Godfather icon Francis Ford Coppola calls himself a ‘second-rate director’ | Culture & Leisure
Francis Ford Coppola considers himself “just a second-rate director”.
The 82-year-old filmmaker reflected on the legacy of ‘The Godfather’ – which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – and suggested the classic film has elevated it in the public eye.
Speaking candidly to Empire magazine, he said: “I’ve heard ‘The Godfather’ cited as one of the greatest films ever made.
“When you compare the great artists of cinema, like GW Pabst and Fritz Lang, and the great Murnau, Hitchcock, and then the great Italian and Japanese directors – when you really look at the heroes of cinema, I have to say that I should be considered a second-rate director.
“But I’m a first-rate, second-rate director.”
Coppola explained that “The Godfather” changed his life and turned him into a celebrity, as he was eventually seen as equal to his peers.
He added: “In my heart, all I really wanted was to be considered part of the band, which I am now because when they talk about all the great directors of the 70s, they say George Lucas and Francis Coppola and Marty Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and Brain De Palma and Paul Schrader.
“So I have what I want – I’m part of the group.”
While his stance on the film has “softened” over the years, he noted at the time that it was “a nightmare” as he constantly felt like he had no power and risked to be fired.
He said: “It was the worst experience. ‘Apocalypse Now’ was quite a difficult experience for other kinds of reasons, but generally those movies, which I’m so famous for, were nightmares to work on.
“The simple fact that I was young and tenacious and didn’t give up is the reason they ended.
“I mean, when you think about all the problems we’ve had…so 50 years later, it’s good to say, OK, ‘The Godfather’ was a wonderful hit – but it was an experience horrible. It was terrible. It was a nightmare.”