One from the Heart

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For the soundtrack recorded by Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle, see One from the Heart (album).
One from the Heart
One from the Heart poster.jpg
theatrical poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Gray Frederickson
Fred Roos
Written by Armyan Bernstein
Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Frederic Forrest
Teri Garr
Raul Julia
Nastassja Kinski
Lainie Kazan
Harry Dean Stanton
Music by Teddy Edwards
Tom Waits
Cinematography Vittorio Storaro
Ronald Víctor García
Edited by Rudi Fehr
Anne Goursaud
Randy Roberts
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • August 17, 1981 (1981-08-17)
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 1981 musical film 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 evening of July 4, in Las Vegas, Hank (Forrest) a mechanic and Frannie (Garr), 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 circus girl (Kinski), and Frannie goes with Ray, a dark, handsome musician (Juliá).

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 with Ray. 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.


The film was almost entirely shot on studio sound stages. The exception was filming on the back lot for a "Las Vegas junkyard" set, described by a character in the film as being "the garden of the Taj Mahal."[citation needed]

The cost of the production and the film's failure to recoup at the box office resulted in Coppola's declaring bankruptcy. One from the Heart was originally intended as an "antidote" to the enormous cost, pressures and production setbacks of his Apocalypse Now.[2] But, production costs ballooned from $2 million to over $25 million. Coppola insisted on building sets to add to the artificiality of the proscenium.

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)—was built and 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. Because of the maze of wiring and flammable scrims, backdrops and other materials, production designer Dean Tavoularis half-jokingly referred to the Vegas Strip set—the centerpiece of the film—as a "firetrap", saying it caused him to have "nightmares about fires" during the film's production.[citation needed]

Coppola has said that the films he made during the rest of the 1980s and most of the 1990s, such as The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club, The Godfather Part III, Jack and The Rainmaker, were done to pay off the debts incurred by One from the Heart.[citation needed]

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 were also credited for their contributions to the production.


Critical reception[edit]

As of September 2015, it has a 48% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 31 critics.[3] The film had its premiere in San Francisco on August 17, 1981 and a New York City preview on January 15, 1982, at Radio City Music Hall. Janet Maslin in the New York Times described it as an "innovative, audacious effort," but said the film lacked story and tension.[4]

In a later interview, Coppola has 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."[2]

Box office[edit]

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". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ a b Francis Ford Coppola on One from the Heart, Digital Bits
  3. ^ One From The Heart, Rotten Tomatoes website
  4. ^ "Preview of One From The Heart," Janet Maslin, New York Times, January 17, 1982

External links[edit]