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Francis Ford Coppola was born on 07 April 1939 in Detroit, USA, in the Italian-American family, which moved to New York soon after his birth from where he had grown up. He acquired his second name Ford in honor of Henry Ford, the owner of the hospital (Henry Ford Hospital) where his mother gave birth to him. Francis Ford Coppola was the second child of Carmine and Italia Coppola. Carmine was a composer and a musician, while Italia was an actor. His siblings were August Coppola, his elder brother, and Talia Shire, his younger sister, who also became an actress just like her mother (Phillips).

When Coppola was ten years old, he went through the polio that left him paralyzed and bedridden for nine months. During this period, just like Martin Scorsese, he got a chance to practice the puppet theater and home movies. This sharpened his skills in theatre productions.

Since he was a child, he had always been interested in engineering and technology. He loved these two disciplines to the extent of his classmates nicknaming him ‘science’. However, he studied music as his major career and became so skillful playing the tuba that this made him win a musical scholarship at New York Military Academy, and soon after this event he went to the Great Neck North High School.

After his graduation, he joined Hofstra University in 1955 where he preferred   theater arts. Here, he won a play-writing scholarship that gave him a chance to improve his skills in theater directing; this was his major interest (Clarke). However, this was against his father’s will who wanted him to study engineering. Thereafter, he decided to specialize in cinema rather than theatre.

After receiving his first bachelor's degree from Hofstra, he joined Los Angeles’ based University of California. Here, he undertook a graduate work in filmmaking. He was a training assistant to a filmmaker Roger Corman. He worked as a soundman and, finally, as a director of Dementia13; this was all about an axe murderer. This happened to be his first film. In 1963, during shooting this film in Ireland, he met Eleanor Neil. They became lovers and later got married in the same year, in Las Vegas. At that time, Neil was a graduate at the UCLA art department. They got three kids while being married. Sofia, their daughter, followed the steps of his father in filming. Gian-Carlo, their 22-year-old son, died during a boat accident.

Four years since that time, he has involved himself into script writing, film production and direction. In 1969, together with George Lucas they formed the American Zoetrope, a company situated in San Francisco that dealt with the film production.

Some of Coppola’s films such as The Godfather made the history and brought to him several awards. The years later, he commenced the work on his most determined film Apocalypse Now, Vietnam war blockbuster. The film won a Golden Palm Award and two Academy Awards. In that same year, he produced The Black Stallion. In most of his films, he would incorporate his children and extended family members as characters. In May 2002, over thirteen persons out of his family members were already in the film making industry. 

He always got some nominations for the best-directed films. At one time, the Entertainment Weekly nominated him as the 21st Greatest Director of that time. In his film work, his preferred a film star named Jane Powells. He is also the only one among his peers and maybe the only filmmaker who is still in his first marriage. He is also the only person to guide a sibling to an Oscar-nominated performance (Talia Shire, his sister is meant here) who was the best actor in the film The Godfather: Part II, which was released in 1974. In 1996, he was the President of adjudicators at the Cannes Film Festival.

Coppola was among seven directors who got the rewards for such categories as the Best Director, Picture and Screenplay. In San Francisco, together with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, he owned the Rubicon restaurant. Coppola’s family is the only family that apart from the Huston’s has three generations winning the Oscar awards; that are he, his father and his daughter Sofia (Stoker).

The Rain People was produced in 1969; The Conversation - in 1974;  the Apocalypse Now - in 1979; Rumble Fish – in 1983; and Youth without Youth  - in 2007. His favorite movies were from his own list of films. He had cast his favorite actor Diane Lane in more than four films. They included: The Outsiders’;  Rumble Fish; The Cotton Club, and Jack.

In four years, Coppola was able to win five Oscars;- one was in 1971 for Patton produced in 1970; the other one was in 1973 for The Godfather produced in 1972; and three others were received in 1975 for The Godfather: Part II of 1974. Out of these movies, the first and the second one also won the Best Actor awards. Coppola is the only director known to have directed two Oscar-winning actors who performed the same role: Robert De Niro in Godfather Part II and Marlon Brando in The Godfather (Clarke & James).   

One of the movies that he finds sweet and amazing is Jack, it was produced in 1996. However, people do not like this film. One of the things Coppola always desired to do was to leave ten original films that he had written himself.

Currently he is the Honorary Ambassador of the Central American nation of Belize in San Francisco, California, USA.

As Coppola grew older, he always realized that he wanted to be a writer later; a director of his own material especially after his film The Godfather became a success. He had always acknowledged and attributed his success to the writer of this original film Mario Puzo, John Grisham’s The Rainmaker and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Tetro was the second film that he wrote and directed himself. This was all that made Coppola the filmmaker he had always wanted to be when he started his career.

