American film director, born 1939. After learning his craft at UCLA and making numerous short films, including the screenplay for "Patton", Coppola made his name in the 1970s as the director of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, which both won the "Best Picture" Academy Award, the latter being the first (only?) sequel to do so. Following their success he set about filming an ambitious version of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, set during the Vietnam war. The film (Apocalypse Now) was beset by numerous problems, including typhoons, drug abuse, and nervous breakdowns, and delayed so often it was nicknamed Apocalypse Whenever. The film was equally lauded and hated by critics when it finally appeared, and the cost nearly bankrupted Coppola's nascent studio Zoetrope. After a lengthy layoff Coppola returned to directing, with some commercial and critical success. The Godfather Part III, third installment in that saga, appeared in 1990.