Coppola’s first reading Mario Puzo‘s The Godfather, the filmmaker was disappointed to find that the story was more of a “potboiler” and not the intellectual treatise on power that he envisioned.

But just as he felt Puzo—whose previous books he admired—had churned out some bestseller fodder to make money in this case, he admitted that he needed the paycheck, too, so he took the job.

Reservations aside, the film’s story hews closely to the novel, minus the subplot involving—as Coppola put it on NPR’s Fresh Air in 2016—the character Lucy Mancini’s  “private anatomy problems.” He claimed that cutting out the part didn’t affect the remainder, as we all already know.

Signing on for the film was the first of many disagreements with studio, ranging from the time period (“the script had hippies,” he told NPR), to the place (“They took me on an excursion to Kansas City’s Italian neighborhoods”), to each actor that he desired to play the lead roles.

After all the discussion and disputing was over, however, The Godfather made more than $250 million at the worldwide box office (making it the highest-grossing release ever until Jaws The film was made in 1975. It is still a classic. It was nominated Best Picture in 1973 Academy Awards. Coppola and Puzo won the Adapted Screenplay Oscar. However, Coppola went unclaimed for Best Director. Cabaret helmer Bob Fosse (you can watch all that jazz unfold in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon). He would win. The Godfather: Part II In 1975.