Analysis of the Movie the Outsiders

Of all, Francis Ford Coppola’s movie The Outsiders is among the least loved films he had produced. This is probably due to his professional and personal storms. The Outsiders, released in 1983, is rated well in the box office. However, most people criticized it and said how much the movie had been unimpressive.

The movie starts with a character called Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell) who says that all he has in his mind is thinking about Paul Newman and getting a new ride back home. His parents died from a greasy car accident. He lives with his older brother, Darry (Patrick Swayze), and his other brother, Sodapop (Rob Lowe), in a small old house on the shabby side of the town, occupants of which are mainly the Greasers. All three brothers belong to this group.

 The Greasers comprises of under-age poor children who are in the constant war with another group of kids from the other side of the town called the Socs. The Socs are, however, richer than the Greasers are. The hostility of this part of town where Ponyboy comes from plays a big role in shaping the behavior of boys including Ponyboy as well. They are engaged into the youthful criminal behavior including petty thefts and constant rumbles.

The title of the film The Outsiders emanates from the livelihood of the Greasers who are dirty teens; they wear dirty jeans and keep their hair untidy with some of kids having the comic hair styles unlike the Socs who are squeaky clean especially with their clean and white socks. The pumped physique of the Greasers speaks much of how they are hustling. Soda and Darry work together with Steve (Tom Cruise), the other Greaser at the filling station, while Ponyboy goes to high school. The other Greasers include Dallas, Johnny and Two-Bit.

In the Chapter one and two, the theme of appearance is evident when Ponyboy becomes aware that the Socs are tracking him in their car. In the film, Ponyboy describes himself as a lover of movies and books. We learn of this when he describes his homework. In the last part of the Chapter one, the introduction of the theme of dreaming becomes vivid to the reader indirectly. The writer reveals Johnny’s attack story to the reader using an anecdote method. This is when Ponyboy narrated to Cherry how it happened four months ago while on the concession stand. Therefore, the anecdote helps the writer to develop Johnny’s character and tell the entire story since during the attack Johnny’s hatred of the Socs becomes evident. This anecdote ends with foreshadowing a presumption of what would have happened thereafter, "They had scared him that much. He would kill the next person who jumped him." This became evident when Johnny stabs Bob in the defense of Ponyboy.

In the Chapter three, the anecdote approach helps in telling the story about Soda’s horse. The reader learns of this as Ponyboy was telling the story to Cherry. This not only demonstrates how comfortable Ponyboy is always while talking to Cherry but also reveals her a story that he has never shared with anyone else. This portrays Soda as a person who is capable of the passionate love for even something he cannot own. Ponyboy’s love towards his brother is seen when he tries to save money to buy Soda the horse.

The theme of appearance is very clear in this chapter, especially concerning the awareness of how the Greasers look at the Socs (Jeffrey). We have the theme of eyes in this Chapter. This is when Ponyboy wants to inform Johnny to run away from home, and he lashes out to signal him on this, "Johnny's eyes went round and he winced as thought I'd belted him." The theme is also evident when Ponyboy reads Cherry’s eyes and guarantees her that he could not use the bottle to fight; saying that he had seen an astonishment in her eyes when Two-bit pulled out his switch. It is in this Chapter that Ponyboy dreams of his country when he and Johnny are lying in the vacant lot watching the stars. We learn that when Ponyboy feels that things are intolerable, he eliminates these thoughts by fancying how life could be dissimilar if he could not be the Greaser, something that always frustrated him. His biggest wish is that if his parents were alive, he and his whole family would escape out of the town.

Foreshadowing the event of the burning church that takes place in the Chapter six is in this chapter. This is when Ponyboy and Johnny are still lying in the vacant lot, and Ponyboy wonders how this would be in a burning cinder when he sees the glowing of Johnny’s cigarette in the dark. The Chapter concludes with another occurrence of foreshadowing when Ponyboy predicts that things would go wrong, and this eventually happens when Johnny kills Bob.

In this Chapter, the repetition of certain words gives a clear impression of what is running inside Ponyboy’s head. For instance, after Ponyboy’s realizes that Johnny has killed Bob, the writer shows Ponyboy thinking aloud, "This can't be happening. This cannot be happening. This can't be..." The theme of appearance is applied in this Chapter when Johnny and Ponyboy try to look tough when they see the Socs approaching. The writer says that you had to look at him clearly to see him panicking but did not want them to realize this. As the Chapter ends, the writer uses another technique – the direct address, which entails the narrator speaking to the viewers of the film personally, “What do you call it? Premonition?" This is what Ponyboy asks.

