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Apocalypse Now (1979)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  15 August 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 419,234 users   Metascore: 90/100
Reviews: 957 user | 254 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

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 Rated 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?


James Caan was the director's first choice to play Col. Lucas. Caan, however, wanted too much money for what was considered a minor part in the movie. Harrison Ford was eventually cast in the role. See more »


When the PBR leaves the Do Lung bridge, it has a radar dome. When they cut to the next river day scene, it doesn't. then, when chef hands out the mail, it does. For the rest of the trip, it's not there. Captain Willard even sits on where it should be when they reach Kurtz's lair. 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 »


(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

derserving of it's status as one of the all time greatest films
12 January 2000 | by (roanoke, va) – See all my reviews

i have lost count as to how many times i have watched this movie. i've never grown tired of it since this is a movie that can be enjoyed and interpreted on so many levels. they just don't make movies like this anymore.

after recently finally watching the riveting documentary on the making of this film (Hearts of Darkness:a filmmakers journey into madness), i'm even more amazed that this film even got finished, yet alone turn out so great.

the fact that they actually filmed this movie in the jungles of the Phillipines is the film's greatest asset. you actually FEEL like your in Vietnam.

all of the actors are fantastic with my favorites still being Robert Duvall ("I love the smell of napalm in the morning!!") martin sheen, and the great Marlon Brando.

a lot of people complain that the film gets too murky, weird and cerebral near the end. well, remeber what Coppolla said about this movie, "This film is not about vietnam, it IS vietnam!" what he means is that this film is about MADNESS and not the war.

this movie is based on the short story "Heart of darkness" by Joseph Conrad and is set against the vietnam war instead of the civil war as in the book. i think that was a brilliant combination in my opinion.

this is perfect, challenging film that is dark, violent, humorous at times and well done in every single possible way.

a true classic


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