"They didn't like the cast. They didn't like the way I was shooting it. I was always on the verge of getting fired."
Executives at Paramount had so little faith in the 32 year-old filmmaker they had hired to direct The Godfather, they actually hired another director to follow Francis Ford Coppola around the set, just to remind him he could be replaced at any moment. Despite studio interference, Coppola trusted his instincts, and The Godfather became a massive success with both critics and public. Along with its even more acclaimed sequel, it is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and appears on every list of the best films ever made.
Francis Ford Coppola has continued to trust his instincts, winning multiple Academy Awards for The Godfather II, and directing such legendary films as The Conversation and Apocalypse Now. He has made and lost several fortunes over the course of a life as dramatic as his own films. Today, he is more productive than ever and, both by his personal example and his generous sponsorship of young filmmakers, has left an indelible mark on the history of motion pictures.