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This article is about the father of Francis Ford Coppola. You may be looking for the character.

Carmine Valentino Coppola (June 11, 1910 – April 26, 1991) was an Italian-American composer, flautist, editor, musical director, and songwriter who contributed original music to The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and Apocalypse Now, all directed by his son Francis Ford Coppola.

He also made several cameo appearances across The Godfather films.


Carmine Coppola during the production of The Godfather Part III.

Coppola was born in New York City, the son of Marie (née Zasa) and Augustino Coppola. His brother is Maestro Anton Coppola. He was the father of August Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, and Talia Shire, and grandfather of Nicolas Cage, Sofia Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Robert Schwartzman.

Coppola played the flute. He studied at Juilliard, later at the Manhattan School of Music and privately with Joseph Schillinger. During the 1940s, Coppola worked under Arturo Toscanini with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Then in 1951, Coppola left the Orchestra to pursue his dream of composing music. During that time he mostly worked as an orchestra conductor on Broadway and elsewhere, working with his son, legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, on additional music for his Finian's Rainbow. Carmine contributed to the music performed in the wedding scene in The Godfather (1972). Later, his son called on him to compose additional music for the score of The Godfather Part II (1974), in which he and his father received an in-movie tribute with the characters Augustino and Carmine Coppola, who appear in a deleted scene from the young Vito Corleone flashback segments. Principal score composer Nino Rota and Carmine together won Oscars for Best Score for the film. He also composed most of the score for The Godfather Part III (1990). He made cameo appearances in all three Godfather films as a conductor.

Carmine and Francis together scored Apocalypse Now (1979), for which they won a Golden Globe Award for best original score. He also composed a three and a half hour score for Francis' 1981 reconstruction of Abel Gance's 1927 epic Napoléon. Carmine composed the music for The Black Stallion (1979), on which Francis was executive producer, and four other films directed by his son in the 1980s.

In his audio commentary on The Godfather Part III DVD, Francis said that he knew his father was close to death when he missed a cue—something he never did in his prime. As it turned out, Carmine died less than four months after Part III premiered.[1]

Carmine Coppola died in Northridge, California in 1991 at the age of 80.[2] His wife, Italia Coppola, died in 2004 in Los Angeles. Both Coppola and his wife are buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Upon his death, Coppola's grandson Robert Schwartzman changed his last name to 'Carmine' in his grandfather's honor.

Notes and references

  1. The Godfather Part III DVD commentary featuring Francis Ford Coppola, [2005]
  2. Carmine Coppola; Composer, Conductor by Myrna Oliver

External links