Sofia Coppola, the daughter of filmmakers Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola, was immediately born into the world of cinema. She grew up within the extraordinary world of cinema and filmmaking, and ever since, it has never really left her side.
Surrounded by Hollywood’s big lights and rolling cameras, Coppola began her life in film as a child actor under the brightest of spotlights. While her acting work is arguably best remembered for her appearance in The Godfather as the infant Michael Francis Rizzi, in the baptism scene, Coppola would go on to appear in each film of the trilogy in some capacity or other.
However, acting wasn’t a position that came naturally to Coppola, and she longed for something else. As she grew older, she became more influenced by the act of filmmaking, preferring to work behind the camera than in front of it. Coppola’s first short film, Lick the Star, received popular reviews upon its release in 1998, and it was quickly followed by her seminal picture, The Virgin Suicides, Coppola’s first feature film, which was greeted yet again with critical acclaim and is still thought of fondly to this day.
With momentum on her side, Coppola’s second feature film, Lost in Translation, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansen, propelled her to international fame and critical acclaim. Coppola won the Academy Award for original screenplay and three Golden Globe Awards, including Best Picture Musical or Comedy. It was a landmark moment in her illustrious career.
Coppola is in the unusual territory as an acclaimed filmmaker, one that has forced her to push for a solitary unique voice while having the weight of pressure from her family’s past success firmly landing on her shoulders. With a strong love for independent cinema, Coppola has taken inspiration from a wide-ranging source of cinematic pictures.
When asked to name just a few, she said: “I love that it’s an art film about teenagers,” in an interview with Rotten Tomatoes about the work of her father. “I just love the way that it’s shot—I love those old lenses, those Zeiss lenses; they have a softer feel. Roman [Coppola, her brother] and I are just sentimental about film.”
Elsewhere, Coppola has referenced the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, Stanley Kubrick, Tomas Alfredson, and more as directors to have helped shape her creative vision. It makes for one of the most impressive and, perhaps more importantly, wholly watchable list of favourite films we’ve come across. Speaking about Lolita, Coppola said: “I love Kubrick. I love the way he put that film together, the way it’s filmed. Just some of the shots he did there, like the reverse shot in the car window with the monster.”
Whether you want to dip into the pure artistry of film or just watch a great movie, Coppola has you covered with an essential list of her favourite films.
See the full list, below.
Sofia Coppola’s 10 favourite films:
- Rumble Fish – Francis Ford Coppola, 1983.
- Breathless – Jean-Luc Godard, 1960.
- Sixteen Candles – John Hughes, 1984.
- Lolita – Stanley Kubrick, 1962.
- The Last Picture Show – Peter Bogdanovich, 1971.
- Tootsie – Sydney Pollack, 1982.
- Chris Rock: Never Scared – Joel Gallen, 2004.
- Heartbreak Kid – Elaine May, 1972.
- Let The Right One In – Tomas Alfredson, 2008.