In the Chapter five, see the importance of the boys cutting and dying their hair. When Johnny talks of cutting it, he says this with enthusiasm and this was his pride to have the hair cut, since it always labeled the Greasers. Trimming their hair was, thus, a transformation in their lives. Another film Gone with the Wind’, directed by Coppola is an important pointer of different outlooks the boys had. Each of them gives a different view who is supposed to be a heroic person out from the Greasers. Nothing Gold Can Stay is a poem that reflects the boys’ lives; like this was ‘gold’ in the youth but it is to come and pass by the end of the story.

In the Chapter six, we get more understanding of Johnny’s character. He is in a serious conversation with Dally, and he wants to know what his parents feel about him and whether they are anxious of him. He learns that his parents do not care; and this helps to explain Johnny’s outward submissiveness, but, on the other hand, it hints at his independence and inner strength. When Soda and Darry come to the hospital, Ponyboy gets a revelation of the issue how much his brother Darry cares about him after he has seen him crying for the first time over a long period; since this is terrible that he may lose another person that he loves.

In the Chapters seven and eight, the theme of eyes still plays a vital role in illustrating the characters of the personages. When Randy is talking to Ponyboy in the car, Ponyboy is able to recognize "pain in his eyes." He further talks of the differences that existed between Johnny and his mother; this is reflected in their eyes as his eyes were said to be sensitive and fearful, while those of his mother were hard and cheap.

The last Chapters also play an important role in contributing to the analysis of this film. The writer allows boys to get excited about their rumble through the verbal swagger. This is with the help of Soda who says aloud that he is a Greaser and a hood, a threat to the society; he beats people, robs gas stations, and blackens the city name. This suggests their consciousness on their appearance to the rest of the people. This also shows that they hold close to the stereotypes that shed them.  Ponyboy is able to reflect the deceptiveness of appearance when he realizes why the Socs are never blamed for causing a trouble unlike the Greasers; this is just because they look decent, and the Greasers look untidy. Through the death of Johnny, we learn of the fulfillment of prophesy in the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Dally cannot handle the pain that comes with the death of Johnny. Although he loves Johnny and knows that he is dying, he still insists of going out to fight the Socs. This shows that it is also hard for him to separate himself from violence, which seems to be the part of his personality. In conclusion, the film illustrates how the fatal connection end with tragedies.

Summary

The film is about two groups of youngsters who live in the same town and learn together, but each of the groups leads a radically different lifestyle. One group, the Greasers, is made up of the children who are less privileged and live on the wrong side of the city; and the other is made up of privileged kids, commonly known as  the Socs. Soon after his parents died due to a road accident, Ponyboy was to be under the care of his brothers Sodapop and Darry. They are the Greasers. Other youngsters in the gang are Dally, Johnny, Two-Bit, Steve, and Mathews.

These groups have been the rivals for a long time, but, on this particular night, things turned out sour and more dummy than before after Johnny stabbed Bob in the defense of his pal Ponyboy Curtis. This hostility between these two groups becomes sharper soon after the murder of Bob. The Greasers are trying to make everyone in the town understand that the Socs captivated all this while the Socs want to take vengeance. Johnny and Ponyboy go to look for Dally who, as they suppose, could help them. He lends them some money, gives them a gun, and advises them to go and hide in a deserted church, in Windrixville.

They stay in the church for a week and during that time they cut off their long hair. Dally from time to time comes to visit them and update them on things happening in the town.  He tells them how the Socs want to seek revenge aimed at the Greasers due to the death of Bob. He also informs them of the rumbles they had organized against the Socs. Dally also reminds them that Cherry Valance was spying for them.

The church catches the fire while the kids were there for a picnic and they get trapped inside. They run to save the kids, but, unluckily, Johnny also gets trapped inside leaving him in a very critical condition. Soon after, he is taken to hospital. Dally and Ponyboy come to see him before he dies. All that he advices Ponyboy is to ‘stay gold’ meaning that he should remain innocent and less hardened. Johnny’s death leaves Dally in pain since he loved him dearly.

At school, Ponyboy’s grades start declining; this is something that annoys Darry. Things lead to the confrontation, and, thereafter, a huge fight ensues. Soda, their other brother, becomes upset and runs away to keep away from them saying that he cannot stand their frequent fights. Things eventually get back on the track, and they all start living again peacefully.  Ponyboy stays in bed for over a week as he does not feel very well. Randy, a classmate to him, comes to visit him. He informs him of the importance to appear in the court the next day. Ponyboy disapproves this since he thinks the judge might have sent him and his brother home, and this was something that had not been appealing. When they go to court, the Socs give their view of the story and testify on what happened. Soon after, it is Ponyboy’s turn and the magistrate questions about Bob’s death. Finally, the judge acquits him and later terminates the case.

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