The Godfather's Francis Ford Coppola Just Took A Shot At Dune And No Time To Die

Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides training in Dune
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It seems that we just can’t get away from great classic directors telling us everything that is wrong with modern Hollywood. Every couple of months we have to relitigate what Martin Scorsese thinks of Marvel movies, and any time a director of traditionally Oscar-worthy projects makes a new movie somebody is apparently required to ask them what they think of superhero movies or if they would make one. Francis Ford Coppola has already taken his shots at Marvel, but now he’s expanding his criticism to include other big movies, like Dune and No Time to Die.

Speaking with GQ, Francis Ford Coppola draws a line between what he calls “studio pictures” and “Marvel pictures.” He’s critical of Marvel for, as he describes it, making the same movie over and over again, but now he’s expanding that to include other projects. Coppola feels recent movies like No Time to Die and Dune are equally interchangeable, saying…

There used to be studio films. Now there are Marvel pictures. And what is a Marvel picture? A Marvel picture is one prototype movie that is made over and over and over and over and over again to look different. Even the talented people—you could take Dune, made by Denis Villeneuve, an extremely talented, gifted artist, and you could take No Time to Die, directed by…Gary? Cary Fukunaga—extremely gifted, talented, beautiful artists, and you could take both those movies, and you and I could go and pull the same sequence out of both of them and put them together. The same sequence where the cars all crash into each other. They all have that stuff in it, and they almost have to have it, if they're going to justify their budget. And that's the good films, and the talented filmmakers.

While Francis Ford Coppola is very complimentary of the filmmakers behind Dune and No Time to Die, despite not knowing Cary Fukunaga’s name, he feels that the movies they are making are not up to the talent and artistry of the people, that the films are essentially still “Marvel pictures” by his definition.

Certainly, nobody is going to confuse a scene from Dune for a scene from No Time to Die really. If your broad definition is that movies with big expensive action sequences are essentially all the same, then yeah, I guess they both qualify as that. 

To be fair, Francis Ford Coppola is a guy who has rarely been happy with the state of Hollywood. Back in the ‘60 he didn’t like “studio pictures” anymore than he likes “Marvel pictures” today, which is why, with some financial backing from his friend George Lucas, he founded American Zoetrope in 1969. The idea was to be able to produce movies from outside the studio system. 

Francis Ford Coppola has been largely out of Hollywood since about 2013, though he’s still trying to get his passion project Megalopolis made, and if it happens we could see him in the director’s chair again. 

There’s certainly no argument that when Hollywood finds something that works, they will try to reproduce those results. It happens with actors, it happens with genres. When a movie like Hunger Games is a success we see every YA dystopian book get its rights snatched up in an attempt to make another successful franchise. Certainly Coppola isn’t wrong that there is some degree of similarity between Marvel movies.

But whether movies like No Time to Die or Dune should be painted with the same brush is perhaps another matter. And even if they are similar, it’s yet another question whether that makes them lesser movies in any real way. This is a debate that won’t be ending anytime soon. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.