The Coppola Family Tree Explained

The Barrymores might be the original Hollywood royalty, but nowadays, the Coppolas give them a run for their money. Between Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola (his daughter), Nicolas Cage (his nephew), and Jason Schwartzman (another nephew, different parents), it seems like every Hollywood movie over the last 60 years has some Coppola family involvement in it. The family reached its Hollywood heights with Francis Ford, though in fact, his father was also in the entertainment business, first as a conductor on Broadway and then as an Oscar-winning composer for his son's movies, according to The New York Times.

Since those days, the Coppolas have situated themselves in every part of the entertainment industry, including acting, producing, directing, and even music (the family is also in the winemaker business with Francis Ford Coppola Winery). Here's how they're all connected, so you don't embarrass yourself if you get invited to the family reunion.

Francis Ford and his parents

Francis Ford Coppola is widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time (a 2002 Sight and Sound poll ranked him fourth greatest ever). The director of "Apocalypse Now," "The Godfather," and "The Conversation" is the son of Carmine Coppola and Italia Coppola, two New York City-born Italians who he would later recruit for work in his movies. His mother, Italia, only appeared in non-speaking cameo roles in his films (via IMDb), but Carmine contributed to the score of "The Godfather Part II," for which he shared an Oscar with composer Nino Rota.

Francis's dad also scored "Apocalypse Now," "Gardens of Stone," and "The Black Stallion," according to his New York Times obituary. His biggest project was re-scoring the silent film "Napoleon" by Abel Gance, which, since it was a silent film, needed a score the whole way through — a monumental undertaking that won acclaim from critics.

Additionally, Francis Ford Coppola's wife Eleanor is a documentary filmmaker — her most recent film is 2020's "Love Is Love Is Love" — if you need more proof that this family is stacked (via Zoetrope).

Talia Shire had to audition for The Godfather

Francis Ford Coppola's father wasn't the only family member recruited for "The Godfather." Coppola also cast his sister, the actress Talia Shire, in the pivotal role of Connie, the daughter of Don Vito Corleone and sister to Michael Corleone, whose wedding kicks off the movie (via LA Times). Despite her familial connections, Talia Shire had to audition for the role, and she didn't merely end up impressing her brother — she was nominated for an Oscar for playing Connie in the movie's sequel, "The Godfather Part II." She also got an Oscar nomination for playing Rocky's love interest Adrian Pennino in "Rocky." Shire is still an active actress today, recently appearing in 2020's "Working Man."

Shire's second husband, Jack Schwartzman, was also in the movie industry until his death in 1994. Schwartzman worked as a producer for films like "Being There" and the Bond film "Never Say Never Again," but is perhaps most famous as the dad to Jason.

The one, the only: Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage was born to the brother of Francis Ford Coppola, August Coppola, who was a literature professor (via Entertainment Weekly). Born Nicholas Kim Coppola in 1964, he changed his last name to differentiate himself from his famous director uncle, according to Britannica. Despite this, many of his early roles were in Coppola-directed films, including "Rumble Fish," "The Cotton Club," and a wild turn in "Peggy Sue Got Married."

After a string of acclaimed roles in movies like "Raising Arizona," "Moonstruck," and "Wild At Heart" — with a few stinkers thrown in there (Cage has apparently never been tentative about saying yes to projects) — he won an Oscar for his leading role as a self-destructive alcoholic in "Leaving Las Vegas." He then proceeded to star in some of the worst movies ever made, at an astonishing pace — according to Britannica, he sometimes released up to five movies a year, some of them going direct to video. He also received another acting nomination, for his dual role (as identical twins) in "Adaptation." He might get another one for "Pig" — he's had an interesting career, to say the least (via IMDb).

He's been married five times and has two kids (via People).

Francis Ford Coppola's children: Sofia, Roman, and Gian-Carlo

Sofia Coppola, the first American woman nominated for a best director Oscar, is clearly following in the footsteps of her famous father Francis Ford Coppola (per Britannica). Sofia appeared in all three Godfather movies — that's her standing in for the baby boy who gets baptized in the famous massacre of Michael's enemies at the end of the first film — though her widely panned performance in the third movie led her to leave acting behind. In 1999, she released her first feature film, "The Virgin Suicides," to glowing reviews. "Lost in Translation," released in 2003, got her Oscar nominations for best picture and director, and won her an Oscar for best original screenplay.

Her brothers Roman and Gian-Carlo also were involved in the movie biz. Roman co-wrote several movies with Wes Anderson and is now the president of production company American Zoetrope, which releases many of the family's films (via Harry Walker Agency). Gian-Carlo was a producer, but died in a tragic speedboat accident at the age of 22, while his wife was pregnant (via IMDb). His daughter, Gia, is now also an up-and-coming director.

The Schwartzmans

Jason Schwartzman, the son of Talia Shire and nephew to Francis Ford Coppola, had a lot of help getting cast in his breakthrough role in Wes Anderson's "Rushmore." His cousin Sofia recommended him for the part, according to Entertainment Weekly; his mother helped him with his audition. "I suggested he bring in props, like wearing the Rushmore blazer and having those little enamel school pins for punctuality and perfect attendance," Shire told the Los Angeles Times. "Auditions are nerve-racking. So having those props can really be critical."

Schwartzman has been a reliable figure in movies ever since that charming debut, and among other roles has made plenty of time for family projects, starring in Sofia's "Marie Antoinette" and Roman's "CQ," among others (via IMDb).

He also was in the band Phantom Planet, which performed the theme song for "The O.C." An interest in music seems to run in the family — his brother Robert is the frontman for Rooney (and played Anne Hathaway's love interest in "The Princess Diaries").