The Godfather icon Francis Ford Coppola calls himself 'a second-rate director'

The Godfather icon Francis Ford Coppola calls himself 'a second-rate director'

Francis Ford Coppola considers himself "just a second-rate director".

The 82-year-old filmmaker has reflected on the legacy of 'The Godfather' - which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year - and suggested the classic film elevated him in the eyes of the public.

Speaking candidly to Empire magazine, he said: "I've heard 'The Godfather' cited as one of the greatest movies ever made.

"When you compare to the great artists of cinema, like G.W. Pabst and Fritz Lang, and the great Murnau, Hitchcock, then the great Italian and Japanese directors - when you really view the heroes of cinema, I have to say that I should be considered just a second-rate director.

"But I'm a first-rate second-rate director."

Coppola explained that 'The Godfather' changed his life and turned him into a celebrity, while he eventually went on to be considered equal to his peers.

He added: "In my heart, all I ever really wanted was to be considered one of the group, which I am now because when they talk about all the big directors of the '70s, they say George Lucas and Francis Coppola and Marty Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and Brain De Palma and Paul Schrader.

"So I have what I want - I am one of the group."

While his stance on the movie has "softened" over the years, he noted at the time it was "a nightmare" because he constantly felt like he had no power and was at risk of being fired.

He said: "It was the worst experience. 'Apocalypse Now' was a pretty tough experience for other kinds of reasons, but usually those films, which I'm so well known for, were nightmares to work on.

"Just the fact that I was young and tenacious and didn't give up is why they got done.

"I mean, when you think of all the troubles we had... so 50 years later it's nice to say, OK, 'The Godfather' was a wonderful success - but it was an awful experience. It was terrible. It was a nightmare."