Based on a true story. Shortly after World War II, Preston Tucker is a grandiose schemer with a new dream, to produce the best cars ever made. With the assistance of Abe Karatz and some impressive salesmanship on his own part, he obtains funding and begins to build his factory. The whole movie also has many parallels with director Coppola’s own efforts to build a new movie studio of his own.
Tucker: The Man and His Dream is a 1988 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Jeff Bridges. The film recounts the story of Preston Tucker and his attempt to produce and market the 1948 Tucker Sedan, which was met with scandal between the “Big Three automobile manufacturers” and accusations of stock fraud from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Joan Allen, Martin Landau, Elias Koteas, Frederic Forrest and Christian Slater appear in supporting roles.
In 1973, Coppola began development of a film based on the life of Tucker, originally with Marlon Brando in the lead role. Starting in 1976, Coppola planned Tucker to be both a musical and an experimental film with music and lyrics written by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The project eventually collapsed when Coppola’s American Zoetrope experienced financial problems. Tucker was revived in 1986 when Coppola’s friend, George Lucas, joined as a producer.
The film received critical praise, but was a box office disappointment. Nonetheless, Tucker: The Man and His Dream produced a spike in prices of Tucker Sedans, as well as a renewed appreciation for Tucker and his automobiles.
Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau, Frederic Forrest, Mako, Dean Stockwell, Elias Koteas, Christian Slater, Nina Siemaszko, Anders Johnson
Screenplay by: Arnold Schulman, David Seidler
Production Design by: Dean Tavoularis
Cinematography by: Vittorio Storaro
Film Editing by: Priscilla Nedd-Friendly
Costume Design by: Milena Canonero
Set Decoration by: Armin Ganz
Art Direction by: Alex Tavoularis
Music by: Joe Jackson
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures (USA & Canada), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (International)
Release Date: August 12, 1988