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Ahead of Megalopolis, Let’s Revisit the 10 Best Francis Ford Coppola Films

Megalopolis and the Best Francis Ford Coppola films

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival is here, and it’s set to premiere some of the most highly anticipated titles of the year. This year, the festival will run from May 14 to 25, and on Thursday, May 16, Francis Ford Coppola will premiere his science fiction passion project, Megalopolis, in competition.

The official logline for Megalopolis is as follows: “Megalopolis is a Roman Epic fable set in an imagined Modern America. The city of New Rome must change, causing conflict between Cesar Catilina (Adam Driver), a genius artist who seeks to leap into a utopian, idealistic future, and his opposition, Mayor Franklyn Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito), who remains committed to a regressive status quo, perpetuating greed, special interests, and partisan warfare. Torn between them is socialite Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel), the mayor’s daughter, whose love for Cesar has divided her loyalties, forcing her to discover what she truly believes humanity deserves.” The film also stars Aubrey Plaza, Shia LaBeouf, James Remar, Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Fishburne, Jon Voight, and Jason Schwartzman.

The film is set to be one of the more notable premieres of of the festival, due in great part to the buzz around the film. The Godfather director began writing the script for Megalopolis back in 1983, and has self-funded the sci-fi epic, which reportedly cost USD$120 million to make.

Aside from being the latest film from the critically acclaimed auteur director, Megalopolis has been gaining buzz after it screened for industry executives and failed to secure a distributor. Word on the street seems to be that the film is “too experimental” for mass appeal, but for some, the early reactions have only fuelled the intrigue around the film.

Watch the Trailer for Megalopolis:

Whether or not Megalopolis will meet, exceed or fall short of expectations remains to be seen. What’s not up for debate, however, is that Coppola remains one of the most acclaimed and influential directors in the industry. As we wait to see what he has in store for us with Megalopolis, there’s no better time to revisit some of Francis Ford Coppola’s best films.

Related: Take a Peek! These 10 Films Received the Longest Standing Ovations at Cannes

The 10 Best Films by Francis Ford Coppola

Apocalypse Now

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola, with narration by Michael Herr. Based on the novel by Joseph Conrad (uncredited)
Starring: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall
Synopsis: A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.
Where to watch: Streaming on Stan

When people talk about the 1970s being one of the best decades for cinema, they’ll often reference Coppola’s films, and for good reason. Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece anchored by great performances, in spite of the film’s infamously difficult film shoot.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: James V. Hart, based on the novel by Bram Stoker
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins
Synopsis: The centuries old vampire Count Dracula comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker’s fiancée Mina Murray and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
Where to watch: Streaming on BINGE

With lush visuals that create an atmospheric mood, Coppola carves out a visionary Dracula film like no other. It’s over-the-top, yes. It’s a spectacle, yes. Sometimes, it’s even silly. Still, this is the kind of film to suck you in and captivate you from start to finish, and with plenty of fun along the way.

The Conversation

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield
Synopsis: A paranoid, secretive surveillance expert has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that the couple he is spying on will be murdered.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Gene Hackman is firing on all cylinders in this very tense, intricately executed thriller. The film explores the ever-timely themes of privacy and surveillance in modern society with great depth, making this one of Coppola’s most underrated masterpieces.

The Godfather

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan
Synopsis: The aging patriarch of an organised crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Nominated for 11 Oscars, and winner of three (including Best Picture), The Godfather is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, and for good reason. With its masterful storytelling, exceptional performances, and enduring impact on cinema and television, The Godfather has become one of the most influential films of all time, particularly in the crime sub-genre.

The Godfather Part II

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall
Synopsis: The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.
Where to watch: Streaming on Prime Video

Coppola did the unfathomable with The Godfather Part II — he created a sequel that equals (or surpasses, depending who you ask) its predecessor in quality, critical acclaim and audience reaction. Like the first film, The Godfather Part II was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, although Part II walked away with six wins, including Best Picture and Best Director for Coppola.

Peggy Sue Got Married

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner
Starring: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller
Synopsis: Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.
Where to watch: Streaming on SBS on Demand

Despite being met with mixed opinions upon release, Peggy Sue Got Married has found its audience over the years. With plenty of nostalgic charm and its earnest exploration of regret and second chances, as well as a great performance from Kathleen Turner, Peggy Sue Got Married has earned its status as a cult classic.

The Rainmaker

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, with narration by Michael Herr. Based on the novel by John Grisham
Starring: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Claire Danes
Synopsis: An underdog lawyer takes on a fraudulent insurance company.
Where to watch: Streaming on Stan

An engaging court room drama with great performances from its cast, The Rainmaker is a skilful and faithful adaptation of John Grisham’s novel. The film explores themes of justice, ethics, and the power dynamics within the legal system in a way that resonates emotionally with the viewer.

The Rain People

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: James Caan, Shirley Knight, Robert Duvall
Synopsis: When a housewife finds out she is pregnant, she runs out of town looking for freedom to reevaluate her life decisions.
Where to watch: Rent on Prime Video

An exploration of freedom and identity, The Rain People was initially met with a mixed response. Over the years, however, the film has been reevaluated, and is now considered one of the underrated gems of Coppola’s filmography. The film is the intimate portrayal of a woman’s journey of self-discovery, and in its reappraisal, fans have come to admire the  introspective storytelling nuanced character development that it offers.

Rumble Fish

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Screenplay by S.E. Hinton and Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by S.E Hinton
Starring: Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane
Synopsis: Absent-minded street thug Rusty James struggles to live up to his legendary older brother’s reputation, and longs for the days of gang warfare.
Where to watch: Rent on Prime Video

Another cult pick from Coppola’s filmography, Rumble Fish is a stylised adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel. With bold artistic choices and experimental visual style throughout, Coppola anchors the film with a poignant exploration of teenage angst, which gives Rumble Fish its emotional resonance.

Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Arnold Schulman and David Seidler
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau
Synopsis: The story of Preston Tucker, the maverick car designer and his ill-fated challenge to the auto industry with his revolutionary car concept.
Where to watch: Rent on Prime Video

Tucker: The Man and His Dream was applauded by critics for its uplifting narrative, stylish period design, and celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as its exploration of the American Dream. Although it initially struggled at the box office, the film has since gained recognition as a poignant and inspiring underdog story.

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