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Apocalypse Now

1979  147 MN


Apocalypse Now on IMDb
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Francis Ford Coppola

At the height of the Vietnam war, Captain Benjamin Willard is sent on a dangerous mission that, officially, "does not exist, nor will it ever exist." His goal is to locate - and eliminate - a mysterious Green Beret Colonel named Walter Kurtz, who has been leading his personal army on illegal guerrilla missions into enemy territory.

 Release Date

August 15, 1979


2h27m (147 min)


$ 31,500,000


$ 150,000,000

 Top Billed Cast

 Martin Sheen
 Captain Benjamin Willard
 Frederic Forrest
 Jay 'Chef' Hicks
 Albert Hall
 Chief Phillips
 Laurence Fishburne
 Tyrone 'Clean' Miller
 Sam Bottoms
 Lance B. Johnson
 Marlon Brando
 Colonel Walter Kurtz

 Written by

Michael Herr Writer
John Milius Writer
Francis Ford Coppola Writer


This is the end...


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Martin Sheen
  Captain Benjamin Willard
Frederic Forrest
  Jay 'Chef' Hicks
Albert Hall
  Chief Phillips
Laurence Fishburne
  Tyrone 'Clean' Miller
Sam Bottoms
  Lance B. Johnson
Marlon Brando
  Colonel Walter Kurtz
Robert Duvall
  Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore
Dennis Hopper
G. D. Spradlin
  General Corman
Harrison Ford
  Colonel Lucas
Jerry Ziesmer
  Jerry, Civilian
Scott Glenn
  Lieutenant Richard M. Colby
James Keane
  Kilgore's Gunner
Kerry Rossall
  Mike from San Diego
Tom Mason
  Supply Sergeant
Cynthia Wood
  Playmate of the Year
Colleen Camp
  Miss May
Linda Carpenter
Aurore Clément
  Roxanne Sarrault
Jack Thibeau
  Soldier in Trench
Glenn Walken
  Lieutenant Carlsen
Damien Leake
  Machine Gunner
Marc Coppola
  AFRS Announcer
Bill Graham
Jerry Ross
  Johnny from Malibu / Mike from San Diego
Charles Robinson
  Soldier with Colby (uncredited)
Nick Nicholson
  Soldier (uncredited)
Don Gordon Bell
  Soldier (uncredited)
Evan A. Lottman
  Soldier (uncredited)
R. Lee Ermey
  Eagle Thrust Seven Helicopter Pilot (uncredited)
Jim Gaines
  Extra (uncredited)
Vittorio Storaro
  TV Photographer (uncredited)
Francis Ford Coppola
  Director of TV Crew (uncredited)
Henry Strzalkowski
  Bit Part (uncredited)
Herb Rice
Joe Estevez
  Captain Benjamin L. Willard (voice) (uncredited)
Frank Villard
  Gaston de Marais (Long Version)


Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola
Carmine Coppola
  Original Music Composer
Vittorio Storaro
  Director of Photography
Lisa Fruchtman
Gerald B. Greenberg
Walter Murch
Terry Liebling
Vic Ramos
Dean Tavoularis
  Production Design
Angelo P. Graham
  Art Direction
George R. Nelson
  Set Decoration
Fred C. Blau Jr.
  Makeup Artist
Jack H. Young
  Makeup Artist
Leon Chooluck
  Production Manager
Barrie M. Osborne
  Production Manager
Walter Murch
  Sound Designer
Kerry Rossall
Jerry Ross
  Assistant Editor
Michael Herr
  Additional Writing
Jerry Ziesmer
  Assistant Director
Larry J. Franco
  Assistant Director
Terry Leonard
  Stunt Coordinator
Jeff Scheftel
Efren Lapid
  First Assistant Camera
Tony Brandt
  Assistant Director
Joe Lombardi
  Special Effects Coordinator
Maurice Schell
  Sound Editor
Jay Miracle
  Sound Editor
James J. Murakami
  Assistant Art Director
Josh Weiner
  Still Photographer
Piero Servo
  Camera Operator
Zakir Hussain
Michael Herr
Richard Beggs
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Mark Berger
  Sound Re-Recording Mixer
Nathan Boxer
  Sound Recordist
Leslie Hodgson
  Sound Editor
John Milius
Francis Ford Coppola
Fred Roos
Gray Frederickson
Tom Sternberg
Eddie Romero
  Associate Producer
John Ashley
  Associate Producer
Mona Skager
  Associate Producer
Francis Ford Coppola
  Original Music Composer
Jack English
  Location Coordinator
Barry Malkin
  Additional Editor
Melissa Mathison
  Executive Assistant
Larry Holt
Wayne Fitzgerald
  Title Designer


