No Mount Rushmore of motion-picture luminaries would be complete without Francis Ford Coppola. A 14-time Oscar nominee, Coppola has taken home five golden statuettes over a career that has spanned almost 60 years, and has three films on American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Movies list – two “Godfather” films and “Apocalypse Now.” Even so, his has not been an unimpeded journey to motion-picture immortality. (See who won the Oscar for Best Director every year since the Oscars began.)
To determine the best – and worst – Francis Ford Coppola movies, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of July 2022, weighting all ratings equally. Only the 22 feature-length films directed by Coppola were included for consideration.
We know Coppola as one of Hollywood’s great directors, but he also distinguished himself early in his career as a producer (“American Graffiti”) and as a screenwriter (“Is Paris Burning?” “This Property is Condemned”). In 1971, he won his first Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for “Patton” with Edmund H. North. (Interestingly, it’s Coppola’s screenwriting, not his directing, that makes him one of the biggest Oscar winners of all time.)
Coppola began to take his place among the new generation of Hollywood filmmakers – including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese – when he wrote and directed “The Godfather,” ranked third on the American Film Institute’s greatest movies list. “The Godfather, Part II,” also on the AFI list, has been called the best sequel in movie history.
In the 1970s, Coppola was involved as a writer, director or producer with seven motion pictures that received at least a 90% Freshness score on movie aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. His golden touch eluded him in the 1980s, however, when he directed such box-office failures as “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” and “Gardens of Stone.” The third Godfather movie in 1990 was not well-received by critics, either, and audiences were disappointed. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992) helped the director pay off his debts from projects that failed to pan out.
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