Carmine Coppola
Carmine Valentino Coppola

(1910-06-11)June 11, 1910
DiedApril 26, 1991(1991-04-26) (aged 80)
Resting placeSan Fernando Mission Cemetery
  • Flautist
  • pianist
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • orchestrator
SpouseItalia Coppola
ChildrenAugust Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Talia Shire
RelativesAnton Coppola (brother)
Musical career
  • Flute
  • piano
  • synthesizer
Years active1949–1991
Carmine Coppola (1910-1991) in the 1940 U.S. census living in Detroit, Michigan

Carmine Valentino Coppola (Italian: [ˈkarmine ˈkɔppola]; June 11, 1910 – April 26, 1991) was an American composer, flautist, pianist, and songwriter who contributed original music to the films The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders, and The Godfather Part III, all directed by his son Francis Ford Coppola.[1] In the course of his career, he won both the Academy Award for Best Original Score and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, with BAFTA Award for Best Film Music and Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media nominations.

Personal life

Coppola was born in New York City, the son of Maria (née Zasa) and Agostino Coppola, who came to the United States from Bernalda, Basilicata.[2] His brother was opera conductor and composer Anton Coppola. He was the father of August Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola[1] and Talia Shire, and grandfather of Nicolas Cage, Sofia Coppola, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Robert Schwartzman, and the late Gian-Carlo Coppola.

Coppola died in Northridge, California, at the age of 80 in 1991. His wife, Italia, died in 2004 in Los Angeles. Both Coppola and his wife are buried at San Fernando Mission Cemetery.[3]


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, filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, on additional music for his Finian's Rainbow.[4]

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 Agostino 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.[1][5] He also composed most of the score for The Godfather Part III (1990).[1] 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.[5][6] He also composed a three-and-a-half-hour score for US showings of Kevin Brownlow's reconstruction of Abel Gance's 1927 epic Napoléon.[7][8] 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 his father missed a cue during the shooting of that film's opening wedding reception—something he never did in his prime. At that point, Francis realized that his father had little time left. As it turned out, Carmine died less than four months after Part III premiered,[9] of a stroke.[10]


Collaborations with Francis Ford Coppola

Year Film Notes
1959 Battle Beyond the Sun English-language reedit of Nebo Zovyot
Composed with Yuliy Meitus & Vyacheslav Mescherin
1962 Tonight for Sure
1969 The Rain People Composed with Ronald Stein
1974 The Godfather Part II Composed with Nino Rota

Academy Award for Best Original Score

1979 Apocalypse Now Composed with Francis Ford Coppola

Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Film Music
Nominated- Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

1980 Napoléon Reedit of 1927 film supervised by Coppola
1983 The Outsiders
1987 Faerie Tale Theatre Television series
Episode: "Rip Van Winkle"
Gardens of Stone
1988 Tucker: The Man and His Dream Composed with Joe Jackson
1989 New York Stories Segment: "Life Without Zoe"
1990 The Godfather Part III Nominated- Academy Award for Best Original Song
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song

Collaboration with other directors

Year Film Director Notes
1968 The Green Berets John Wayne
Ray Kellogg
As flautist
Score composed by Miklós Rózsa
1971 THX 1138 George Lucas As flautist & orchestrator
Score composed by Lalo Schifrin
1972 The People John Korty Television film
1977 Mustang: The House That Joe Built Robert Guralnick Documentary film
1979 The Black Stallion Carroll Ballard Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Music
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score
1989 Blood Red Peter Masterson

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Saxon, Wolfgang (April 27, 1991). "Carmine Coppola, 80, Conductor And Composer for His Son's Films". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Cowie, Peter (1988). Coppola: a biography. Da Capo Press. 2. ISBN 978-0-306-80598-1.
  3. ^ "OSCAR-WINNING COMPOSER CARMINE COPPOLA DIES". Deseret News. 1991-04-28. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  4. ^ "Carmine Coppola Obituary". Washington Post.
  5. ^ a b "Carmine Coppola". Retrieved 2021-10-03.
  6. ^ "Carmine Coppola". 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2021-10-03.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger. ""Napoleon" & Carmine Coppola | Interviews | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2021-10-03.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Napoleon conquers Radio City Music Hall | Roger Ebert | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 2021-10-03.
  9. ^ The Godfather Part III DVD commentary featuring Francis Ford Coppola, [2005]
  10. ^ "Carmine Coppola; Composer, Conductor". Los Angeles Times. April 27, 1991.