- At 25 minutes into the movie, film director Francis Ford Coppola can be seen acting as a director of war footage.
- Lead actor Martin Sheen had a heart attack during the filming of the movie.


 New Quote

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning.


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 New Review

The horror
By DJ on June 17, 2018

1,000. This is my 1,000th review on I couldn't just post a review of a cartoon episode saying "good" or "bad". I had to come up with something more compelling, if not for the readers, at least for me.
I thought about what I could review and Apocalypse Now immediately came to my mind. That was a fantastic choice. So, here we go, shall we?

Right from the start, the movie is having a kind of religious aspect to it. The religion of cinema being bigger than anything. That's the power of cinema, right in front of you.

The opening lasts for 7 minutes and 40 seconds. And it is brilliant. Usually, grand masterpieces tend to start with an iconic scene, whether it is the story of the man telling the story about his daughter being beaten to Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, or ? (TO INSERT HERE).
I remember discovering the band The Doors when I was a teenager and being obsessed about it. I had all the albums and read tons of books about the band and watched documentaries about them. The music from The Doors was bigger than music itself. And putting the song The End on the insane images of Coppola at the opening of the film, with the forest exploding was a marvellous choice. The editing of the opening scene is truly brilliant.

The story is very simple and very exciting. A military captain (Martin Sheen) is getting a secret mission. He needs to find a kill a senior colonel (Marlon Brando). Very simple and efficient. Not only this, but it is a great way to keep the audience focused and interested during a very long movie.

Soon after, we jump into the war. War is messy and this is exactly what we are getting. There is noise coming from everywhere, helicopters are flying around and we can only be extremely admirative of Francis Ford Coppola for bringing to life such an epic vision. And looking at it in 2018, 39 years later, makes the film even more visually interesting. Because there is not a single shot including CGI, obviously. If there are ten helicopters in the sky, then there were really ten real helicopters. That makes a real difference and exacerbates the power of the images. Because our eyes can see everything, even if we don't realize it sometimes.

And it is not hard to realize as well that we are witnessing a cult film. At 37 minutes into the film, we get to see the cult scene of the Valkyrie. I counted precisely fourteen helicopters in the sky, flying on Ride of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner.
Of course, the character of Robert Duvall is extremely iconic and works perfectly.

While the film is using known songs, it also got an original score, heavily using synthesizer sound. The result is very dark. As soon as we arrive near Cambodia, the music is eery and the atmosphere is much darker, as we slowly approach Colonel Kurtz.

The first time I saw Apocalypse Now in a movie theater was actually the director's cut. Titled Apocalypse Now Redux, the movie is considerably longer than the original cut. One of the most important change is the time spent at the French plantation.
I must say I have mixed feelings about it. While I think it is a marvellous gift to any Apocalypse Now, I still prefer the original cut. The scene at the dinner table is excruciatingly long and not fitting within the film.

So, definitely, the second part does not deliver in the same way the first does. Surely, we get to meet Colonel Kurtz, but there is a sense that there is not a proper conclusion. Also, there is no proper epilogue.

To me, Apocalypse Now is one of the best war movies ever made.

