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Apocalypse Now (1979)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  15 August 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 412,861 users   Metascore: 90/100
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During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.


(as Francis Coppola)


, (as Francis Coppola) , 2 more credits »
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Top 250 Movies #48 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone 'Clean' Miller (as Larry Fishburne)
Jerry Ziesmer ...
Bo Byers ...


It is the height of the war in Vietnam, and U.S. Army Captain Willard is sent by Colonel Lucas and a General to carry out a mission that, officially, 'does not exist - nor will it ever exist'. The mission: To seek out a mysterious Green Beret Colonel, Walter Kurtz, whose army has crossed the border into Cambodia and is conducting hit-and-run missions against the Viet Cong and NVA. The army believes Kurtz has gone completely insane and Willard's job is to eliminate him! Willard, sent up the Nung River on a U.S. Navy patrol boat, discovers that his target is one of the most decorated officers in the U.S. Army. His crew meets up with surfer-type Lt-Colonel Kilgore, head of a U.S Army helicopter cavalry group which eliminates a Viet Cong outpost to provide an entry point into the Nung River. After some hair-raising encounters, in which some of his crew are killed, Willard, Lance and Chef reach Colonel Kurtz's outpost, beyond the Do Lung Bridge. Now, after becoming prisoners of Kurtz, will... Written by Derek O'Cain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Horror. . . The Horror. . .


Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent images, language, sexual content and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |

Release Date:

15 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apocalypse Now: The Complete Dossier  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$31,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$96,992 (USA) (3 August 2001)


£338,493 (UK) (21 December 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Redux) | (workprint)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (Redux version)| (35 mm prints)| (Redux version)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Francis Ford Coppola wanted the film to be a special event by having it play in ONE theater somewhere in Kansas in the geographical center of the country built especially for the film with a specially made sound system where the film would run continuously for ten years and then hopefully anybody who wanted to show the film in their theaters would have to approach Coppola and exhibit it on his terms. See more »


While reading info about Kurtz, Willard eats a Hershey bar that clearly has UPC bar code on the wrapper. These were not included on Hershey bar packaging until 1976. See more »


[first lines]
Willard: [voiceover] Saigon... shit; I'm still only in Saigon... Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle.
Willard: When I was home after my first tour, it was worse.
[grabs at flying insect]
Willard: I'd wake up and there'd be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said "yes" to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I'm here a week now... waiting for a mission... getting softer. Every minute I stay ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits in the film. The title can be seen as graffiti in the Kurtz compound late in the film. See more »


Referenced in Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie (2005) See more »


(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by The Rolling Stones
Courtesy of ABKCO Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Truly a Masterpiece
4 July 2004 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Somewhere on IMDb there is a discussion about the greatest director of all times (Spielberg, Copolla and others are named there). The greatest argument was around Spielberg and whether he is or isn't a great director. The problem with Spielberg is that while he is a master technician, most of his films lack depth.Saving Ryan is really outstanding from a technical point of view, but its message is dull and while its very entertaining, it doesn't make you think about anything. AN is the best movie I ever saw because it combines great shooting with a deep philosophical perspective on so many things, starting from war in general, the clash of civilizations, the condition of soldier in wartimes (is a soldier a hero or an assassin? Brando says he is neither, the french lady says he is both ...) and many others. The problem with some people is that they try to argue about whether these points are true or false. But a great movie, and a great piece of art in general is supposed to spark arguments, not to solve them ... Maybe Coppola is right, or maybe he isn't, nobody holds the truth anyway. You can watch this movie for its outer beauty, amazing scenes, great acting and memorable quotes and you will be entirely satisfied. But what really make this movie a masterpiece is its inner quality. You can't help but make a comparison with the recent Fahrenheit documentary.Both Copolla and Moore tackle similar issues, but while Copolla presents matters from an outside , objective point of view, Moore takes a very partisan position that really compromises the whole point of a documentary ... It is really a shame that a film like Fahrenheit 9/11 won a prestigious award like Cannes. But anyway, if you want to start to understand a little of the Vietnam war, the Iraq war, the second World War and any war in general, you should definitely see this movie, and not the other one ...

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