wise, preceding The Godfather.

The Godfather Part II received a mix of feedback, with critics complimenting its cinematography but criticising the narrative, which many found to be disorganised. Despite the mixed reviews, it received eleven Academy Award nominations and was, as previously mentioned, the first movie sequel ever to win for Best Picture. Among the six Oscars awarded to The Godfather Part II were Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (De Niro) and Best Adapted Screenplay. The BAFTA Award for Best Actor and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor were also granted to Pacino for his role in this film.

Both first two parts of the Godfather trilogy remain highly acclaimed and influential in the cinematic gangster genre. The American Film Institute ranked Part II as the 32nd greatest film in American history in 1997, a position it has kept ever since. Some people even consider it greater than its sequel from 1972. This film, too, was preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, in 1993.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Robert De Niro
20. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Robert De Niro: an alignment of two lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Lee Strasberg
21. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Lee Strasberg: a Mercury union and an alignment of three lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Vittorio Storaro
22. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Vittorio Storaro: a Mercury union.

Apocalypse Now

In 1979, Coppola directed, produced and co-wrote Apocalypse Now together with John Milius. The film was narrated by Michael Herr and starred Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Sam Bottoms, Larry Fishburne, and Dennis Hopper. The plot is about Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Sheen) who is out to assassinate the presumably crazy renegade Colonel Kurtz, and takes place during the Vietnam War, drawing inspiration from the novella Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

Multiple troubles arose for the production team during the making of Apocalypse Now, for which the movie is partially famous. This even sparked the making of a documentary in 1991, called Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. The problems encountered included Brando arriving completely unprepared on set and physically unfit for the role, sets being ruined by harsh weather, the lead actor having a breakdown and a heart attack while on location, as well as several more which spanned throughout the whole making of the film and post-production editing, causing the release to be postponed.

However, upon release, Apocalypse Now was a universal hit; it received the Palme d’Or, a nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and Best Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globe Awards. It also became widely considered one of the greatest movies ever made and was ranked #14 in the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound greatest films poll, in 2012. It was preserved by the National Film Registry in 2000.

At one point during the making of the movie, Coppola allegedly told co-writer Milius to “write every scene [he] ever wanted to go into that movie,” which resulted in Milius writing over one thousand pages of material. Milius was also responsible for the title of the film, having been inspired by a button badge commonly worn by 1960’s hippies that read “Nirvana Now.” As for the movie itself, Milius was largely inspired by an article written by Michael Herr, named “The Battle for Khe Sanh,” and films like Dr Strangelove.

Michael Herr got a call in 1978 from Zoetrope, asking him to contribute to the narration of the film, based on his book Dispatches, which was also about Vietnam. His response upon seeing the already written narration was to call it “totally useless,” after which he got together with Coppola to write various new narrations. They spent one year doing so, and Herr is said to have given Coppola “very definite guidelines” regarding the narration of the film.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Herr
23. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Michael Herr: an Earth union and two lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Laurence Fishburne
24. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Laurence Fishburne: an alignment of three lines, including a Venus—Venus solar line.

The Cotton Club

In 1984, Coppola directed and co-wrote The Cotton Club together with William Kennedy. The movie was a crime-drama, revolving around a Harlem jazz club in the 1930’s, and was choreographed by Henry LeTang with the acting talents of Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Nicolas Cage, and others.

The Cotton Club didn’t do very well at the box office but was granted several award nominations, among them Best Director and Best Picture at the Golden Globes, Best Art Direction and Film Editing at the Oscars and, on a more bitter note, Worst Supporting Actress for Diane Lane at the Razzie Awards.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Diane Lane
25. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Diane Lane: an alignment of four lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Gregory Hines
26. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Gregory Hines: two lines.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Richard Gere
27. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Richard Gere: an Earth union and two lines.

The Godfather Part III

Part III of the famous Godfather trilogy was released in 1990, completing the story of the mafioso Michael Corleone. In this part, two real-life events are features, namely, the death of Pope John Paul I in 1978 and the Papal banking scandal in 1981-82. Both events were linked to Corleone’s business affairs.

The film includes actors such as Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire, Andy García, Eli Wallach, Joe Mantegna, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda and Sofia Coppola.

Initially, the movie was supposed to be named The Death of Michael Corleone, on the initiative of both Coppola and Puzo, but Paramount Pictures deemed the title unacceptable. While giving in to simply calling it The Godfather Part III, Coppola made a point of Part I and II being the main series, whilst Part III was merely an epilogue. The third and last part was met with a mixture of opinions, not doing quite as well as its two predecessors. Nevertheless, it was nominated for seven Academy Awards and grossed $136,766,062.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Coppola directed and produced Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992; a romantic horror film based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Actors include Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, and Keanu Reeves. The budget was $40 million and the movie grossed $215 million, praised by Rotten Tomatoes for having “some terrific performances.” However, Reeves’ performance was harshly criticised.

The film’s score was created by Wojciech Kilar, featuring Annie Lennox’ “Love Song for a Vampire” during the end credits: a song which would subsequently make an international breakthrough.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Gary Oldman
28. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Gary Oldman: a Mercury union and a Mercury—Mars solar line.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Winona Ryder
29. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Winona Ryder: a Mercury union.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Anthony Hopkins
30. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Anthony Hopkins: a Venus union.
The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Wojciech Kilar
31. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Wojciech Kilar: an alignment of three lines, including an Earth—Earth solar line.

Dispute with Carl Sagan

During the production of the movie Contact in 1996, Coppola filed a lawsuit against the recently deceased Carl Sagan and Warner Bros. Studios. According to Coppola, the novel released by Sagan, which was also titled Contact, was based on a story that the two of them had created together, intended for a television special in 1975. This story had been called First Contact, and the pair had agreed to share the proceeds made from this television special with American Zoetrope and Children’s Television Workshop Productions, but the TV show never made it to production. However, Simon & Schuster released Sagan’s novel Contact in 1985, after which Warner Bros. began developing a movie adaption. Coppola demanded a minimum of $250,000 in compensatory damages as well as a decree against the making of the film adaption. It was decided, however, that since Coppola had waited so long to file a lawsuit, the case would be dismissed.

The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Carl Sagan
32. The composite heliohoroscope chart for Francis Ford Coppola and Carl Sagan: a Venus union and two lines.

Analysis of the aspects

Out of a total of 32 charts in this collection, only one is a transit chart (for Coppola on the day of his first film premiere.) The rest 31 are all composite charts.

Planetary involvement in the aspects is as follows:

Out of 30 heliohoroscope charts of Francis Ford Coppola, there are 23 charts containing aspects with Mercury, 18 with Mars, 18 with Venus, 16 with Earth, and 2 with Jupiter.

As for unions, there are 9 for Mercury, 7 for Earth, 5 for Venus, and 1 for Mars.

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