A highly ambitious and cult film. I give it 10 out of 10.

Ian Beale

**Ponderous, meandering epic with a few bright spots.**

This film is about a soldiers quest to find a renegade and insane Colonel (a bald Brando in an extended cameo) who has hidden himself away in the depths of the jungle and is causing all manner of commotion. Quite what it was - I can't remember, but it _was_ important enough to go down stream in search of him.

Sheen's character decides to head down river with his fellow soldiers and seek out the bald lunatic before its too late. Robert Duvall is hilarious as a war immune soldier - especially when a shell explodes near him and he merely gives it a disinterested glance. Amusing!

On the whole, though, this is a ponderous trip - the film seems to meander aimlessly with little to keep this viewer interested.

- Ian Beale

Rocketeer Raccoon

I think a lot of people who think this film is a classic are deranged, the only memorable scene in the film is when they drop exploding napalm and the guy in the hat says "I love the smell of napalm in the morning", the rest of the film is a completely boring bombshell and it's like the film was high on drugs as there's this one part where people are butchering a cow in the most grotesque way possible... poor cow, now I'm offended by this film.

This film is just weird, the characters are not memorable at all not even Marlon Brando's character, the story is non-existent and the ending just sucks. Overall this film is absolutely terrible and I don't care what others think, I did not enjoy this film at all.


***One of the greatest films ever made***

The original "Apocalypse Now" is an awe-inspiring masterpiece and is my all-time favorite film. Memorable scenes abound, starting with the mind-blowing opening with Willard (Martin Sheen) having a mental breakdown in his sweltering Saigon hotel room to the tune of The Doors' "The End."

Speaking of Sheen, people overlook the fact that he expertly carries the film. His haunting commentary is one of the most effective narrations in cinematic history and hooks the viewer into the nightmare-adventure.

I could go on and on about the noteworthy scenes, but I'll resist, except to comment on Col. Kurtz: Was he really insane or actually a bold genius? General Corman informs Willard: "He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still in the field commanding troops." And, yet, Kurtz was accomplishing what the US military couldn't or wouldn't do because of political complications and niceties. I bring this up because, as I've aged, I've come to see that I'M Kurtz in some ways -- operating "out there" beyond the parameters and restrictions typically linked to my work.

The script was written by John Milius with alterations by Coppola as he shot the film whilst the narration was written by Michael Herr. The meaning of the story is obvious: The trip up the river led by Capt. Willard exposes him to two extreme viewpoints of war represented by the two colonels he encounters on his long journey, both of whose names start with 'K,' which is no accident:

Lt. COL. KILGORE (Duvall) is a romantic who embraces war as a lifestyle and even feeds off it, i.e. glorifies it. The fact that he's a romantic can be observed in the air-raid on the village where he literally plays Wagner as a prologue. He feeds off the war to the extent that he "loves the smell of napalm in the morning." War is just another day to him so why not go surfing? Since he lives off of the war there's no way it can kill him or even give him a scratch. Kilgore naturally has the support of the top brass because he's part of the system and plays the game of war.

COL. KURTZ (Brando), by contrast, sees through this hypocrisy. He realizes that being in a state of war is humanity gone mad. It's living horror and therefore must be ended through the quickest means possible at whatever cost. He refuses to play the game of war as he expertly takes out double agents, etc. Of course the brass can't have this so they put out a hit on Kurtz via Willard. The existential Kurtz becomes increasingly disillusioned -- even crazy -- after jumping ship from the system and now has no sanctuary. Death is the only way out. His consolation is that Willard will tell his son the truth.

The "Redux" version was put together by Coppola and released in 2001 with the addition of 49 minutes of material that he originally cut, not to mention placing Clean's surfing scene later in the story.

Coppola made the right decisions with his original 1979 edit of the film (2 hours, 33 minutes) since the extra footage of "Redux" tends to drag the film down with 1 or 2 scenes being dubiously scripted, e.g. the theft of Kilgore's surf board. Not every idea that is birthed during the creative process is worthy of the final product and "Redux" illustrates this. Thus the new footage of "Redux" should've arguably been relegated to the "deleted scenes" section.

