One from the Heart

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One from the Heart
One from the Heart poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Gray Frederickson
Fred Roos
Screenplay by Armyan Bernstein
Francis Ford Coppola
Story by Armyan Bernstein
Starring Frederic Forrest
Teri Garr
Raul Julia
Nastassja Kinski
Lainie Kazan
Harry Dean Stanton
Music by Tom Waits
Cinematography Vittorio Storaro
Ronald Víctor García
Edited by Rudi Fehr
Anne Goursaud
Randy Roberts
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • February 12, 1982 (1982-02-12)
Running time
107 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $26 million
Box office $636,796 (U.S.)[1]

One from the Heart is a 1982 American musical film co-written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Raul Julia, Nastassja Kinski, Lainie Kazan and Harry Dean Stanton. The story is set entirely in Las Vegas. The film's plot was later adapted by Aziz Mirza for his 2003 Hindi film Chalte Chalte.

Plot summary

The story begins on the evening of the Fourth of July in Las Vegas. Hank, a mechanic, and Frannie, a travel agent, break up while celebrating their fifth anniversary. He has been insensitive to her yearning for adventure and excitement. They both spend a night with their idealized partners — Hank goes with Leila, a nubile and beautiful showgirl, and Frannie goes with Ray, a dark, handsome musician.

After their nights of passion, Hank breaks down, tracks Frannie to her lover's apartment and abducts her. She refuses to stay with him and walks away, saying that this time it is goodbye forever.

Hank follows her to the airport, where Frannie is about to leave for her dream trip to Bora Bora. Hank sings to her to prove he is willing to be more romantic, but she boards the plane, saying it is too late. Hank, distraught, goes home and is about to burn her clothes when Frannie returns, realizing she "made a mistake".


The director's parents, Carmine and Italia Coppola, appear as a couple in an elevator.


One From the Heart originally was to be financed by MGM, with the studio giving Coppola a record $2 million to direct. Coppola initially rejected the offer, then bought the rights to the property through his Zoetrope Studios, with MGM remaining as a distributor for North America. Zoetrope raised financing via foreign pre-sales and a loan from Chase Manhattan Bank.

Initially it was to be a romantic comedy, but Coppola wanted a more ambitious film, raising the film's budget from $15 million to $23 million, paying for miniatures and lavish backgrounds. The film was almost entirely shot on Zoetrope sound stages. Coppola insisted on building sets to add to the artificiality of the proscenium.[2]

However, Zoetrope was struggling to stay afloat, and its staff wound up working on a reduced payroll. The film's tax shelter investors pulled out, and thus MGM withdrew its support for the project. Eventually, Coppola got support from Canadian businessman Jack Singer, who agreed to lend $8 million to Zoetrope. In February 1981, Paramount Pictures took over as distributor.[2]

Set construction included a replica of part of Las Vegas' McCarran Airport—complete with a jetway and jet airliner (built from the nose section of a crashed plane)— that was used for the penultimate scene. The sets for the film took up all of the sound stage space at Coppola's recently acquired American Zoetrope studio. One from the Heart features an original soundtrack from Crystal Gayle and Tom Waits. Waits received an Academy Award nomination for Best Musical Score. Tavoularis, whose art department was next door to the musical rehearsal space, used Waits' music as tonal inspiration, incorporating it into the film's highly stylized "look". Mickey Hart (drummer for The Grateful Dead) and musician Bobby Vega also were credited for their contributions to the production.

Coppola used the opportunity to introduce a more economic method of filmmaking. Dubbed the "electronic cinema", it involved shooting and editing a visual storyboard on videotape, allowing for a reference during the actual shooting on film.


A screening of an unfinished print in San Francisco, California in August 1981[3] resulted in many exhibitors backing out of releasing it. Paramount decided on a general release in February 1982. The studio also stated that it would hold Oscar-consideration screenings in December 1981, but backed out; Coppola perceived that Paramount wanted to focus on Oscar campaigns for Reds and Ragtime, but the studio insisted that they didn't want to pose a threat to the wide release.

Coppola booked a New York City preview on January 15, 1982 at Radio City Music Hall without the authorization of Paramount. These screenings further soured the relationship between Coppola and Paramount, which was problematic during the arduous shooting and only increased as a result of the poor screening in San Francisco. Paramount ultimately pulled out of the distribution of the film despite the fact that it was booked in theaters throughout America. At almost the last minute, Coppola forged a new deal with Columbia Pictures.

The commercial failure of the film resulted in a decade of financial turmoil for Coppola and his production companies.[4]

Critical reception

As of August 2018, it has a 50% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 32 critics. The critical consensus reads "A misfire from director Francis Ford Coppola."[5] Janet Maslin in The New York Times described it as an "innovative, audacious effort", but said the film lacked story and tension.[6] In a later interview, Coppola said that the film was still a "work in progress" when screened for blind bidding. He said the unfinished version was "a mess". He went on to say that "it was clear that it wasn't going to get a fair shot."[7]

The film's cinematography has come to be lauded in recent years. In the Los Angeles Times, Susan King praised One from the Heart as "so visually arresting, it's shocking that it wasn't well received back in 1982."[8] Philip French called the film "visually stunning", but also considered it to "[alternate] between the banal and the sublime".[9] Warren Clements of The Globe and Mail stated: "It has the form, style and often the content of a romantic fantasy, but the central love story is between two characters who don't seem to like each other very much. It is a candy with a sour centre."[10]

Box office

The movie grossed $389,249 on its first weekend on 41 theaters, with a total gross of $636,796, against a $26 million budget.



  1. ^ "One from the Heart (1982)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "One from the Heart". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  3. ^ Harmetz, Aljean; Times, Special To the New York (1981-08-26). "Embattled Coppola Plunges into Tv". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  4. ^ "Coppola Files for Bankruptcy a Third Time". Los Angeles Times. July 1, 1992. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "One From the Heart (1982)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (January 17, 1982). "Preview of One From The Heart". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  7. ^ Jahnke, Adam (2004). "Viva Las Vegas! Francis Ford Coppola on One from the Heart". The Digital Bits. Archived from the original on 2016-08-11. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  8. ^ King, Susan (December 7, 2012). "A conversation with Francis Ford Coppola". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  9. ^ French, Philip (January 14, 2012). "One From the Heart". The Guardian. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  10. ^ Clements, Warren (July 29, 2011). "One from the Heart: Coppola's flawed film a herald of the digital age". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 12, 2017.

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