During World War II, 12-year old Ivan works as a spy on the eastern front. The small Ivan can cross the German lines unnoticed to collect information. Three Soviet officers try to take care... See full summary »
The location: Nazi occupied Rome. As Rome is classified an open city, most Romans can wander the streets without fear of the city being bombed or them being killed in the process. But life ... See full summary »
Joe, a young American soldier, is hit by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. He lies in a hospital bed in a fate worse than death --- a quadruple amputee who has lost his arms, ... See full summary »
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
Francis Ford Coppola invested several million dollars of his own money in the film after it went severely over budget. He eventually had to mortgage his home and winery in Napa Valley in order to finish the film. In fact, throughout the 1980s he had to work as a "hired gun" for other producers (instead of his own projects) to pay off the enormous debts he had incurred. See more »
When attacking the village, the helicopters alternate from flying at high altitude to sea level several times. See more »
Saigon... shit; I'm still only in Saigon... Every time I think I'm gonna wake up back in the jungle.
When I was home after my first tour, it was worse.
[grabs at flying insect]
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 ...
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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 »
Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" is not a Vietnam War film. Do not confuse it with one. It is set to the back drop of the war, but it is a metaphorical exposition on the deteriorating effects that war has on the human psyche. It is also one of the most audacious films ever made, produced, or even conceived (second to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. To call it a masterpiece would be an understatement of proportions as ambitious as the film's production levels.
Opening with no credits and following a memorable first scene playing to the tune of the Doors "The End" as Martin Sheen's Captain Benjamin L. Willard hallucinates to images of helicopters and napalm, the plot is essentially laid out in the first 15 minutes. Willard's mission is to "terminate... with extreme prejudice" Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who has invariably gone AWOL in the far reaches of the Cambodian jungle and, as told by his general, is "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." Kurtz is a delusional Colonel now being worshipped by a large group of followers who have dubbed him a god. For Willard, this covert operation seems somewhat more manageable than actual combat, yet, the journey he is about to take will be a personal quest that will challenge the limits of his human behavior.
Teaming up with a small crew, they embark down the vast reaches of the river in a rickety boat. Along the way, Willard educates himself on all things Kurtz. During Sheen's raspy voice over, he details his thoughts on the abundance of material he reads. Kurtz was a highly decorated and respected Green Beret. He was a normal man with a family, until a part of him succumbed to the horrors of human brutality and he led himself down the path that Willard is being led. The descent into the jungle is marked by a mesmerizing aura that echoes the battles being fought not to far away. Eventually the power of the experience weights on the group as drugs and a sort of solitary confinement attacks their senses. But Willard seems unfazed and desensitized in his quest to find Kurtz. As he reads about this mythic figure, he is drawn to the man's power and why he has become what he has become. We know that Willard's slow decay will parallel that of Kurtz's.
Marlon Brando has been revered for decades. His presence: unmatchable. His genius: undeniable. But for those unacquainted with his acting prowess and unaccustomed to his physical nuance, Brando can be perceived, in the eyes of an uncompromising film-goer, as a hack. He is most certainly not. Brando was difficult to work with, hard to interpret and impossible to understand, but his talent for unintelligible rants and unparalleled monologues is irrefutable. The man obviously knew what he was doing even if we didn't. His Colonel Kurtz is a being of limitless delusions and continual profundity.
If the film is any indication of the journeys into hell than Francis Ford Coppola's actual experience with making this masterpiece is a true life account of one man's fanatical struggle to produce a movie. It is reported that during the film's 200 plus day principle photography schedule, Coppola contemplated suicide. The film was not only an undeniable struggle to make; it is a grueling film to watch. Coppola's sweat and blood seep through the pores of the steamy locals and his dedication filters through the orifices of Martin Sheen's haunted soldier Willard.
I can not help but feel a warm sense of nostalgia for this type of film. At the dawn of all that was original and unprecedented, films that challenged as well as stimulated were commonplace. Audacity aside, Apocalypse Now is pure film-making. My respect and admiration for Mr. Coppola is of the highest order. But I shudder at the return to what has become the norm for today's standards for film: a lack of innovation. It is not simply the unoriginality of the world of cinema today; it is the fact that nobody seems to care to tell a story anymore or to tell one with heart. But we still have the great ones like Coppola's masterpiece, a film which bathed in its ability to give us something deeper than that which we could comprehend.
That depth in Apocalypse Now is the step into madness. The killing can disturb. The loss of innocence can unhinge. But it is the damage from within; the countless barrages of images that distress, unnerve and detach us from our everyday world and the memories that plague our deepest thoughts that eventually segregates us from humanity and propels us into the realm of the instinctual, the savage and the animalistic. If the thought of killing does not provide sustenance, the act of killing provides man with its fundamental catharsis.
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