That said, I've warmed up to "Redux" and feel it's a worthy version of the film, but only _if_ you've watched the Theatrical Cut and **want more**. "Redux" successfully fleshes out the characters and gives them more dimension, especially Willard and Kurtz. Plus the sequence involving Kurtz reading a couple of TIME magazine articles illustrates beyond any shadow of doubt that he _wasn't_ insane and that the brass simply slandered him as crazy in order to justify the assassination of a decorated American officer.

Coppola's preferred cut of the film is the "Final Cut," released in 2019, which runs a half hour longer than the Theatrical Cut. In other words, it trims the fat off of "Redux." There's also a "First Assembly" version, a bootleg, that runs 4 hours, 49 minutes.

The film was shot in the Philippines.


John Chard

It wasn't just insanity and murder, there was enough of that to go around for everyone.

Apocalypse Now is directed by Francis Ford Coppola who also co-adapts the screenplay with John Milius from Heart of Darkness written by Joseph Conrad. It stars Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Laurence Fishburne, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms and Albert Hall. Cinematography is by Vittorio Storaro and the music is primarily arranged by Carmine Coppola.

The Vietnam War and Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Sheen) is approached by American intelligence to go on a secret assignment: he's to follow the Nung River into the remote Cambodian jungle to find and assassinate Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a member of the US Army Special Forces who has gone insane.

One of the most talked and written about films of all time, Apocalypse Now remains to this day a harrowing and haunting experience to first time viewers. With a production shoot that has in itself become legendary, Coppola's flawed masterpiece has been dissected and argued over to within an inch of its magnificent life. People will continue to write about it for ever more it seems, perhaps there might even be the odd new confrontational spin on what resides within? But ultimately it's what the individual takes away from the film that matters, our own interpretations key to the enjoyment of such a disturbing vision of war and violence.

Many of the set-pieces, dialogue and characters have long since passed into folklore, and rightly so. The Ride of the Valkyries helicopter assault, Kurtz's surreal death camp, the boat people massacre, purple haze, the playmates, Kilgore, and of course the horror, the horror..indeed. The performances match the quality of Storaro's sumptuous Philippines photography, Sheen is fiercely committed and Duvall and Hopper in turn are powerhouse and edgy. While Brando, doing his own bizzaro thing in the last third, brings a little chaos unintentionally in keeping with the madness at the heart of this particular darkness.

Personally that last draggy third does stop it from being a complete genius type whole, but everything up to it is so damn good it's arguably churlish to expect perfection? But as near perfection movies go, Apocalypse Now proudly sits with the best of them, sitting there with a harrowed look upon its face. 9/10


This is, I think, the definitive Vietnam war movie. Martin Sheen is "Capt. Willard", a war weary veteran who is sent on a top secret mission to track down and stop the rogue Colonel 'Kurtz" (Marlon Brando) who is operating independently from Cambodia. With only a small crew of rookie squaddies, he sets off along the treacherous Nung River where, along the way, they alight on "Kilgore" (Robert Duvall) and face all sorts of dangers against both man and nature as they seek their quarry. The sheer intensity of the journey, and of the challenges it throws up cause "Willard" to re-evaluate his whole perspective, and not just on the war, as the horrors of this conflict manifest before him. It's a stunningly strong depiction of war; the humanity and vulnerability of the characters - even those who are outwardly strong - and the casting is inspired. It's bloody and gory at times, but never gratuitously and the closely shorn Brando is in a class of his own as the megalomaniac "Kurtz". Though fictional in fact, it doesn't pull it's punches and leaves us all with a bitter taste in our mouth and some seriously thought-provoking questions.


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 New Topic

By DJ on 2018-06-17 10:34:05 ET
Last post by DJ
2137 days ago


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