I think it's better to be overly ambitious and fail than to be underambitious and succeed in a mundane way. I have been very fortunate. I failed upward in my life!
The essence of cinema is editing. It's the combination of what can be extraordinary images of people during emotional moments, or images in a general sense, put together in a kind of alchemy.
Sound is your friend because sound is much cheaper than picture, but it has equal effect on the audience - in some ways, perhaps more effect because it does it in a very indirect way.
We were raised in an Italian-American household, although we didn't speak Italian in the house. We were very proud of being Italian, and had Italian music, ate Italian food.
I like to work in the morning. I like to sometimes go to a place where I'm all alone where I'm not going to get a phone call early that hurts my feelings, because once my feelings are hurt, I'm dead in the water.
I have much to learn from my daughter Sofia. Her minimalism exposes my limitations: I'm too instinctive and operatic, I put too much heart into my work, I get lost sometimes in bizarre things - it's my Italian heritage.
Most Italians who came to this country are very patriotic. There was this exciting possibility that if you worked real hard, and you loved something, you could become successful.
When I was sixteen or seventeen, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a playwright. But everything I wrote, I thought, was weak. And I can remember falling asleep in tears because I had no talent the way I wanted to have.
I realized I probably wouldn't make another film that cuts through commercial and creative things like 'Godfather' or 'Apocalypse.'
All of a sudden, there are great Japanese films, or great Italian films, or great Australian films. It's usually because there are a number of people that cross-pollinated each other.
I believe that filmmaking - as, probably, is everything - is a game you should play with all your cards, and all your dice, and whatever else you've got. So, each time I make a movie, I give it everything I have. I think everyone should, and I think everyone should do everything they do that way.
You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you'll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.
When I do a novel, I don't really use the script, I use the book; when I did Apocalypse Now, I used Heart of Darkness. Novels usually have so much rich material.
I had a heartbreaking experience when I was 9. I always wanted to be a guard. The most wonderful girl in the world was a guard. When I got polio and then went back to school, they made me a guard. A teacher took away my guard button.
By working in the morning, I find a sense of peace; it's isolated peace, but I can definitely be in touch with my feelings, and then I just start.
When a movie is about to come out on its initial debut, there are a lot of people involved - the financiers, the studio and the producers and also, many times, the foreign distributors. So it is a time of tremendous pressure and uncertainty.
In kindergarten that used to be my job, to tell them fairytales. I liked Hans Christian Andersen, and the Grimm fairy tales, all the classic fairy tales.
I wrote the script of Patton. I had this very bizarre opening where he stands up in front of an American flag and gives this speech. Ultimately, I was fired. When the script was done, they hired another writer and that script was forgotten.
My company and people think I'm wacky when I have an idea... I know if I have an idea, no one will want to go through it. But if I persist, people will go through it.
People feel the worst film I made was 'Jack.' But to this day, when I get checks from old movies I've made, 'Jack' is one of the biggest ones. No one knows that. If people hate the movie, they hate the movie. I just wanted to work with Robin Williams.