Tucker: The Man and His Dream

(USA/1988—directed by Francis Ford Coppola) 

In the aftermath of World War II, Ypsilanti-based designer Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) was quick to realize that over the four years during which Detroit’s Big Three had forsaken individual automobile production to focus on the war effort, Americans had developed a voracious appetite for new cars. Tucker’s answer was to independently create an innovative “car of the future,” featuring pioneering safety features and modern streamlined styling, including a center-mounted “cyclops” headlight that turned with the vehicle.

It’s easy to see why the Detroit-born Francis Ford Coppola was drawn to this story of one man’s vision and unwavering determination; many of Coppola’s own independent productions —not to mention his brilliant Godfather saga—can be seen as parallel portraits of American dreamers. (110 minutes) 

“Francis Coppola's heartfelt tribute to Preston Tucker turns out to be one of his most personal and successful movies.”  –Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader